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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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Swiss Bank Gazprombank to Launch Crypto Services Next Year

Swiss bank Gazprombank has partnered with fintech and crypto startups Avaloq and Metaco to develop crypto asset services.

Swiss bank Gazprombank recently partnered with fintech startup Avaloq and crypto firm Metaco to offer clients crypto services, an Avaloq press release reports Dec. 6.

Fintech company Avaloq and crypto custody solution specialist Metaco are reportedly collaborating with Gazprombank –– which as CHF 3.1 billion ($3.12 billion) in total assets under management ––“to implement their integrated crypto asset solution” aimed at banks and wealth managers.

The system is meant “for the management of client portfolios across all asset classes, including cryptocurrencies.” The press release reports that this is the latest development in a preexisting relationship with the bank, noting that:

“Gazprombank (Switzerland) Ltd, which is already an Avaloq client, aims to offer a cryptocurrency service to its clients in mid-2019.”

The implementation of the system is meant to make transactions in crypto assets “simple.” After the implementation, the report states that clients will be able to buy, sell and transfer crypto “without any need for a crypto-wallet or private key management.”

The solution makes use of Metaco’s Hardware Security Module (HSM), which, according to the press release, “ensures a military security solution for storing private keys and managing wallets and operations” with multisignature support.

According to its website, the Swiss Gazprombank is 100 percent owned by Russian state-owned Gazprombank (JSC), and regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

As Cointelegraph recently reported, New York-based Signature Bank obtained approval from the Department of Financial Services of New York (NYDFS) to employ its blockchain-based digital platform.

Also this week, Brazil’s largest private bank Itau Unibanco partnered with United Kingdom bank Standard Chartered to create a blockchain-based platform for small loans.

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US Trading Technology Firm Partners With R3 Blockchain Consortium

U.S.-based trading technology firm IPC Systems has partnered with blockchain software consortium R3.

American trading-communications firm IPC Systems has partnered with enterprise blockchain software consortium R3, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph Dec. 3.

IPC is a trading technology service company known for producing trading turrets, which are communications systems used by financial traders on their trading desks. Through the Partnership, IPC plans to support the consortium’s Corda blockchain networks on its Connexus platform.

Connexus Cloud is a financial markets cloud-based platform for data, voice, and business communications and compliance. The product includes financial industry firms, liquidity revenues, energy firms, and market data and clearing companies.

The Corda blockchain network uses smart contracts that are triggered by price or volatility developments in markets. By partnering with R3, IPC will purportedly provide capital market data, making the sources of information used by smart contracts — dubbed “oracles” — more accurate.

IPC Director of Product Management Robert Coole said that “the financial industry interest in blockchain has significantly increased in recent years, with continuous growth of investment to support this emerging technology.”

Today, 26 French companies and five major banks completed a Know Your Customer (KYC) test based on the Corda platform. Trial participants were reportedly able to implement KYC requests within a shared network, with banks having to request access to data and clients able to approve and revoke access, with all the data recorded on the blockchain.

In November, SBI Ripple Asia and the Japan Payment Card Consortium announced a joint proof of concept (PoC) to combat fraud with blockchain technology, that will be based on Corda. The PoC will also aim to prevent damage from fraudulent transactions, as data in the system will be “shared only with those that have a ‘need to know.’”

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Swiss Fintech License Allows Blockchain, Crypto Firms to Accept $100 Mln in Public Funds

Fintech firms including blockchain startups will be able to apply for the new fintech license with Switzerland’s FINMA starting from Jan. 1, 2019.

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has released guidelines for their new “FinTech” license, according to a FINMA official press release released Dec. 3

The Swiss financial regulator revealed that license pursuants, which can be blockchain-related and crypto-related firms, will be able to apply for the fintech license with the state authority starting from 2019.

The license, which FINMA notes has “relaxed requirements” under the country’s banking ordinance, allows fintech companies to accept public deposits of up to 100 million Swiss francs (CHF), or around $100 million. Within the terms of the license, companies are neither allowed to invest the public deposits nor pay interest on them.

In order to receive the license, an applicant must provide a number of details about their fintech project, including a business description, business financial plan, assets storage method, risk management, anti-money laundering (AML) policies, and others.

The license document, entitled “Guidelines for FinTech licence applications pursuant to Article 1b of the Banking Act,” has been in development since February this year, and is planned to be adopted on Jan. 1.

Earlier in November, FINMA issued Switzerland’s first crypto license, which targeted crypto asset investment funds. The license allows crypto-related firms to legally provide a number of collective investment services, as well as tracking Bitcoin (BTC) and other crypto assets, including domestic funds.

The financial watchdog has previously released guidelines for the regulation of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), considering those guidelines as a way of helping blockchain technology.

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Europe Leads the Way With Crypto Exchange-Traded Products

Crypto exchange traded products prove divisive, as the SEC mulls over its latest landmark decision.

On Nov. 16, Switzerland’s primary stock exchange, SIX Swiss Exchange, announced that it will list the world’s first multi-crypto-based exchange-traded product (ETP).

Exchange-traded products (ETP) are derivatively priced securities that are traded on a national securities exchange. Their pricing derives its value from other investment instruments, most commonly found in the form of commodities, stocks and indexes.

The first global multi-crypto ETP has the backing of Swiss startup Amun AG and will be listed under the ticker symbol HOLD. According to the announcement, the ETP will track five of the sector’s biggest cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC).

The announcement also reveals that each of the five cryptocurrencies will obtain a degree of the market share within the ETP, although Bitcoin will reportedly make up roughly half of the ETP’s overall assets. XRP, the now second-biggest cryptocurrency, will make up 25.4 percent of the assets, followed by Ethereum with 16.7, Bitcoin Cash at 5.2 percent and Litecoin with 3 percent.

In spite of many hopeful product launches across the crypto sector attempting to hasten mainstream adoption, regulation issues remain a serious and consistent barrier to progress. Hany Rashwan, co-founder and chief executive of Amun AG, has not overlooked this potential sticking point and maintains that the product will comply with the existing strict policies that apply to all other ETPs.

Amun’s official website states that SIX Swiss Exchange is Europe’s fourth-largest exchange and has a market capitalization of $1.6 trillion.

The listing of the multi-crypto based exchange is not Europe’s first experiment with crypto ETPs. Swedish company XBT Provider has been running the lucrative CoinShares exchange-traded product since 2015. This listing is the latest crypto development in Sweden, a state well known for its open-minded approach to innovation in the fintech sector, as well as a country predicted to become the first “cashless economy.”

Coinshares has two Bitcoin trackers: XBT Bitcoin Tracker One (COINXBT) and XBT Bitcoin Tracker Euro (COINXBE). As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the two trackers trade in both euros and Swedish krona.The product ascribes 200 shares as equal to the price of one Bitcoin for trading in Swedish krona and 20 shares to one Bitcoin for the euro version. The product is accessible to investors from across Europe and has attracted over $1 billion since its 2015 listing on Nasdaq Stockholm, leading developers to launch additional versions in neighboring Denmark, Latvia, Finland and Estonia.

Coinshares caught the eye of billionaire crypto investor Mark Cuban early on. Speaking at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in Los Angeles, Cuban commented on the investing experience and the ascription of asset value:

“It is interesting because there are a lot of assets which their value is just based on supply and demand. [With] most stocks, there is no intrinsic value, because you have no true ownership rights and no voting rights. You just have the ability to buy and sell those stocks. Bitcoin is the same thing. Its value is based on supply-demand. I have bought some through an ETN based on a Swedish exchange.”

According to Bloomberg, COINXBE has total assets of 96.5 million euros and COINXBT has total assets of 986.3 million Swedish krona.

The ETF battle continues in the United States

Perhaps the most established exchange-trading method in the crypto world is that of exchange-traded funds (ETF).

An ETF tracks a commodity, bonds, a stock index or one or several assets. Single-asset ETFs are now commonplace and can be used to trade a variety of assets, such as gold. As ETFs are already a major tool for passive investment in mainstream finance, many players in the crypto community hope that ETFs will pave the way toward widespread adoption.  

Part of the allure of ETFs that track a basket of assets is that, by their very nature, they are less prone to the risk of fluctuations that other investment instruments are vulnerable to. Because the value of the investment is spread across multiple assets, losses from underperforming assets are counterbalanced by those that more rapidly accrue value. As a result of this, ETFs enjoy popularity among low-risk investors.

A Bitcoin ETF tracks Bitcoin as the underlying asset. This results in the investor only holding the security of the Bitcoin without actually owning the coins themselves. So far, Bitcoin ETF applications to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have not been successful. Billionaire twins and major crypto players Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have had two high-profile applications denied by the SEC so far, the most recent being rejected in July. The rejection was accompanied by a 92-page report on the application that disagreed with the the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust’s claim that Bitcoin markets are “inherently resistant to manipulation.” In the report, the SEC honed in on this point in particular:

“The arguments submitted in support of this claim are incomplete and inconsistent, and are unsupported or contradicted by data.”

In spite of the repeated setbacks for the Winklevoss twins’ ill-fated applications, the seemingly hardline approach of the SEC has not prevented further applications from being made throughout the year.

SEC mulls over latest ETF application

Earlier this year, investment management firm VanEck and the blockchain technology company SolidX, applied for a physically-backed Bitcoin ETF to be listed on the Chicago Board Options Exchange’s BZX Equities Exchange. The proposal would see each share in the ETF valued at around $200,000, in an attempt to lure in institutional investors.

This tactic could prove to pay off for the two companies, considering Morgan Stanley’s October report that documented Bitcoin’s new potential for mainstream institutional investment. Furthermore, the fact that the ETF is backed by derivatives means that the firms in question will actually hold BTC as opposed to their corresponding value, a factor which may well be important in influencing the way the regulatory decision will fall for the application.

As the SEC decided to postpone their decision in August, the two companies have yet to receive an official reply. Given that, as of Aug. 22, a total of nine Bitcoin ETF applications from three separate applicants have been rejected outright, the drawn out nature of the SEC’s decision making, along with the huge potential for crossing over into the financial mainstream that it brings, the outcome is eagerly awaited by the crypto community. The SEC did, however, publish a memorandum from a meeting about the proposal in October.

The memorandum outlines the past relationship between the two companies and the regulator, taking into account their most recent, ongoing project and the failed SolidX bid for an ETF to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in March 2017. Also mentioned in the memorandum is the SEC’s reasoning behind the nine previously rejected applications. Two of the applications were made by ProShares, a further five were submitted by Direxion and two by GraniteShares. The SEC took umbrage at the notion that the Bitcoin futures market had “significant” demand and voiced concern at the possibility of “fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices”:

“[…] the Exchange has offered no record evidence to demonstrate that Bitcoin futures markets are ‘markets of significant size.’ That failure is critical because […] the Exchange has failed to establish that other means to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices will be sufficient, and therefore surveillance-sharing with a regulated market of significant size related to Bitcoin is necessary.”

The memorandum also documents how VanEck, SolidX and the representatives of the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), vehemently disagreed with the regulators on this issue, adding that their choice of the word “significant” was deliberately imprecise and enabled them to manipulate agreements between the involved parties:

“As issuers, we are concerned the SEC staff have created a moving target in their use of the word ‘significant.’ The Staff have never provided guidance as to what ‘significant’ means, enabling them to move the goal post indefinitely.”

In spite of the tough stance the SEC has taken against the previous applications, Commissioner Hester M. Peirce announced that the regulator would once again review them in the future. In a publication that broke from the official standing of the SEC regarding Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general, Commissioner Peirce claimed that the regulator had overstepped its “limited role” in focusing on the market itself as opposed to the derivative in question:

“The Commission erroneously reads […] the [Securities Exchange] Act, which requires […] that the rules of a national securities exchange be ‘designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices…’ [It] focuses its decision not on the ETP shares to be listed […] but on the underlying Bitcoin spot market […] [instead of] the ability of BZX […] to surveil trading of and to deter manipulation in the ETP shares listed and traded on BZX.”

On Oct. 4, the SEC announced that, “by Nov. 5, 2018, any party or other person may file a statement in support of, or in opposition to, the action made pursuant to the delegated authority.”

The latest proposal from SolidX, VanEck and the CBOE is reported to remain under review by the regulator until February 2019.

SolidX, VanEck and the CBOE are not the only ones who predict a more open-minded approach to Bitcoin ETFs. CNBC crypto analyst Brian Kelly believes that Chicago Mercantile Exchange statistics indicate a growing trend toward the derivatives marketplace and a rapidly evolving futures market. Kelly said that this is likely to improve the environment for SEC Bitcoin ETF approvals as early as next year:

“Here’s CME Futures open interest of large holders. [As of] April, you’re starting to see a big increase […] about an 85 percent growth rate. If you extrapolate that out, by February 2019, you’re going to have a very robust market here.”

Not all crypto players, however, share the same bullish approach. Tech entrepreneur, Andreas Antonopoulous, said that, although he expects the SEC to approve Bitcoin ETFs, he does not expect them to benefit the crypto industry in the long term:

“I’m going to burst your bubble. I know a lot of people really want to see an ETF happen because ‘to the moon, and lambos,’ but I think it is a terrible idea. I still think it is going to happen, I just think it is a terrible idea. I’m actually against ETFs. I think a Bitcoin ETF is going to be damaging to the ecosystem.”

Skepticism spreads outside the U.S.

On Nov. 20, the U.K.’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced in a speech that it is considering a ban on cryptocurrency derivatives. The regulator stated that this latest announcement was part of its intention to create its “most comprehensive” response to the industry.

Speaking at the “Regulation of Cryptocurrencies” event in London, the FCA executive director of strategy and competition, Christopher Woolard, emphasized that the organization was looking into outlawing derivatives. The ban would also likely include options, futures and transferable securities. Woolard elaborated on how the FCA is concerned about consumer welfare, as well as other issues across the market:

“We’re concerned that retail consumers are being sold complex, volatile and often leveraged derivatives products based on exchange tokens with underlying market integrity issues.”

Light at the end of the tunnel for ETPs

From the mixed bag of comments from crypto players, what appears to be gaining traction is the notion that crypto exchange-traded products are likely to make their entrance into the sector regardless of whether they will actually enrich the cryptocurrency sphere or not. In spite of the progress being made to implement these investment instruments in both Sweden and Switzerland, the real litmus test will be the regulatory decision from the SEC.

Commissioner Peirce’s harsh insider critique of the regulatory body’s past behavior — along with the announcement that the past nine rejections will be re-examined — could signal that fortunes are finally set to change for crypto exchange-traded products in the United States.

As the U.K. works through its latest regulatory quandary, other players maintain that there is a market appetite for Bitcoin ETFs and it is only a matter of time before they are made available.

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26 French Companies, Five Banks Complete Blockchain-Based KYC Trial Based on R3’s Corda

26 French companies along with five banks have successfully completed a blockchain-enabled KYC trial with R3 consortium.

26 French companies and five major banks have completed a Know Your Customer (KYC) test based on blockchain, according to a press release by the entrant firm RCI Bank and Services released Dec. 3.

RCI Bank and Services, a French automotive financing and insurance firm unveiled details of a customer knowledge-focused blockchain solution trialed in partnership with blockchain consortium R3.

According to the press release, the Proof-of-Concept (PoC) test has been conducted in cooperation with the Association Française des Trésoriers d’Entreprise (AFTE), a local network of treasury and finance professionals.

As revealed by a participant of the test, RCI Bank and Services, which is also a member of the R3 consortium, trial participants were able to implement KYC requests within a shared network, with banks having to request access to data and enterprise clients able to approve and revoke access, with all the data recorded on the blockchain.

R3’s Corda KYC solution test reportedly involved five French banks, including the financial conglomerate BNP Paribas and Société Générale. The trial has also featured companies specializing in various fields such as insurance, consulting, the automotive and food industries, and retail, including such firms as Allianz France Insurance Company and Natixis Insurance.

Ignacio Sánchez-Miret, chairman of AFTE Fintech Commission, commented that the Corda KYC solution has achieved two major goals, including “bridg[ing] the gap and demystif[ying] blockchain for corporates,” as well as “bring[ing] together banks, insurers and corporates to work together at the same level,” according to U.K.-based fintech media FinTech Futures.

In early November, BNP Paribas participated in a blockchain-powered syndicated loan of $150 million in partnership with the second largest bank of Spain, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA).

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Belarus Seeks South Korean Investors Interested in Blockchain and Fintech

Belarusian diplomats are seeking South Korean investors for the country’s growing blockchain and fintech industry, Korea JoongAng Daily reported September 6.

During a visit to Seoul on Tuesday, the deputy foreign minister of Belarus Andrei Dapkiunas reportedly stated that Belarus endeavors to establish relations with Korean investors interested in “fourth industrial revolution” technologies, including blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).

In an interview with Korea JoongAng Daily, Dapkiunas noted that Belarus has developed “groundbreaking state legislation” in the IT sector, and said that the country is “making innovative strides on blockchain, cryptocurrency, start-up development and software production.”

The two countries have well-established business relations. South Korean exports to Belarus include IT products, electronics, vehicles, and construction equipment, while Belarus supplies potash fertilizers, semiconductors, optical instruments, and lasers. Dapkiunas reportedly said that “there is so much more potential for reciprocal interest between Belarus and Korea and we feel that this potential is not fully realized.” He added:

“We believe that there is a significant potential for mutually beneficial cooperation in such fields as aerospace, artificial intelligence, biotechnologies, electric and self-driving vehicles, robotics and electronics, nanomaterials and digital economy.”

Belarus clearly defined its position towards the digitization of the economy in May, when the Minister of Telecommunications and Informatization Sergey Popkov said that digital technology is considered a top priority due to its ability to transform “the economy, public administration and social services.”

In a separate statement, Chairman of the Belarusian House of Representatives Vladimir Andreichenko revealed that the country was developing a resolution promoting digital economy for a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

In March, Belarus officially introduced cryptocurrency accounting standards. A document released by the Ministry of Finance defined the information needed about tokens for accounting purposes and how to categorize tokens received based on their use.

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Hong Kong Extends Migrant Policy to Facilitate DLT and FinTech Professionals

A new Hong Kong government initiative seeks to attract professionals in Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) by simplifying the immigration policy, according to a press release published August 28.

On Thursday, the government of Hong Kong published its first Talent List aimed at attracting “highly skilled” experts in 11 different fields, including fintech, DLT, and cyber security, from around the world. The move designates the government’s intention to “support Hong Kong’s development as a high value-added and diversified economy.”

According to the press release, Hong Kong will facilitate successful applicants under the Talent List through the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS). The QMAS has an annual quota of 1,000 people. The Chief Secretary for Administration and Chairman of the Human Resources Planning Commission, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said:

“The promulgation of the Talent List is one of our major initiatives to enhance our competitive advantages in attracting international talents, creating cluster effects, stimulating the development of local talents and propelling Hong Kong forward.”

While Hong Kong continues taking regulatory actions towards digital currencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), stating that the new technology “comes with risks,” it seems to have set sights on becoming an international blockchain hub.

Last month, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced the launch its own blockchain trade finance solution with 21 banks in August, aiming to substantially reduce paperwork, costs, and security risks for participants.

In June, the HKMA signed a fintech collaboration agreement with the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of the Abu Dhabi Global Market “to start a dialogue on the opportunity to build a cross-border trade finance network using [DLT].” That month, Alibaba subsidiary Ant Financial trialled its first blockchain remittances, sending a transaction in three seconds between its AliPayHK app in Hong Kong and Filipino payment app GCash.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Business School (HKUST) recently received a $20 million research grant to improve the security capabilities of electronic payment systems earlier this month.

Additionally, the HKUST in partnership with the University of Hong Kong are planning to explore blockchain technology applications, and discuss the possibility of Hong Kong’s transformation into a global fintech hub.

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Tempo Money Transfer Chooses Stellar Over Ripple: Calls It a “Natural Fit”

In the world of cryptos and blockchain technologies, business options are as extensive as people’s needs.

Stellar: The blockchain chosen by Tempo to provide better quality services

In the case of businesses dedicated to facilitating payments between individuals, the choice of which blockchain to use and which fintech to hire is of vital importance for their growth. However, the symbolic relationship between crypto-based and fiat-based fintechs has resulted in greater public exposure to the world of crypto-currencies and blockchain technologies.

In the case of blockchains specialized in providing solutions to banks and payment providers to process cross-border transactions, 2 are the blockchains that currently dominate the sphere: Stellar and Ripple.

Stellar and Ripple are two developments that seek to offer solutions to the same problem but from 2 almost diametrically opposed perspectives. Stellar prefers decentralization while Ripple prefers more centralized protocols.

Tempo: Stellar is a Natural Fit

Tempo Logo

In an interview for the Blockchain Podcast #66 of Finance Magnates  Anthony Barker, Chief Technology Officer [CTO] of Paris-based international money transfer firm Tempo, commented on the benefits of using blockchains for the financial industry and the reasons why this company’s team chose Stellar over Ripple.

For Mr. Barker, Stellar’s philosophy seems to be more in line with the company’s standards. Its open design makes it a “natural fit” for the company.

“Stellar was sort of a natural fit for us … My gut reaction was that [Ripple] is not so good for community building … [It’s] much more like a Visa/Mastercard… I have a strong belief that open systems win in the long run.”

Cryptos: Fiat 2.0

He says that the possibility of developing a Token under the Stellar blockchain allowed Tempo to create a fast, reliable, but above all secure payment solution at the institutional level.

“We worked with Jed McCaleb and his developers, and we added compliance, so it’s integrated into Stellar as a standard 2nd-layer protocol … so we know how to send first name, last name, and date of birth across.

They added that really quickly simply because they’re really focused on this global remittance use case,”

For Mr. Barker, cryptos represent an advantage over traditional fiat-based systems as they allow payments to be made almost instantaneously regardless of the characteristics of the transaction. A $1 remittance can be reconciled as quickly and efficiently as a $1,000,000,000 remittance through the use of cryptocurrency.

“When you go to someone like a Western Union, they’ll have some money sitting in the other country, and they’ll do a payout from their account in that country to make it faster. So you have this problem of using money using the SWIFT settlement system, and it’s really expensive, cumbersome, and slow …

That’s why we migrated to blockchain … It’s really expensive, it’s a nightmare[with correspondent banks]; money gets locked up, and there’s no idea where it is or where it’s been blocked.”

Tempo is currently building an important base of strategic allies to expand operations throughout Europe.

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Square Cash Eclipses Venmo In Popularity, But Is It Thanks To Bitcoin?

Many have likened the fintech industry to the nascent cryptosphere, as both of these growing spaces are set on overthrowing legacy systems with more efficient, innovative, and unique solutions. While these two industries are far from identical from a top-down perspective, Square, a fintech startup, has recently begun to blur the lines between crypto and fintech.

Image Courtesy of Square

Late in 2017, the fintech firm announced that its so-called “Cash” app would be testing support for the trading of Bitcoin. As the price of the asset reached its peak, Cash launched support for the purchase and sale of Bitcoin.

This move didn’t come as a surprise to many, as Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter and Square alike, has shown fleeting interests and admiration for cryptocurrencies and their underlying technologies. In the announcement regarding the addition of this feature, Dorsey wrote:

We support Bitcoin because we see it as a long-term path towards greater financial access for all. This is a small step.

This move has seemingly helped the app, albeit not single handly, overtake the download figures posted by its primary competitor, Venmo (Paypal), who has tackled mobile payment processing alongside Cash (Square). According to data from Sensor Tower and Nomura Instinet, relayed by CNBC, Cash has been downloaded 33.5 million times, while Venmo has been downloaded 32.9 million times. This move is a result of Square Cash’s staggering growth rate at nearly three times faster than Venmo.

Dan Dolev, a Nomura Instinet analyst, recently expressed his faith in the service in a recent report, noting that the app could garner $100 million in sales by 2020, “even without deeper active user penetration.”

Square Cash And Bitcoin — A Dynamic Duo?

Prior to a recent announcement, Cash’s aforementioned Bitcoin-related feature was only available in a certain set of U.S. states.

But now, individuals all across the US, in all 50 states, can now use the Cash App to buy Bitcoin as they may please.

This feature, along with Cash’s growing dominance in the mobile industry, helped propel the app in popularity, with users stating that they saw the payment solution make an appearance in the top 10 products listed on the Apple App Store. This was backed up by Nomura’s aforementioned report, who noted that Cash was the #1 app in US’ finance category throughout Q2 of 2018.

Although Bitcoin was a welcome addition, it seems that Cash’s rise in popularity cannot be solely attributed to cryptocurrency support, as Dolev alluded to in the following comment:

Interestingly, this relationship (between Cash and Bitcoin’s popularity/price) seems to go both ways. While Bitcoin prices increased in July and Coinbase downloads accelerated 11 percent, Cash App downloads remained stable at 154 percent, showing little variance from prior months’ growth rates.

Nonetheless, Dolev, who is also an executive director at Nomura Instinet, sees the addition of crypto trading as more of a welcome add-on to the service, rather than Cash’s end game.

Photo by Jordan Andrews on Unsplash

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