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Swiss Federal Council: Existing Financial Law Should Be Adjusted to Blockchain Industry

The Swiss Bundesrat has called for specific adjustments of existing financial laws in relation to the blockchain industry.

The Swiss Federal Council (Bundesrat) has said that existing financial law in the country suits the blockchain industry, but needs specific adjustments. The government suggested several amendments in an official statement by the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) published on Friday, Dec. 14.

In a meeting on Dec. 7, the Bundesrat adopted a report on the legal framework for blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the financial sector. The report analyzes relevant framework provisions, outlines the need for measures and proposes concrete steps for developing the necessary legal conditions in the blockchain sphere.

Specifically, the report recommend the development of a new and flexible authorization category for blockchain-based financial market infrastructures. It also advocates for better legal clarity for rights holders of digital registers, and ensuring that decentralized trading platforms are subject to the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act.

The Federal Council also mentioned the results of a cross-departmental working group on the money laundering and terrorist financing risks of cryptocurrencies. The recent report is based on the work of the blockchain/initial coin offering (ICO) working group by the Federal Department of Finance that was reportedly set up in January 2018.

Following the report adoption, the Bundesrat has instructed the FDF and the Federal Department of Justice and Police to prepare an adjustment plan for the first quarter of 2019. The Bundesrat has also commissioned the FTF to research whether money laundering law should be reconsidered in accordance with certain types of crowdfunding.

Earlier this year, the Federal Council requested a report on the risks and benefits of launching its own government-backed digital cryptocurrency called the e-franc.

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Number of Crypto Users Nearly Doubled in 2018, Study Says

The number of crypto users has nearly doubled in the first three quarters of this year, according to a recently published study.

Cryptocurrency gained 17 million “verified users” this year, according to a study published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance Dec. 12.

According to the study, data show that in the first three quarters of 2018 the number of ID-verified cryptocurrency users nearly doubled, climbing from 18 million to 35 million.

Total crypto users, number of account and verified individuals

Total crypto users, number of account and verified individuals. Source: Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

According to a Bloomberg analysis of the study, the growth of the user base this year while crypto markets decline “could signal that an eventual recovery could be coming.” The analysis further notes that “most users are likely still speculators and long-term investors.”

In terms of breaking down who is investing in crypto, the Cambridge research team also claims that the data “indicates that the majority of users — both established as well as new entrants — are individuals and not business clients.” Those individuals, the document explains, could be “hobbyist retail investors, consumers, or users seeking a better investment or payment alternative.”

As Cointelegraph reported last week, despite dismal market conditions bringing down the dollar-value of its assets under management, Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust has seen a record number of Bitcoin (BTC) deposits this year, bringing its BTC holdings to over 1 percent of the coin’s entire circulating supply.

A November analysis of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) market in Q3 of this year has defined the funding method’s performance an “overall disappointment.”

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Crypto Project Says It Can Reverse Transactions and Recover Accounts Without Private Keys

A new financial blockchain network is offering low-cost, high-speed transactions — and gives users the ability to recover accounts and have these accounts insured.

A startup which bills itself as “blockchain’s financial district” has launched its network — and says its debut heralds “the beginning of true financial freedom.”

WORBLI enables businesses and individuals to enjoy “seamless access to financial services,” and paves the way for developers to build their own applications on its network. Its ecosystem uses EOSIO software, with the startup’s team saying this unlocks a series of benefits. Firstly, users benefit from fast and feeless transactions, allowing applications on the network to operate without bottlenecks and delays — and they also have the ability to amend nefarious transactions and recover accounts, should they need to.

The company ardently believes that blockchain is the future, and will transform the financial services industry beyond all recognition. It says cloud computing, storage, security, inequality of incomes, financial inclusion, accounting, contracts, supply chain logistics, voting and social networks all stand to be revolutionized. Its founders strike an upbeat tone by saying that WORBLI will be at “the forefront of product innovation” in these sectors and more.

Overall, its network is designed to reduce the amount of friction that cryptocurrency users and blockchain developers experience, dramatically increase the scale and reach of this technology, and develop exciting products “only possible as a result of blockchain.”

Eliminating barriers to entry

The company is seeding and launching a fiat and digital currency bank known as Gamma that will provide traditional banking products for crypto customers and everyday users. WORBLI says this platform is “designed to eliminate the barriers of entry into the digital currency and technology market for the average user.”

Through WORBLI, users are only going to need a single account when they are storing, buying and trading blockchain assets. Security is also a priority — with the company vowing that their individual accounts and wallets will be insured against losses due to hacking.

It is also hoped that stringent Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) checks when a WORBLI network user account is created will reduce the burden on companies who are trying to stay compliant.

WORBLI is the first sister chain of EOS which is going to deliver a full suite of financial services and decentralized applications (DApps) to the crypto world. Describing the startup’s mainnet, Domenic Thomas, the company’s CEO, told Cointelegraph, “We have been in continuous communication with the EOS community, making strategic partnerships all over the world, and it’s clear that a solution like WORBLI is a much [welcomed] and essential addition as a sister chain to EOS.”

Apps prepare to launch

Several inaugural DApps are already in the pipeline at WORBLI, and these are expected to launch shortly after the network has gone live — including a charity payments application, insurance and risk transfer products, innovative exchanges, remittance, payroll services and custodian wallets.

Over time, WORBLI plans to integrate with an array of crypto wallets as well as a number of payment gateways, enabling customers to buy WBI tokens in a broader range of currencies. The company is not expecting to trade on exchanges until later in 2018. Work is under way to establish relationships with United States governance bodies — including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Federal Reserve, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

A minimum viable product for Gamma is also being produced this year, paving the way for it to undergo development and rigorous testing from 2019 onward. With global marketing set to have a significant emphasis for the business’s activities next year, it is hoped that Gamma will subsequently be in a strong position for launching in the global markets — including Africa, Latin America, Australia and Europe.

Next year, the emphasis is going to remain on recruiting and retaining top talent to help drive WORBLI forward, including a “world-class executive team” to develop Gamma and its other applications further.

 

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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South Korea’s Finance Ministry Considers Taxing Crypto and ICOs, New Minister Reveals

South Korea’s Finance Ministry is considering crypto and ICO taxation in accordance with global trends.

South Korea‘s Finance Ministry is considering taxation on cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), daily English-language newspaper The Korea Times reports Monday, Dec. 3.

Hong Nam-ki, South Korea’s new Minister of Economy and Finance as well as new Deputy Prime Minister, revealed that а crypto taxation plan will be finalized according to global taxation trends in the industry.

Pointing to the current ICO ban in South Korea, the deputy prime minister stated that the authorities will also form a new stance to the industry crypto industry, based on careful consideration of “market conditions, international trends and investor protection issues.” In his written answer submitted to the National Assembly for his confirmation hearing planned for Tuesday, Dec. 4, Hong continued:

“We will determine our policy orientations on ICOs with relevant agencies after reviewing the results of the financial regulator’s market survey and getting feedback from experts.”

The minister revealed that South Korea’s government is planning to set up a task force formed from relevant state agencies, such as the National Tax Service, in order to examine foreign cases of taxing crypto as well as the ICO industry.

In the statement, Hong wrote that cryptocurrencies are “electronics signs of values issued privately,” as compared to assets issued by central banks or other financial institutions.

The minister has urged for crypto regulation that would be developed and agreed upon internationally, noting that there are around 2,000 cryptocurrencies traded worldwide, with 160 of coins operating in the domestic market. At the same time, Hong stressed that the authorities “need to be careful” in setting up a due regulatory framework.

As well, the deputy minister claimed that authorities “will do [their] utmost to nurture” blockchain technology, stressing that 90 percent of blockchain-related businesses, except crypto exchanges, can be considered as venture companies, citing Statistics Korea.

In October, Cointelegraph reported on South Korea’s government allegedly planning to announce its official stance towards ICOs in November, as revealed by South Korea’s then-“top official,” Hong Nam-ki.

After banning ICO sales back in September 2017, South Korea’s government began to consider legalizing the sphere in August 2018, which went in line with the country’s plans to build its own “blockchain island” in the Jeju Island Resort. In October, a member of South Korea’s National Assembly Min Byung-doo called on the state to “open up the road” to ICOs, urging that “prohibition is not the only way.”

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Hodler’s Digest, August 26–September 2: Both Eminem and Yahoo Finance Embrace Bitcoin in Wins for Crypto Adoption

Top Stories This Week

Top Stories This Week

Yahoo Finance Integrates Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin on iOS App

Yahoo Finance has integrated BTC, ETH, and LTC on its iOS app this week, with a version briefly appearing and disappearing on its desktop version despite Yahoo noting that the desktop, mobile web, and Android version won’t be available for several weeks. A Yahoo Finance press release notes that users that wish to trade crypto on Yahoo Finance will have to link a broker account via integrated third party service TradeIt.

“Operation Cryptosweep” Produces More Than 200 Crypto-Related Investigations

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) announced this week that their “Operation Cryptosweep,” which is a probe into potentially fraudulent crypto investment programs that was introduced in may, has resulted in over 200 investigations of ICOs and crypto-related investment products. The NASAA noted that investors should perform their own due diligence before investing in crypto-related projects, and stated that any project qualified as a security should be registered with the appropriate regulatory agencies or apply for an exemption from registration.

Report: North Korea Attempted to Mine BTC, While Local Firm Develops BTC Exchange

According to a report from South Korea’s state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB), North Korea (DPRK) has attempted to mine Bitcoin (BTC). According to a local news outlet, the mining attempt – which was reportedly conducted on a “on a small scale” between May and July 2017 – seems to have been unsuccessful. KDB’s research team also reported that North Korean tech firm Chosun Expo is allegedly now in the process of developing a BTC crypto exchange, without any further details provided.

JPMorgan CIO Thinks Blockchain Will “Replace Existing Technology” in Short Time

Lori Beer, the chief information officer at JPMorgan, believes that blockchain tech will eventually replace the current technology in the span of a few years. According to an Argentinian media source, Beer noted that JPMorgan uses blockchain technology to “simplify the payment process and to store customers’ information related to KYC (Know Your Customer) policy.” Beer also added that the bank currently only supports what is regulated in terms of cryptocurrencies, and has specialists who are “evaluating what is happening.”

Bitcoin Mentioned on Eminem’s New Album “Kamikaze”

U.S. rapper Ryan Daniel Montgomery, better known as Royce Da 5’9’, mentioned major cryptocurrency Bitcoin on rapper Eminem’s new album, “Kamikaze.” In “Not Alike,” the ninth track on the new album, co-star Royce Da 5’9” sings:

“Remember everybody used to bite Nickel, now everybody doing Bitcoin.” Forbes describes the line as an important sign of Bitcoin’s presence in mass culture and the realization that the cryptocurrency has a range of use cases beyond criminal.

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Most Memorable Quotations

Most Memorable Quotations

Joseph Lubin

“I’m not sure that market manipulations are related to Tether directly, if they do exist. It has been an unregulated market set of exchanges that enable big players to do what they want to do […] Ideally we’ll get a little better regulation of those centralized exchanges at least,” — Joseph Lubin, founder of Ethereum

Charlie Lee

“I’d like to see more [talk around] Lightning Network and sidechains, ways of helping Bitcoin and Litecoin to scale. I think with the price depressed, it’s actually a good time for people to […] get stuff done. That’s what I’ve seen in the past few bear markets actually,” — Charlie Lee, founder of Litecoin

Lori Beer

“We will see a greater and wider use of blockchain […] In a few years blockchain will replace the existing technology, today it only coexists with the current one,” — Lori Beer, chief information officer at JPMorgan

Ryan Daniel Montgomery

“Remember everybody used to bite Nickel, now everybody doing Bitcoin,” — U.S. rapper Ryan Daniel Montgomery, widely known as Royce Da 5’9”

Laws and Taxes

Laws and Taxes

Poland Introduces New Crypto Legislation for Consideration

Polish legislators have introduced a long-awaited new bill to clarify the current crypto taxation policy, which the local crypto community had resisted earlier this year. The bill, which defines cryptocurrencies in terms of the Act on Counteracting Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing as a “digital representation of money,” notes that crypto-to-crypto transactions performed on the stock exchange or individually will be tax free, while income from selling services, property, and goods will be treated like revenue for taxation purposes.

California Passes Bill to Create Blockchain Tech Working Group

California’s AB 2658, a bill that calls for the establishment of a working group on blockchain technology, has passed in both houses of the state legislature and will now head to the governor for approval. The bill requires the Secretary of the Government Operations Agency to form a blockchain working group on or before July 1, 2019 that should consist of participants from both technology and non-technology industries, as well as appointees with a background in law, and representatives of privacy and consumer organizations.

Adoption

Adoption

OpenFinance Launches Regulated Alternative Trading System For Security Tokens

OpenFinance, a security token trading platform, has launched a regulated alternative trading system (ATS) for security tokens, according to information shared with Cointelegraph this week. An ATS, defined in the U.S. and Canada, is a non-exchange trading venue that matches buyers and sellers to find counterparties for transactions.

Report: CBOE Considers Launching Ethereum Futures

According to a report by Business Insider, CBOE Global Markets, the owner of the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and one of the world’s largest exchange holding companies, is looking to launch futures for Ethereum (ETH) by the end of 2018. According to sources, CBOE will reportedly base its ETH futures on Gemini’s underlying market. Business Insider wrote that the exchange is waiting on approval from the CFTC before officially launching.

Lloyd’s of London to Insure Cryptocurrency Custody Firm

Lloyd’s of London, a U.K. insurance market leader founded in 1686, announced this week that it will insure a crypto custody platform by U.S.-based custodial firm Kingdom Trust. Kingdom Trust, which serves over 100,000 customers and has $12 billion in assets under custody, is the reportedly the “first” regulated financial institution to offer qualified custody for digital asset investments. The company is now launching insurance coverage for digital currency to protect investors against theft and destruction of assets.

Japan’s LINE Messaging App Launches a Cryptocurrency, In-House Blockchain

Japanese social media giant LINE reported this week on the launch of its own cryptocurrency and in-house blockchain. The mainnet, LINK chain, is a “service-oriented” blockchain network that will allow dApps to be directly applied to LINE’s messaging platform. According to LINE, a total of 1 billion LINK tokens will be issued to users of its platform, with 20 percent kept as a company reserve.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Alipay, Ant Financial Partner With Chinese Authorities for Blockchain Use

Alipay and its parent company Ant Financial have partnered with local Chinese authorities to use blockchain for confirming the authenticity of rice from the Wuchang region. According to local media, the deal with the municipal government in Wuchang in Heilongjiang Province aims to stop counterfeit versions of the well-known Wuchang rice making it into the market. Local media also noted that warehousing, delivery, and distribution links will be available to customers in real time, and delivery time will be brought down from three to seven days to less than two days.

Associated Press Partners With Blockchain-Based Journalism Startup Civil

The Associated Press (AP) news agency has signed a content licensing partnership with blockchain-based startup Civil, which develops technology to track ownership rights and content usage in the journalism industry. As part of the project, the AP will deliver its content, including national and international news to Civil, so that news agencies can access it on the platform. The AP notes that they are interested in exploring ways to secure intellectual property rights, support ethical journalism, and track content usage with blockchain technology.

IBM Partners With Australian Consortium to Build Blockchain Platform

IBM, CSIRO’s Data61, and law firm Herbert Smith Freehills have partnered for a new Australian consortium to build a cross-industry blockchain-based smart contracts platform for enterprises. Data61, a digital innovation center that forms part of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), will collaborate with the other entities to create the Australian National Blockchain (ANB). The ANB aims to pool the tech, scientific and legal expertise of the three partners to create a nationwide, legally-compliant blockchain infrastructure for the digital economy.

Funding Rounds

Funding Rounds

Stablecoin Terra Closes $32 Million Funding Round With Binance Labs, Huobi Capital

South Korean e-commerce marketplace Ticket Monster announced this week it had closed a $32 million funding round for its stablecoin Terra, with the aim to create an in-house cryptocurrency to complement its existing token, Luna. Binance Labs, OKEx and Huobi Capital, as well as funds including Polychain Capital, contributed to the funding round.

Blockchain Cloud Startup DFINITY Closes More Than $100 Million Funding Round

Swiss and US-based blockchain cloud computing startup DFINITY has closed a new funding round worth around $105 million. Both Polychain Capital and Andreessen Horowitz via its investment fund a16z participated in DFINITY’s funding round, having also contributed to a $61 million round in February. The startup, which aims to build what it describes as an “Internet Computer,” ultimately wants to create a platform which will “host the world’s next generation of software and services on a public network.”

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets are seeing some returns this week, with Bitcoin trading for around $7,245 and Ethereum at around $292. Total market cap is now around $235 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are IGToken, ZoZoCoin, and Rublix. The top three altcoin losers of the week are PlexCoin, Bastonet, ZenGold.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD of the Week

FUD of the Week

Baidu Imposes New Anti-Crypto Measures Following Tencent and Alibaba

Chinese tech giant Baidu has joined Tencent and Alibaba in carrying out anti-crypto measures in line with Beijing’s toughened stance. China’s version of Google has reportedly closed at least two popular crypto-related chat forums, informing users that the move comes “in accordance with relevant laws, regulations and policies.” Earlier, WeChat-operator Tencent also released its own statement about its ban on crypto trading, and Alibaba also announced it will restrict or permanently ban any accounts it finds to be engaged in crypto trading.

Brazilian Crypto Platforms Suffers Data Breach Affecting 260,000 Customers

Atlas Quantum, a Brazilian crypto trading platform, revealed a data breach this week that led to the exposure of its 260,000 clients’ data, but did not affect their funds. According to the company, measures were enacted following the leak to prevent further attacks. Some of the platform’s functions were temporarily paused after the incident, but the company assured users that passwords and encryption keys remained safe.

Colorado Orders Three Crypto Firms Promoting ICOs to Show Cause

Gerald Rome, the Colorado Securities Commissioner, has ordered three crypto firms alleged of promoting unregistered ICOs, meaning that a party or individual in a case must justify, prove, or explain something in court. Bionic Coin, Sybrelabs Ltd., and Global Pay Net (also known as GLPN Coin and GPN Token) received orders this week, after the firms reportedly made hyperbolic and misleading statements to investors regarding their products.

China’s Crypto Ban Expanded to Guangzhou Development District

The Guangzhou Development District, a special economic zone in southern China close to Hong Kong, is now prevented from allowing commercial venues to host crypto-related events. The ban comes after an almost identical ban first imposed upon venues in Beijing’s Chaoyang district in mid-August. According to this new order, Guangzhou’s Financial Development Bureau reportedly issued a notice warning of the need to “maintain the security and stability of the financial system.”

Prediction of the Week

Prediction of the Week

Study: Bitcoin Could Hit $98,000 in the Next Five Years

A new study by ICO advisory firm Satis Group has found that Bitcoin could potentially reach $98,000 in the next five years. According to the report, the overall value of cryptoassets needed to support the economy will grow to $3.6 trillion by 2028, while 90 percent of cryptoasset value will be extracted from penetration of offshore deposits in the next ten years.

Best Features

Best Features

Could Tesla Tokenize?

Fortune’s The Ledger explains how tokenizing could help Elon Musk achieve his stated, and then retracted, idea of taking Tesla private. According to Musk’s statement, he decided to leave the company public after all because “there is also no proven path for most retail investors to own shares if we were private.” However, Fortune suggests a hypothetical “Tesla Coin” that could allow Musk to have his cake and eat it too by allowing more than just accredited investors to own shares in a private company.

Why You Need a Physical Vault to Secure A Virtual Currency

Wired dives into the behind-the-scenes specifics of how Coinbase generates encryption keys for its custody clients (a tent, a Faraday cage that blocks electromagnetic radiation, three laptops, a coin toss, and a printer). Although this process may seem complicated and almost archaic (the idea of storing virtual money on paper in a bank vault could be considered a step backwards technologically), after all, the author references, horses and carts were more efficient than cars when the tech was still new.

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World Bank's Blockchain Bond Experiment Raises $81 Million

The World Bank has published more details about its blockchain-based bond to be settled next week, including sharing the investors in the process.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, Australia’s Commonwealth Bank (CommBank) intends to settle the bond, dubbed bond-i (for blockchain operated new debt instrument), on Tuesday, marking the first time the World Bank settles a blockchain bond. While the bank originally reported it would settle $100 million AUD ($73 million U.S.), it reported Friday that it had raised as much as $110 million AUD (roughly $81 million U.S.).

The bond’s investors include CommBank, QBE Insurance, First State Super, NSW Treasury Corporation, SAFA, the Treasury Corporation of Victoria and Northern Trust, according to a release.

CommBank is using a private ethereum blockchain for bond-i, a bank press release said earlier this month. Microsoft has reviewed the platform’s architecture and security.

World Bank treasurer Arunma Oteh said in a statement on Friday that the organization welcomes “the huge interest that this transaction has generated from various stakeholders.”

She added:

“I am delighted that this pioneer bond transaction using the distributed ledger technology, bond-i, was extremely well received by investors. We are particularly impressed with the breath of interest from official institutions, fund managers, government institutions, and banks. We were no doubt successful in moving from concept to reality because these high-quality investors understood the value of leveraging technology for innovation in capital markets.”

The organization will continue to look into how capital markets can become more secure, she said.

Coupons on the bond can be paid on February and August 28 in 2019 and 2020, the release noted. It offers a 2.2 percent return over two years, with a 2.251 percent semi-annual re-offer yield.

World Bank HQ image via Andriy Blokhin / 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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The World Bank Is About to Settle a Blockchain Bond Worth $73 Million

The World Bank is expected to settle its first blockchain-based bond worth $73 million this month.

Australia’s Commonwealth Bank (CommBank), which was selected as the sole arranger of the issuance by the World Bank early in August, said the bond is to be transacted on Aug. 28, as reported by Reuters on Thursday.

Engineered to bring a 2.2 percent return, the two-year bond – dubbed “Bondi” – is the first exploration by the World Bank into using blockchain as the supporting technology for automating the issuance process among multiple parties.

As CoinDesk has reported, the platform to be used for the issuance was developed by CommBank’s in-house blockchain lab and will use a distributed network to hopefully improve efficiency for bond transactions between sellers, buyers and banks.

CommBank further claimed in today’s report that the issuance will be the world’s first to use blockchain to raise money from public investors, in contrast to similar ongoing projects that are tested in private markets.

The deal will be made as part of the $50–$60 billion in bond sales every year issued by the World Bank in a bid to combat poverty and improve sustainability for worldwide markets.

World Bank Group image via Victorgrigas/Wikipedia

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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Blockchain Firm to Raise $24 Billion for Electric Bus Upgrades in China

Blockchain and AI technology company Seven Stars Cloud Group has scored a $24 billion deal to help finance large-scale electric bus upgrades for China’s biggest full-service operator.

According to a press release published Monday, under an exclusive contract made with the National Transportation Capacity Co Ltd (NTS), Seven Stars Cloud will issue fixed income lease financing-based products through its regulatory complaint blockchain ecosystem, including one campaign based in China and the other open to the global markets.

More specifically, through the China-based and international funding campaigns, Seven Stars Cloud – a public company traded on Nasdaq – plans to raise estimated $8.75 billion and $15 billion over the three-year time period, respectively. While, for the China-based financing, SSC will focus on the sale of fixed income products, for the international markets, SSC will provide both fixed income and asset digitization products.

NTS is China’s largest full-service operator for electric buses, according to the release. It also offers sales, lease financing, a charging station network, and real-time data services.

Bruno Wu, chairman and CEO of SSC, said that such a large-scaled and asset-backed contract is “groundbreaking” for blockchain-backed fintech companies around the globe.

He added:

“It will serve as a window to the world on how asset value and liquidity can be unlocked by traditional industries as we take fixed income products into the digital era.”

The partnership comes amid China’s plan to replace all buses with electric buses by 2021. The market size for the replacements and upgrades to achieve fully-electric bus operations in China is estimated in the announcement at about $145 billion.

Electric bus, Shanghai, 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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BitBay Partners With German Firm to Enable Equity Token Trading with Fiat Currencies

Cryptocurrency exchange BitBay has partnered with a Berlin-based blockchain-powered equity fundraising platform Neufund, according to an August 2 press release. The partnership will reportedly enable investors to buy and sell equity tokens with fiat currencies.

According to the press release, Neufund is aiming to become the first end-to-end primary issuance platform for security tokens, specializing in equity tokens. The company backs up its objective with a study conducted by Toronto-based firm Polymath, which says that by 2020 the security token market will hit a value of $10 trillion. Neufund believes that tokenized securities will provide necessary liquidity to traditional investment assets, including equity instruments.

The partnership with BitBay follows Neufund’s recent collaboration with the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance and the Malta Stock Exchange. Additionally, seven companies from five countries will conduct Equity Token Offerings (ETOs) through Neufund.

As per the statement, BitBay will be the first Neufund partner that allows companies to liquidate their equity tokens against fiat currency as the crypto exchange’s trading pairs include the euro, the U.S. dollar, and the Polish zloty.

ETOs are purported to be a new kind of fundraising, which enables any company, whether it is blockchain-based or not, to issue tokens on a blockchain in a public or private placement. Neufund claims that ETOs incorporate advantages of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and a venture capital fund.

In May, BitBay was forced to move its operations from Poland to crypto friendly Malta when local banks withheld cooperation with the exchange amid a wake of toughening policy from the Polish government toward cryptocurrencies. Malta has been taking great strides to become a blockchain and cryptocurrency hub. Apart from BitBay, several large digital currency exchanges, such as OKEx, BitBay, Binance, have also moved their operations to the island state.

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China: University IT Research Institute Partners to Form Blockchain Research Center

The Research Institute of Information Technology (RIIT) of Tsinghua University (THU) has partnered with a subsidiary of China’s institutional financial firm to establish a blockchain research center, according to an Aug. 1 press release.

The RIIT has signed an agreement with Sheng Ying Xin Management Consulting Co., Ltd., a contractually controlled and managed company of China Internet Nationwide Financial Services (CIFS). The two organizations will jointly research and develop basic blockchain technologies and models for building enterprise-level applications in a number of industries.

The blockchain-based applications will reportedly address a range of challenges currently facing Chinese companies. The introduction of blockchain into Chinese industries aims to boost transparency and traceability in supply chains, logistics, the pharmaceutical field, and agricultural products, among others.

CIFS CEO and chairman Jianxin Lin claimed that the recent agreement will be an important step for the company in terms of its business strategy, providing a shift from conventional financial service to focus more on fintech. Lin added that fintech will be “the main driver of the next phase of our [CIFS] growth.”

Bin Yang, Vice President of THU, noted that blockchain applications in various fields have become a “vital national strategy for all countries,” stating that distributed ledger technology will accelerate China’s economic transition and upgrade industry standards. He also said that the “digital transformation has only just begun,” and it would bring a “number of positive impacts for the society.”

Founded in 1911, Tsinghua University is one of major research universities in Beijing, China, and a member of the elite C9 League of Chinese universities. In May, 2018, THU set up the Youth Education Chain League and launched China’s first blockchain innovative experiment platform.

Previously, in 2016, Tsinghua University became part of a blockchain-powered food supply project, joining forces with U.S. retail giant Walmart, IBM, and the Chinese Blockchain Food Safety Alliance. The developed blockchain platform intended to identify and remove recalled foods from their products list.