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Blockchain Financial Firm Diginex Goes Public in Reverse Merger With 8i

Hong Kong-based blockchain financial services firm Diginex Ltd. will go public through a reverse merger with investment holding company 8i Enterprises Acquisition Corp.

Hong Kong-based blockchain financial services firm Diginex Ltd. is scheduled to go public through a reverse merger with investment holding company 8i Enterprises Acquisition Corp. Subsequently, the firm will be listed on the Nasdaq, Bloomberg reported on July 10.

Diginex is reportedly going to close a reverse merger deal with 8i, which will reportedly amount to $276 million including debt. Diginex shareholders will reportedly get 20 million ordinary shares of 8i, valued at $10 per share.

According to Diginex’s CEO Richard Byworth the deal is set to ensure “broader market visibility” for the company. As such, Diginex will be “the first fully-diversified blockchain player on Nasdaq,” Byworth added. 

Last fall, Diginex joined Global Digital Finance, the industry body driving acceleration and adoption of digital finance, as a founding member. Diginex thus joined other industry leaders, including crypto finance firm Circle, blockchain startup ConsenSys, crypto exchange Coinbase and enterprise blockchain software firm R3.

As reported in late June, Chinese cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain was revisiting plans for an initial public offering. Bitmain was reportedly planning to file listing documents with the United States Security and Exchange Commission, potentially paving the way for a share sale to take place later this year.

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Facebook’s Libra Concept Will Impact Cross-Border Payments: Ex-PBoC Chief

China should learn from Hong Kong and Facebook as it develops its own sovereign digital currency, a former central bank governor says.

A former governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has indicated that Beijing may delegate the issuance of digital currency to commercial entities, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post newspaper reported on July 11.

Zhou Xiaochuan, who stood down as head of the central bank in 2018 after 15 years, revealed the country may adopt a new approach for its sovereign digital currency scheme — taking inspiration from Hong Kong’s monetary system and Facebook’s Libra project.

In Hong Kong, three banks issue their own banknotes and collateralize them by holding US dollars in reserve, while the territory’s monetary authority ensures that one Hong Kong dollar is constantly worth about $7.80.

According to Zhou, following this method would enable Beijing to avoid the “huge fluctuations” that plagued cryptocurrencies during their early development.

Chinese tech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent have already launched digital payment platforms including Alipay and WeChat Pay, services that have amassed hundreds of millions of users.

During a speech in Beijing, he also urged policymakers to read Facebook’s Libra white paper in detail — and said the tech giant’s plans to peg the coin to a basket of fiat currencies, overseen by a non-profit consortium featuring two-dozen major companies, could be of interest as China develops a sovereign digital currency. He added:

“Libra has introduced a concept that will impact the traditional cross-border business and payment system.”

Despite China establishing an institute to explore the launch of its own sovereign digital currency, progress has reportedly been slow.

Beijing has taken a hard line against crypto trading in the past — banning Bitcoin (BTC) trading, initial coin offerings and crypto exchanges.

Nonetheless, a government-sponsored index ranks cryptocurrencies every two months. In the most recent ratings, EOS came top and BTC came 12th.

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Bitfinex to Use 27% of Tokinex Revenue to Burn LEO Tokens

Bitfinex has committed to using 27% of Tokinex’s past and future revenue for burning the LEO utility tokens.

Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange announced that it will spend 27% of past and future Tokinex revenue on burning LEO tokens, according to an official blog post on July 8.

Bitfinex unveiled LEO in May as the native utility token for its initial exchange offering (IEO) platform Tokinex. Parent company iFinex committed to burning LEO tokens, until commercial circulation runs dry, in the LEO token whitepaper:

“On a monthly basis, iFinex and its affiliates will buy back LEO from the market equal to a minimum of 27% of the consolidated gross revenues of iFinex (exclusive of Ethfinex) from the previous month, until no tokens are in commercial circulation. Repurchases will be made at then-prevailing market rates. LEO tokens used to pay fees may also be used to satisfy this repurchase commitment.”

The recent, official blog post stressed that the 27% figure applies to “past and future” revenues. 

Bitfinex said that it has now used revenue generated by the first IEO on Tokinex, Ampleforth, to buy up outstanding LEO tokens. Ampleforth’s IEO raised $5 million on the platform within 11 seconds, selling 10% of its token supply.

Bitfinex additionally announced the “LEO Transparency Dashboard” in June, which purportedly shows how much LEO has been burned, along with a list of the burn transactions. 

The post notes that Tokinex’s next IEO is scheduled for July 16. It will run the IEO for Ultra, a blockchain-based PC gaming platform. 

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Bitfinex said it repaid $100 million of outstanding loan facility to stablecoin operator Tether. The repayment came months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a complaint alleging that Bitfinex had lost $850 million and used funds from Tether to hide the losses.

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Bitmain Shifting IPO Plans to the US on Growing Bitcoin Optimism

Bitmain is preparing for an initial public offering in the United States — three months after plans for a share sale in Hong Kong lapsed, according to a report.

Chinese cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain is revisiting plans for an initial public offering (IPO,) Bloomberg reported on June 21.

The company had filed to list an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, but the application expired on March 26.

Now, Bitmain is reportedly planning to file listing documents with the United States Security and Exchange Commission, potentially paving the way for a share sale to take place later this year.

While the company was hoping to raise $3 billion from its planned Hong Kong IPO, the Bloomberg report suggested that this fundraising target will be reduced to between $300 million and $500 million if it lists in the U.S.

It comes as bitcoin (BTC) prices exceeded $9,800 — with this figure often being used as a barometer for how the crypto industry is faring.

At the end of March, Bitmain said it remained committed to realizing the “huge potential of the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry” even though its six-month window for filing an IPO in Hong Kong had lapsed. The company also claimed it has become “more transparent and standardized” as a result.

In February, a document suggested that Bitmain could have amassed losses of $500 million in the third quarter of 2018, indicating that last year’s bear market had taken a toll on the mining sector.

Earlier this month, it was reported that a new crypto services venture by ex-Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu was close to launch.

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Bullish: Bitcoin (BTC) Trading at 2% Premium in Hong Kong Amid Unrest

Bitcoin Sees Seeming Uptick in Adoption in Hong Kong

Throughout its short history, Bitcoin (BTC) has been seen as anything but centralized, sovereign, and censorable. The crypto asset was created by a pseudonymous individual, is secured by a global group of miners, and is backed by no government, traditional finance system, or common entity.

And as a result, many have looked to Bitcoin and its brethren — other digital assets — as a much-needed escape hatch from fiat and government overreach. Indeed, the cryptocurrency was released in the wake (and seemingly as a result) of the 2008 Great Depression, and many that have since flocked to the cryptocurrency are staunch anti-establishment proponents.

Most recently, it seems that goes against the government of Hong Kong’s recent actions to impose a bill, which some deem predatory towards political dissidents and their brethren, have turned to BTC.

First spotted by Mati Greenspan of eToro, Bitcoin has begun to trade at a small but noticeable premium on Hong Kong-based exchanges, like one named “TideBit”. Greenspan notes that on the exchange, BTC is trading for a number of Hong Kong Dollars worth around $9,340, while the asset traded for $9,180 on platforms like Coinbase. This represents a 2% premium.

This small trend, per Greenspan, is a sign that Bitcoin is becoming used more and more as a safe haven, validating reports that Hong Kong residents have begun to move their assets out of the region in a bid to mitigate any financial surveillance or government seizure of their wealth.

It is important to note that this isn’t the only sign that this political trend is taking place. As spotted by a Brave New Coin analyst, the weekly volume on LocalBitcoins, a peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading service, in Hong Kong has spiked — moving from ~HK$3 million to ~HK$6 million (US$380,000 to $US760,000) — within a few weeks’ time.

This bodes well for Bitcoin’s long-term value, as two statistical trends validates the cryptocurrency’s value proposition.

What is Going on in Hong Kong?

Some might be left wondering — what is going on in Hong Kong to cause this massive inflow into cryptocurrency?

Well, let Ethereum World News explain.

Over recent weeks, Hong Kong has been a hotbed of political controversy. Carrie Lam, the so-called “chief executive” of the island city, brought forward a controversial bill that, if implemented, would allow for those deemed criminals to be seized and then extradited to Taiwan, Macau, and mainland China.

This was purportedly done in response to a criminal case, in which a man murdered his girlfriend, fled to Hong Kong, and was caught by authorities. While this legislature has an innocent premise, as there are so-called “loopholes” in the law, many in Hong Kong aren’t too sure that this amendment to the city’s extradition treaties is what it seems to be.

Those against this bill claim that if the new rule is put in place, Chinese authorities will be able to silence any political dissident, outspoken journalist, or “corrupt” businessman/woman as they please, without any regard for the judicial process or human rights. Also importantly, China would be able to seize the assets of any “criminal” in Hong Kong.

These fears have triggered a mass upheaval in the Hong Kong society in a short period of time, sparking talk between companies and individuals like of moving themselves, their operations, and assets to other Asian cities en-masse.

Photo by Paco Wong on Unsplash

The post Bullish: Bitcoin (BTC) Trading at 2% Premium in Hong Kong Amid Unrest appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Buy Bitcoin: Hong Kong Protests Spark Fervor Regarding Freedom, Democracy

Bitcoin (BTC), a digital currency not bound by the traditional rules of fiat, may seem nebulous and useless, but geopolitical and macroeconomic events are quickly proving its viability. Over the past week, Hong Kong has seen a growing amount of political unrest as a result of proposed legislation from the local government, which would allow local authorities to ship purported criminals from the “Special Administrative Region” of China to the mainland.

The Hong Kong Protests

On Sunday, an estimated one million individuals from Hong Kong — a supposed one in seven residents of the island city — took to the streets in protest. They called for Carrie Lam, the “chief executive” of Hong Kong, to step down, and for other regulators to retract the aforementioned bill. The hundreds of thousands in the streets, and the millions watching from their apartments and across the globe believe that this bill can allow for Hong Kong to extradite naysayers of Beijing and pro-democracy pundits to the mainland for a different fate than if they were to remain in the city.

The image below, which comes from The New York Times, accentuates the size of the crowd and how big of an issue this truly is.

However, after this protest, one of the largest in Hong Kong’s history, Lam didn’t back down, and instead doubled-down.

Then, Wednesday (yesterday) swung about, and another set of protests took place. This time, the crowd formed organically, and didn’t even sign the proper papers to hold the protest. The crowd, which is claimed to have amassed to tens of thousands, maybe even 100,000 at its peak, surrounded a building in Hong Kong where lawmakers were set to discuss the extradition bill.

Unlike the previous rally, the activists, most of which were in the teens or mid-twenties, were looking to physically stop something from occurring. As a result, the police cracked down, enlisting the help of rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray, and other tactics meant to deter rioters, not protesters. Authorities also tried to ID as many as possible, specifically in a bid to try and stem the movement. This, for those with knowledge of Hong Kong’s spotty history, is very reminiscent of 2014’s Umbrella Movement, during which students looked to stop Beijing from censoring certain candidates from participating in the city’s elections.

But even in spite of this latest move, Lam isn’t backing down, and even recently likened the protesters, deemed rioters by the police force, as spoiled children.

Why Bitcoin Matters Here

Bitcoin may not seem relevant here, but it is. As Travis Kling, an anti-establishment proponent that runs crypto fund Ikigai, recently wrote on Twitter:

Hundreds of thousands of people protested in Hong Kong against a bill allowing extradition to mainland China. Access to The Washington Post and The Guardian were just blocked in China. Access to Wikipedia was blocked a few weeks ago. Crypto is intimately wrapped up in all this.

Kling is poking at the fact that cryptocurrencies and related technologies allow for censorship and other questionable anti-democratic tactics to be stamped out. Here’s a perfect case in point, during the protest, those attending opted to use cash for the metro instead of so-called “Octopus Cards”, which are ID-tied cards used for transit and purchases in certain stores (7-11, Mcdonald’s, etc.). They did this to avoid financial surveillance. Bitcoin, if used correctly and implemented correctly, could have been a perfect alternative here.

Photo by John-Paul Henry on Unsplash

The post Buy Bitcoin: Hong Kong Protests Spark Fervor Regarding Freedom, Democracy appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Major Hong Kong Property Firm to Seek Regulatory Approval for Tokenized Real Estate

Stan Group is set to meet with Hong Kong’s securities watchdog in January 2020 to seek approval for the sale of tokenized real estate assets.

Family-owned property firm Stan Group — which represents the assets of “shop king” real estate scion Tang Shing-bor — is set to meet with Hong Kong’s securities watchdog in January 2020 to seek approval for the sale of tokenized real estate assets. Hong Kong English-language newspaper South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported the news on June 12.

Stan Group is reported to have a real estate portfolio estimated at over HK$50 billion ($6.38 billion).

Against the backdrop of reportedly lacklustre sentiment in the local property market amid escalating trade tensions between the United States and China, the firm is seeking a locally unprecedented approval from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission for the regulated trading of blockchain tokens that would have real estate as their underlying asset.

Earlier this month, Stan Group reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding with local security token insurance platform Liquefy to jointly explore the possibilities of real estate tokenization, which can enable investors to own and trade blockchain tokens that confer ownership of a property — in whole or in part.

In an official statement, Stan Group chairman Stan Tang Yiu-sing said that they “envision far better access and greater liquidity in the real estate market due to the fractional ownership that will be attained with tokenisation and our real estate exchange under development.”

According to Liquefy CEO Adrian Lai, asset owners would set the initial launch price of the future tokens. He outlined that investors would be able to trade tokens either from asset owners or from Liquefy’s partner securities brokerage firm.

As Edwin Lee — founder of the SFC-licensed advisory and asset management firm Bridgeway Prime Shop Fund Management — told SCMP, the regulatory framework for securities token trading in Hong Kong is complex and demands that investors undergo a strict anti-money laundering process with extensive disclosures and paperwork.

Moreover, only professional investors with liquid assets worth in excess of $1 million are able to participate in such trades: according to Lee, there are ostensibly only around 100,000 such people in Hong Kong that would qualify.

As reported, blockchain property transaction platform blockkimo Ltd and two other firms jointly completed the purportedly first real estate transaction on a blockchain in Switzerland this March.

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BitMEX Observes Increase in Attacks on Accounts, Stresses Security Measures

Crypto exchange BitMEX cautions users to follow security best practices and enable two-factor authentication following an increase in attacks on user accounts.

Hong Kong-based peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX has reported an influx of attacks on user account credentials, according to an official blog post on June 11.

In addition to covering a litany of best practices for user security, the cryptocurrency exchange stressed the importance of using two-factor authentication (2FA) in particular. The report summarizes 2FA as follows:

“2FA, sometimes referred to as ‘two-step verification’ or ‘multi-factor authentication’, adds an additional layer of security to your account by requiring not only your username and password at login, but also the input of a unique, time-based token. Tokens can be stored on a cell phone within a software-based authenticator app such as Google Authenticator or Authy.”

According to BitMEX, research at Google has shown that virtually all attempts to steal account credentials can be prevented by enabling 2FA. BitMEX concurred that 2FA is the best way to prevent such attacks, and is considering making 2FA authentication mandatory on its platform.

BitMEX also noted that compromised accounts on the exchange are typically associated with weak or reused passwords, hacked emails, or computers infected with malware. Additionally, the exchange discovered some new tactics being deployed in these account hacks, and have updated its policies accordingly.  

First, there is no longer an option to disable email notifications about account logins, since hackers were disabling these notifications in order to further hide their tracks. Second, withdrawal requests must now be verified by email, since attackers were making API keys with the hacked accounts, which could be used on their own to authenticate withdrawals.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, United States-based crypto exchange Kraken made 2FA mandatory for its platform at the end of March. According to Kraken’s announcement, 2FA has been optional on the platform since its inception in 2013. The exchange particularly supports 2FA programs Google Authenticator and YubiKey, as per the announcement.

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Ex-Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu Set to Launch Crypto OTC Platform Next Month: Report

Speculation remains over whether Jihan Wu will serve as chairman or CEO of Matrix, the upcoming crypto services startup.

Ex-Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu could launch his newest venture next month, according to a report by The Block on June 5.

One unnamed source told the website that the crypto services startup, called Matrix, “will be the biggest over-the-counter (OTC) desk and asset manager overnight.”

Matrix’s OTC offering is likely to be boosted by its close ties to bitcoin (BTC) mining company, Bitmain. The new business will reportedly offer custody and lending services to the Beijing-based giant, receiving a liquid pool in return.

Another of the four unnamed sources told The Block that such high levels of liquidity could result in lower crypto prices, giving Matrix a competitive advantage in Asia.

The Block notes that speculation remains over whether Wu will serve as chairman or CEO of the new company — as well as over whether Matrix would be allowed to operate in China, which has a history of clamping down on the cryptocurrency industry and crypto trading.

Last November, Wu was reportedly demoted from being a “director” at Bitmain to a “supervisor.”

Bitmain is one of the biggest players in the cryptocurrency industry due to its huge mining capabilities, and Wu continues to hold a 20.5% stake in the business.