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Chinese Insurance Giant Ping An Partners With Decentralized AI Startup SingularityNET

Chinese insurance giant Ping An has partnered with Ethereum-based decentralized AI startup SingularityNET.

Chinese insurance giant Ping An has partnered with Ethereum (ETH)-based decentralized artificial intelligence (AI) startup SingularityNET. The latter company announced the collaboration in a press release published on Medium on March 14.

Per the release, the collaboration will at first focus on Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Computer Vision (CV) and model training. SingularityNET notes that the scope of the partnership is expected to expand to multiple industries and initiatives in the future.

The announcement has been made shortly after SingularityNET officially launched a beta version of its Ethereum-based decentralized marketplace on Thursday, Feb. 28. In January last year, the company also announced a partnership with agriculture-focused blockchain startup Hara at the World Web Forum.

Ping An is reportedly the world’s most valuable insurance company, it serves 170 million customers, and ranked tenth in the Forbes Global 2000 list of world’s largest public companies. As Cointelegraph reported in November last year, Ping An and the Sanya municipal government also signed a strategic cooperation agreement for “Smart City” construction involving blockchain.

The press release notes that Ping An’s “One Minute Clinics” for medical consultations, which are unstaffed and use AI, are already in use in eight Chinese cities.

During the same month, Cointelegraph also reported that Ping An’s banking subsidiary Ping An Bank will launch a boutique bank using blockchain, cloud services and Internet of Things (IoT) tech.

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Insurance Giant AXA XL Launches Security Token and Crowdfunding Insurance Service

Insurance Giant AXA XL partnered with insurance technology startup Assurely to jointly launch a new insurance product covering equity crowdfunding and security token offerings.

Insurance giant AXA XL and insurance technology startup Assurely have jointly launched a new insurance product covering equity crowdfunding and Security Token Offerings (STOs), according to a press release published on March 6.

The new product dubbed CrowdProtector is designed for issuers and investors, and purportedly protects new online capital formation strategies like equity crowdfunding and STOs. The product also aims increase trust, confidence and safety to potential investors guaranteeing that the issuer is insured. According to Ty Sagalow, CEO of Assurely, the parties have managed to increase underwriting. The releases states:

“CrowdProtector provides Issuers protection against investor complaints and lawsuits as well as serve as a communication to investors that they may get their principal investment returned should the issuer misuse the funds, purposefully misrepresent information in their offering documents, or steal the money.”

In the release, it is noted that until recently, investing in private companies has been available to accredited investors, —  having a net worth of higher than $1 million, or earned income exceeding $200,000 — leaving a large amount of potential investors on the sidelines.

AXA XL is reportedly the second largest insurer in Europe, also providing risk management and reinsurance services to insurance companies globally. In 2018, the company’s net profit was reportedly 2.14 billion euro ($2.42 billion), having fallen by 66 percent from a year earlier. At the same time, the company’s earnings in 2018 rose by three percent, with dividends up by six percent to 1.34 euro ($1.52) per share.

Back in 2015, AXA XL revealed its plans to use Bitcoin (BTC) for remittances in order to streamline payments around the world. At the time, the company stated that many use cases related to Bitcoin had not yet been explored.

As Cointelegraph reported in February, blockchain security firm and crypto wallet service BitGo announced plans to offer crypto insurance through Lloyd’s of London. BitGo Business Wallet clients will purportedly be able to acquire insurance for their digital assets held on BitGo’s Business Wallet service and Custodial offering.

Additional reporting by Adrian Zmudzinski

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Crypto-Friendly Banking App Revolut Obtains EU Banking License

Revolut fiat and cryptocurrency app has obtained a banking license in Lithuania.

Crypto-friendly fintech startup Revolut has obtained a banking license in Lithuania, technology news outlet TechCrunch reported Dec. 12.

As the report states, the startup obtained a license through the Bank of Lithuania and “is leveraging passporting rules to operate in other European countries.” The mentioned “passport rules” are laws permitting the operation of banks that are part of the European free market on the territory of other member states.

In the coming months, Revolut’s users in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Poland are expected to get a “true current account and a non-prepaid debit card.” Additionally, users’ deposits will also be covered up to €100,000 (about $113,500) under the European Deposit Insurance Scheme.

About a year ago, the startup also started to support cryptocurrencies. According to a post on the company’s support blog, Revolut currently lets its users “gain exposure to” Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ripple (XRP).

TechCrunch also reports today that “eventually, the startup expects to be able to offer overdrafts and loans.” According to data contained in the article, Revolut’s user base generates $4 billion in transaction volume per month, and that there are 8,000 to 10,000 new accounts opened per day.

As Cointelegraph reported, after its funding round in April, Revolut became a so-called “unicorn,” at the time valued at $1.7 billion.

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Nigerian Banking Regulator Warns Bitcoin’s Disintermediation Is a ‘Critical Concern’

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation’s director defined Bitcoin’s disintermediation and fintechs as “critical concern to the corporation.”

The director and chief executive of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has expressed concerns about cryptocurrencies and disintermediation, English-language Nigerian news outlet The Sun reported Dec. 12.

Disintermediation is when consumers begin investing directly in markets, rather than through intermediates like banks.

The NDIC was established in 1988 to ensure safety in the just-liberalized banking sector. This corporation has a supervisory role over insured banks and it reports to the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Finance.

During an NDIC forum, Ibrahim Umaru described his concerns about Bitcoin (BTC), disintermediation and fintech in general:

“The partial disintermediation of the banking system arising from proliferation of digital currencies such as Bitcoin, as well as the activities of fintechs are all of critical concern to the corporation.”

In March, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation also warned Nigerian citizens against the use of cryptocurrencies, stating that they don’t recognize them as legitimate currencies. Adikwu Igoche, an NDIC executive, said that cryptocurrencies are not authorized by Nigeria’s Central Bank and consequently aren’t insured by them.

As Cointelegraph reported in November, the presidential candidate of Nigeria’s leading opposition party has promised legitimizing crypto and blockchain regulation. In his “Get Nigeria Working Again” policy, he declared his aim to “speed up the economy positively through blockchain and cryptocurrency.”

Moreover, the local government is partnering with startups to develop blockchain in Nigeria, as Cointelegraph reported last October.

However, Chimezie Chuta, the national coordinator of the first blockchain conference held in Nigeria last year, noted some difficulties with embracing fintech innovation. Namely, he explained that trying to change the common point of view that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are MLM and Ponzi schemes requires many resources.

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Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange Insures Its Crypto Assets With Local Broker

The Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange has insured all of its assets with local insurance broker Callaghan.

The Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX) announced that it is offering insurance on all of the assets listed on its platform, in an official GBX blog post Dec. 10.

The exchange reports that it will use local firm Callaghan Insurance Brokers to insure its assets, specifying that “all assets in the custody of the GBX are fully insured, including both hot and cold wallets.” The policy also reportedly “covers all forms of professional indemnity.”

GBX, a subsidiary of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX), opened in July of this year and has raised a total of $27 million in funding. In the past 24 hours, the exchange saw about $8.5 million in trades, currently placing it in 60th place on CoinMarketCap’s exchange rankings by adjusted trade volume.

As Cointelegraph reported, last month the exchange was awarded a license by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC).

As the firm’s blog post states, Callaghan Insurance Brokers is a privately held insurance company based out of Gibraltar The firm’s managing director is also a member of the GFSC’s board.

This is not the first crypto exchange that has managed to obtain insurance on the assets it holds. Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange owned by the Winklevoss twins, also secured coverage for its custodied digital assets from insurance firm Aon this October.

For its part, Gibraltar’s government has recently shown interest in the regulation and development of blockchain technology in the country. As Cointelegraph reported in October, the local government launched an advisory group meant to develop blockchain-related educational courses.

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State Farm Tests Blockchain Solution to Speed Up Auto Insurance Claims

American insurance giant State Farm is testing a blockchain product to speed up the subrogation process for auto claims.

U.S.-based insurance company State Farm is testing a blockchain-based solution to speed up the subrogation process for auto claims, according to an announcement published Dec. 10.

State Farm is a large group of insurance and financial services firms that provides auto insurance in the U.S. The organization was ranked 38th on the 2018 Fortune 500 list of companies. Per the company’s website, it processes 38,300 claims per day and has nearly 519,000 accounts in mutual funds.

State Farm is working on blockchain-based solution to speed up the subrogation processes in the insurance industry. Subrogation is a legal right held by most insurance carriers to legally pursue a third party that caused an insurance loss to the insured, and is usually the last part of an insurance claims process.

State Farm is reportedly testing a blockchain solution collaboratively with another insurer, to see whether it can reduce the time needed to complete the subrogation process by automatically compiling all subrogation payment amounts.

According to Mike Fields, State Farm’s innovation executive, “subrogation is a relatively manual, time-consuming process often requiring physical checks to be mailed on a claim-by-claim basis between insurers.” He added:

“It [blockchain] helps us automate a manual process securely and creates a permanent transaction record of each payment which can easily be verified for accuracy. It also has the potential to decrease the amount of time for consumers to receive their deductible reimbursement.”

Insurance companies globally have been integrating blockchain technology into their operations. Last month, Japanese insurance company Sompo partnered with pan-African digital payment platform BTC Africa, also known as BitPesa. The partnership is focused on the “digitalization of global remittance services.”

In September, major insurance firm the People’s Insurance Company of China (PICC) partnered with blockchain platform VeChain and global quality assurance and risk management company DNV GL to make their business more time and cost efficient. The partnership also aims improve fraud prevention, Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance, as well as the claims experience.

Meanwhile, market research firm MarketsandMarkets predicted that blockchain in insurance market will grow to $1.4 billion by the end of 2023, at a compound annual growth rate of 84.9 percent.

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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).