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Central Banks Should Leave Crypto to Facebook and JPMorgan: PwC Partner

PwC France’s Pauline Adam Kalfon says central banks should stay away from crypto until it is “battle-tested” by corporations.

Central banks should leave issuance of digital currencies to corporations such as Facebook and JPMorgan, according to a blockchain and financial partner at PwC France, Forbes reports March 22.

According to PwC France’s Pauline Adam Kalfon, central banks should stay away from the issuance of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) until large corporations test out the tokenization of fiat currencies themselves.

Only when cryptocurrencies are “battle-tested by corporations,” should central banks make a move towards the crypto space, Kalfon argued, adding that it will reduce the likelihood of potentially negative consequences on the economy arising from any central bank issuing a digital currency.

Kalfon elaborated that France’s central bank, Banque de France, may not be the best entity to launch a digital currency project, explaining that the bank will be operating under the European Central Bank (ECB). She said:

“It is clear that a European-level project would be very complex and challenging governance-wise, requiring alignment and the political consensus of all relevant stakeholders from each Member State.”

In mid-February, JPMorgan announced plans to launch its own crypto, JPM Coin, to increase settlement efficiency. Following the news, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon stated that the company’s new cryptocurrency could have a consumer use one day.

Facebook was first rumored to develop its own crypto in December 2018, while The New York Times (NYT) released an article in late February alleging that the social media giant is developing a stablecoin that would incorporate Facebook’s three fully-owned apps — WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram.

In January, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) reported that 70 percent of global central banks are exploring the benefits of CBDCs.

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Nvidia Expects to Finish Selling Leftover Inventory From Crypto Bear Market by Q1 2019

Nvidia, which saw a massive drop in GPU sales due to the crypto bear market, is now confident it will sell out leftover inventory in Q1.

Major global chip maker Nvidia expects to complete sales of remaining inventory built up in expectation of crypto mining demand, according to a Bloomberg report on March 19.

The company is now working on selling the crypto-oriented inventory that remained unsold as the crypto bear market continues. The firm predicted that it would be able to sell the excess inventory by the end of the current quarter.

After Nvidia saw massive market growth amidst increased demand for crypto mining hardware from 2016 to 2018, the firm was hit hard by the extended crypto bear market, with its stock becoming the worst performer in the S&P 500 at the end of 2018.

Now, the California-headquartered computer hardware manufacturer said that it is still working through the stockpile of unsold inventory and remains confident that the company will be able to complete that effort, according to the firm’s Chief Financial Officer Colette Kress. Nvidia now also predicts that its revenue will be flat or slightly down from 2018 for fiscal year 2020.

The excess inventory, which was revealed following the release of Nvidia’s Q3 report last year, was characterized by CEO Jensen Huang as a “crypto hangover.” According to CNBC, Nvidia’s data segment failed to meet Wall Street expectations in 2018, even though its revenue grew by 58 percent.

According to Bloomberg, Huang is now trying to convince Wall Street that the company’s revenue will quickly improve upon a three-year surge once built-up inventory is bought up.

Major firms in the crypto mining industry were hit hard by the bear market. Chinese application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) producer, Bitmain, had to shut down some offices and lay off staff. The firm closed offices in both Israel and Amsterdam as part of an effort to reduce costs.

On March 5, Cointelegraph reported that revenues from mining major cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) started climbing after falling to their lowest levels in 18 months.

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Japanese Company Launches New Stablecoin Pegged to the US Dollar

A Japanese company has launched a ERC-20-compliant stablecoin that is pegged to the U.S. dollar and supported by major Ethereum crypto wallets.

A Japanese company has launched an ERC-20-compliant stablecoin that it says offers “absolute decentralization, maximum security and a reliable source of stability in the face of volatility.”

As its name suggests, USDDex is directly pegged to the United States dollar, helping traders to move their money into crypto without exposing themselves to the erratic price movements seen in other major digital assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The company believes that its stablecoin could become a viable alternative to fiat and trigger the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies, giving employers a safe way of paying their workers’ salaries while enabling consumers to make purchases with confidence.

USDDex firmly believes that 2019 is going to be the year of the stablecoin, citing research that suggests that the monthly trading volume of the first five such coins in the market has now exceeded $100 billion. Indeed, even major corporations are getting in on the action, with reports suggesting that Facebook is engaged in a top-secret project to launch its own.

The fixed rate of USDDex means that one of its tokens equates to $1. Adaptable to both centralized and decentralized exchanges, the firm says that its cryptocurrency is supported by most major Ethereum wallets, including MyEtherWallet, MetaMask, Ledger and Parity.

Presently, the company is also preparing to list on 20 exchanges, including HitBTC, Stellar, Bibox and Changelly.

Reliable and stable

The company says that every USDDex stablecoin is collateralized in excess, meaning that those who own this cryptocurrency are inoculated against wild price swings, irrespective of how the market behaves.

More than 800 trading pairs are also supported, enabling users to switch from Ethereum, Bitcoin, XRP, EOS, Litecoin and hundreds of others to USDDex with ease.

USDDex is available here

In a video explaining its vision, USDDex executives argue that stablecoins are essential if crypto is going to be used on a widespread basis, as right now, prominent coins and tokens only prove beneficial to speculative traders.

Ayako Nakamura, the company’s chief marketing officer, explained: “USDDex introduces the breakthrough technology and the possibility to develop an independent, transparent and potentially more stable monetary policy than ever before. The priority in the corporation is interaction with leading decentralized exchanges.

“The highest level of estimated reliability is provided by open-source code — proved by a repeated comprehensive security audit as well as open information of each USDDex token. Everyone can review this information.”

An experienced team

USDDex’s CEO and founder is Hitoshi Shibata. The entrepreneur — who is part of a working group on blockchain integration into Japan’s banking sector — started the business after leaving a 15-year career at Mizuho Financial Group. According to the company’s website, he “successfully developed and implemented complex economic projects for governmental and private organizations” while serving in this role. He believes that decentralized stablecoins are going to represent the next big breakthrough in the crypto industry — and in the past, he has invested in blockchain projects including 0x and Binance Coin.

He is joined by Naoki Sakamoto, the chief operating officer; Masaki Hatano, chief technology officer; Jiho Hong, chief information officer; and Ayako Nakamura as CMO. Tatsuo Okuda, Naoki Tamura and Satoko Kudo all serve in an advisory capacity.

The company raised funds in a closed round in December 2018, and says this initiative exceeded expectations after achieving its target in a matter of hours. An additional sale of limited amount of USDDex stablecoin with 45 percent bonus is launching on March 19, one month before the stablecoin is officially offered to the public. The company says its main goal “is the open and active participation of the crypto community in the life of the project.”

Learn more about USDDex

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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QuadrigaCX Co-Founder Michael Patryn Is Actually Convicted Criminal Omar Dhanani: Report

QuadrigaCX’s co-founder Michael Patryn is allegedly formerly known as Omar Dhanani, who operated a credit card fraud scheme in 2002.

A co-founder of controversial QuadrigaCX exchange was reportedly involved in multiple criminal activities in the past, Bloomberg reports on March 19.

Michael Patryn, who co-founded Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX along with Gerald Cotten in 2013, was previously known as Omar Dhanani, a person that was involved in multiple crimes in the United States, Bloomberg states.

$145 million in clients’ crypto assets was found to be missing from the QuadrigaCX exchange after its co-founder and CEO Cotten died at the age of 30 from complications of Crohn’s disease in December 2018. The exchange is now ongoing legal and financial proceedings amid the controversy over the missing funds, having appointed Ernst & Young as an independent monitor in its creditor protection case.

Patryn reportedly left QuadrigaCX in 2016, citing a fundamental disagreement with Cotten over the listing processes for the firm. According to Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail, Patryn and his partner, Lovie Horner, remain two of QuadrigaCX’s largest shareholders, although he has not had any involvement in the company’s operations since 2016.

While Patryn has recently denied the allegations that he and Dhanani are the same person, Bloomberg reportedly acquired official Canadian records saying that Patryn legally changed his name twice — first losing his last name, Dhanani and then replacing his first name, Omar — in 2003 and in 2008.

Dhanani, one of the alleged past identities of Patryn, was reportedly sentenced to 18 months in the U.S. federal prison for being involved in identity theft related to both bank and credit card fraud back in 2005. According to Bloomberg, 22-year-old Dhanani pleaded guilty to operating shadowcrew.com in 2002, a now-defunct marketplace that trafficked over 1.5 million stolen credit card and bank card numbers.

In 2007, Dhanani also admitted guilt in separate criminal cases for for burglary, grand larceny and computer fraud, Bloomberg reports, citing California state court records.

Per Bloomberg’s allegations, Patryn reinvented himself as a Bitcoin (BTC) entrepreneur after he was deported to Canada. According to Patryn’s LinkedIn profile, he is now based in Vietnam, and has been serving as founder and chairman at fintech Ventures Group (FVG), a Canada-based blockchain incubator.

Patryn provided few details about his 13-years working experience before QuadrigaCX on LinkedIn, only specifying that he worked in many digital currency-related firms from 1999 to 2013.

Recently, Cotten’s widow Jennifer Robertson revealed that Cotten was funding the exchange with his own money while it was in litigation with a major Canadian bank.

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US Payment Giant Visa Seeks Crypto and Blockchain Talent for Tech Product Manager

U.S. payment services giant Visa is looking to hire a person who will manage strategy for crypto-related opportunities.

American payment services firm Visa has published a crypto and blockchain-related job opening on San Francisco-based recruiting software firm SmartRecruiters on March 6.

Global financial services corporation Visa is seeking blockchain talent for the position of Technical Product Manager at Visa Fintech in their Palo Alto office. The person will be responsible for the execution of Visa’s product strategy within a cryptocurrency ecosystem, and will be required to manage the roadmap for crypto-related opportunities.

According to the job description, the person should be possess a functional knowledge of the crypto industry and major players involved, as well as in-depth knowledge of distributed ledger technology and a deep understanding of existing retail payment solutions. Familiarity with advanced cryptography will be preferred, the job description notes.

The individual will be working in close collaboration with the Visa Research team in order to develop new products to deliver value to Visa’s fintech initiative.

Last year, Visa CEO Al Kelly declared that cryptocurrencies do not pose a challenge to the company’s dominance in the payment sphere in the short- to medium-term. Kelly stated that crypto needs to move from being a commodity to really being a payment instrument before it can represent a real competitor to the traditional financial system.

In late 2018, Reuters reported that Visa is acquiring a partner of major cryptocurrency company Ripple, the entity which runs third biggest coin by market cap XRP. With the acquisition of Ripple’s international payments-focused firm Earthport, Visa reportedly intends to integrate Ripple’s protocol into the company’s existing payment network to boost cross-border transactions.

Recently, founder of crypto investment firm Morgan Creek Digital Assets suggested that major United States retailer Kroger should use the blockchain-enabled protocol Lightning Network as a payment system, following the brand’s decision to stop accepting Visa at some locations on March 1.

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Nasdaq Licences Its Market Surveillance Tech to Crypto Startup Bcause

Nasdaq has licensed U.S.-based crypto startup Bcause LLC to use its trading, clearing and market surveillance technology.

United States-based crypto startup Bcause LLC will use Nasdaq’s trading, clearing and market surveillance technology, Nasdaq announced in a press release today, March 13.

According to the announcement, Bcause will use the tech for its spot cryptocurrency market, set to launch via Nasdaq’s Financial Framework platform in the first half of 2019.

According to Nasdaq, the tech will let the company monitor its markets for manipulative activities and other types of suspicious conduct, therefore creating a more secure spot and derivatives market.

Fred Grede, CEO of Bcause, expects that the new crypto spot market will attract a broad range of users, including both experienced financial investors and crypto enthusiasts, who may be new to traditional markets.

Paul McKeown, senior vice president and Head of Marketplace Operators & New Markets at Nasdaq, further added:

“By leveraging the Nasdaq Financial Framework, Bcause will have the scalability and modular functionality to introduce new micro-services and expand its business offerings to meet industry demands and the evolution of the digital assets economy.”
The startup has reportedly applied for a license from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), aiming to become a designated contract market and to establish a derivatives clearing organization later.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, a total of seven crypto exchanges were using it market monitoring tech as of Jan. 31 this year. Before Bcause, just two of the collaborations had been publicized — the Winklevoss twins’ Gemini exchange and Vctrade, run by Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings.

Another digital exchange, which focuses on tokenizing traditional investment vehicles, uses a different technology protocol from Nasdaq — its Financial Information Exchange — to deliver its products.

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On-chain Crypto Lending: The Path to the Mainstream By Ricky Li, Co-Founder & Head of North America, Altonomy

On-chain Crypto Lending: The Path To The Mainstream.

One of the hottest topics in cryptocurrency right now is the potential ability for distributed ledger technology to transform the borrow and lending activities in traditional banking. This helps banks solve two major issues: application of legal actions and liquidity.

But “on-chain” technology could solve another essential, but less recognized, problem: credit.  In theory all the information is right in front of you on the blockchain, but the utopian world and the real world are two different things.

There remain some significant pain points that are holding back “on-chain” borrowing and lending from really taking off and entering the mainstream. I see the following three as the most critical:

  • Maturity of Technology — For lenders and borrowers, security and credit are the top considerations.  But since blockchain technology has not yet garnered complete trust with the average investor or traditional banks, people are often left questioning “How safe are these smart contracts?” and “Who audits them to ensure they are accurate and remain unchanged?”  
  • Lending and Borrowing Operations — As a process, lending and borrowing is paperwork-intensive. A lot of credit checks are required, and this is before any of the KYC / AML work is conducted to ensure money is coming through legal channels. Right now, we only have a partial solution comprised of on-chain lending coupled with third-party KYC processes that slow down and complicate the process. We need a full and trusted on-chain solution.  
  • Trading and Settlement — The question many are facing in the crypto market is, “How fast can you settle trades?”  Currently, most systems can manage a margin in 25 minutes, which is a lot of time in the crypto world where prices can move dramatically in a short period of time. It’s this lag time that causes concern, especially because collateral levels can be so high.  Only when the market is liquid enough can this issue be resolved.

So what’s necessary to get past these issues?

With these being three major impediments to mass adoption of on-chain lending, the question then becomes how to get past them.  When it comes to the maturity of technology and the safety of contracts, lenders need to be certain information will be safeguarded and clear from any hacking risks that could compromise them and the finances of their enterprise.  For the operational side of lending and borrowing including the KYC / AML process, technology solutions are certainly helping to streamline matters. For example, forms that pre-populate with publicly-available information would save significant time and money for everyone involved.  While these are all certainly very important, of the three hurdles to on-chain lending adoption, I look to trading and settlement as the greatest challenge to address.

To create a truly viable on-chain lending environment, there needs to be a trusted liquidity provider to help the lender manage margins and decrease exposure to market risk.  With better liquidity (an issue that’s certainly nothing new to crypto trading in general), the margin management process will be much more intensive, helping to increase margins and incentivize people and institutions to borrow and lend. And this all helps investors’ confidence in the solution.

The future for on-chain lending…

In time, on-chain lending will absolutely go mainstream. This is likely to happen in the next couple years and as we start to see the value of this adoption, there will be a significant inflection point. Enhanced products and technologies as well as operational efficiencies, aided by an improved regulatory landscape, should likely mean a bright future is ahead for on-chain lending.

There will no doubt be bumps in the road. But the same could be said of any major technology advancement.  Back in the initial “dot-com boom,” major players like eBay or Amazon might have outages driven by demand. Yet those days were not preliminary indications of failure, but rather high demand for a valuable  service. In these situations, the company or the industry as a whole learns, makes improvements and creates a better overall experience. The same will likely be true in on-chain lending. It won’t be necessarily a linear progression, but the overall trendline points in a positive direction. And this progress will benefit everyone involved.

About Ricky Li

Ricky Li is the Co-Founder of Altonomy, a cryptocurrency trading, advisory and asset management firm. Now based in New York, he is a veteran trader in the emerging cryptocurrency market and traditional commodities markets. Li has experience in commodities quantitative trading, and research and advisory in investment banks, energy firms and management consulting firms, including CME Group, where he managed the energy derivative product and published various articles and insights about market fundamentals. Prior to Altonomy, Li held a senior trading position at a top Asian crypto hedge fund. Li is a current Advisory Board Member for WePower and holds a CFA Charter and Ph.D in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering from Sichuan University.

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North American Seafood Firm to Use Blockchain Tech in Supply Chain

Bumble Bee Foods partnered with tech firm SAP to apply blockchain for tracing the supply chain of tuna from Indonesia.

North America’s largest branded shelf-stable seafood firm Bumble Bee Foods has launched a blockchain platform for seafood traceability. The project was created in collaboration with German tech company SAP specializing in enterprise software, according to a press release on March 8.

Based on SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain service, the new platform can purportedly monitor the supply chain of yellowfin tuna from Indonesia to end customers.

The announcement was made at the annual industry conglomerate South by Southwest Conference (SXSW) that is taking place from March 8 to March 17 in Austin, Texas, United States.

Customers will purportedly be able to observe the entire supply chain, and access information on products’ origins and shipping history by using a smart device to scan a QR code on the product package.

The blockchain-stored data will include the size of the catch, the point of capture, as well as information about authenticity, freshness, safety, and trade fishing certification.

Oliver Betz, global head and senior vice president of SAP Innovative Business Solutions, said that blockchain technology, “creates transparency and traceability across the food supply chain…”

Recently, French retail giant Carrefour applied blockchain technology for tracking its milk supply chain. Consumers will be able to see the GPS coordinates of farmers whose animals’ milk was collected, get information about when the milk was collected and packaged, as well as find out about various stakeholders involved in the product line.

In January, the Food and Drug Administration of the Chinese Chongqing Yuzhong District announced it will implement blockchain technology to improve monitoring of food and drug quality assurance.

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US State of Connecticut Introduces Bill to Authorize Smart Contract Use in Commerce

The Commerce Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly introduced a bill to authorize the use of smart contracts in business.

A committee of the Connecticut state legislature has proposed to authorize the use of smart contracts in commerce in the state, according to official documentation introduced on March 7.

The Commerce Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly (CGA) has introduced House Bill 7310, suggesting that blockchain-powered smart contracts may be used in commerce conducted or initiated in the United States state of Connecticut.

The committee elaborated that any cryptographic signature or a record secured through distributed ledger technology (DLT) should be considered to be in an electronic form and an electronic record.

The CGA Commerce Committee emphasized that no smart contract relating to a transaction should be denied a legal effect or validity only because it is processed through a smart contract rather than a traditional method to secure a transaction data.

A smart contract is a protocol designed to contribute, verify or implement the negotiation or performance of a contract. Blockchain-powered smart contracts allow parties to perform credible transactions directly, without third parties. Containing all the data about the contract terms, smart contract transactions are traceable and irreversible.

On March 6, the General Assembly of the U.S. state of Colorado introduced a bill on examining the possibility of applying blockchain technology in water rights management.

Earlier in February, Cointelegraph reported that two blockchain-related bills were passed in the U.S. state of Wyoming. Both bills, tokenization House Bill 185 and blockchain compliance-related bill, House Bill 74, were introduced in January this year and are set to be enforced later in 2019.

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Global Blockchain Spending Will Grow About 89% in 2019, New IDC Report Says

The financial sector will lead global spending in blockchain this year, according to new report from International Data Corporation.

Global blockchain spending will account for almost $2.9 billion in 2019, which is an 88.7 percent increase from 2018, according to a new report from United States-based market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC). Published on March 4, IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Blockchain Spending Guide provides analysis of blockchain developments in various segments.

According to the report, the financial sector will be the leading industry in terms of spending in blockchain development this year. Banking, securities, investment services and insurance services are forecasted to invest more than $1.1 billion out of the total global blockchain spending.

In turn, manufacturing and distribution services are predicted to see spending on blockchain amount to $653 million and $642 million respectively in 2019.

In terms of use cases, cross border settlements and trade finance are expected receive investments totalling $738 million, the report notes.

In geographic terms, the U.S. is set to see the largest blockchain spending of $1.1 billion, followed by Western Europe and China, which are predicted to invest $674 million and $319 million respectively.

Stacey Soohoo, Research Manager for IDC’s Customer Insights & Analysis team, said that 2019 will be a year of mainstream adoption, but will “rely heavily on reshaping the ideology of a blockchain revolution.”

IDC expects worldwide blockchain spending to see rapid growth between 2018 and 2022, with  a five-year compound annual growth rate of 76 percent, the new report says. The study forecasts that total global spending will amount to $12.4 billion in 2022.

Previously, IDC predicted that global blockchain spending would hit $9.7 in 2021 and $11.7 billion in 2022.

Recently, Big Four audit company KPMG published a survey claiming that 48 percent of C-level executives believe blockchain technology is likely to change the way they do business in the next three years.