Germany’s Second Largest Exchange Boerse Stuttgart Lists Short Bitcoin ETP

Germany’s Second Largest Exchange Boerse Stuttgart Lists Short Bitcoin ETP

When Bitcoin’s price falls, investors can still pocket gains with an ETP now listed on Germany’s second-largest stock exchange, Boerse Stuttgart

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

Investors looking to short Bitcoin (BTC) have a new option in Germany. On Feb. 25, Boerse Stuttgart — the country’s second-largest stock exchange — announced the listing of an exchange-traded product (ETP) that is inversely correlated to the cryptocurrency’s price swings.

Hedging against all scenarios

The inverse ETP is issued by crypto fund manager 21Shares, formerly known as Amun. The product offers investors a positive return whenever Bitcoin’s price falls — minus a daily management fee.

Already listed on Switzerland’s principal stock exchange SIX Swiss Exchange, the 21Shares Short Bitcoin ETP (SBTC) will reach an even wider investor base via Boerse Stuttgart, which last year reported trading volumes of 68.5 billion euro. 

Hany Rashwan, CEO of 21Shares, has claimed that “investors in Germany have demonstrated strong support for prior crypto offerings” and the firm is responding, though cautiously, to this strong demand.

SBTC, which trades in euro, is fully hedged 1:1 with the corresponding underlying asset and has been issued a WKN German securities identification code (WKN: A2781V).

21Shares has indeed rolled out a suite of derivatives tracking the value of Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), XRP, Binance Coin (BNB) and Tezos (XTZ), as well as a basket of currencies.

21Shares also confirmed today that its PD3 Prospectus Regulation for existing ETPs governed under Swiss law had been approved by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority. 

In a statement, 21Shares managing director said the approval represents a milestone for traditional investors and the crypto community, opening crypto-based ETP products to both retail and institutional clients in Germany and across Europe.

In a past interview with Cointelegraph, CEO Hany Rashwan had pointed to the “massive” demand for crypto derivatives, yet noted that many of the products that exist today remain in the form of options/futures and are “built mostly out of unregulated geographies.”

This situation, he argued, tends both to ward off institutional investors and to result in such complicated and management-intensive products that retail investors, too, are driven away.

Past offerings

Last year, 21Shares — then known as Amun — partnered with crypto asset manager Bitwise on another multi-crypto-based ETP, which tracks the performance of up to 10 cryptos, also for listing on SIX Swiss exchange.

Boerse Stuttgart has previously partnered with European digital publishing titan Axel Springer and Finanzen.net to jointly launch a blockchain-powered trading venue, having previously rolled out a zero-fee crypto trading app.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

When Bitcoin’s price falls, investors can still pocket gains with an ETP now listed on Germany’s second-largest stock exchange, Boerse Stuttgart

Exclusive: Chinese Group Looking to Buy One of Latin America’s Largest Bitcoin Mines

Exclusive: Chinese Group Looking to Buy One of Latin America’s Largest Bitcoin Mines

A Chinese group is in talks to buy CoinPY, one of the leading Bitcoin mining firms in Latin America

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

Rocelo Lopes, CEO of Stratum, CoinPY, and one of the leading names in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency market in Latin America, is negotiating the sale of Brazilian-owned, Paraguay-registered mining farm CoinPY, once a leading crypto company in Latin America.

According to exclusive information obtained by Cointelegraph, the negotiation is already advanced and the entire mining plant in Paraguay will be sold to a Chinese group that already operates similar farms in China.

Chinese miners concerned about tightening regulations

The group reportedly sought out Lopes for regulatory reasons, imagining a difficult scenario in China after the launch of any Chinese central bank digital currency (CBDC) that could cause a new wave of persecution in the cryptocurrency industry.

Tightening regulations cause Chinese miners to look elsewhere

The move follows other Chinese miners looking for alternative locations to set up operations, as the world’s leading Bitcoin mining region is Sichuan. The rainy season there runs from April to September, and many miners move operations to Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Yunnan during the dry season to take advantage of the energy generated by thermal power companies.

Like Paraguay, countries like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are attracting Chinese mining companies looking to house older and less-profitable equipment like Antiminer S9, E10 and M3. In farms in China, they would stick to more cutting-edge equipment for logistical reasons.

Changes in machinery and management

In the case of the sale of CoinPY to the Chinese, all equipment at the Brazil-registered, Paraguay-based mining farm will have to be removed, according to sources speaking to Cointelegraph under anonymity. This way, Lopes would have until the end of February to remove all the machines he has in his space.

As CoinPY hosted third-party machines, customers have been notified of the destination they wish to give the equipment, mostly the Antminer S9. The negotiations also involve letting the Chinese consult with CoinPY for up to 8 years, which involves not only aspects of mining but governmental and regulatory relationships as well.

With the progress toward purchasing CoinPY, the Chinese would have already shipped their equipment to Paraguay and closed some plants in China. Cointelegraph asked the businessman for more details, but did not receive an answer.

While talking about Bitcoin mining on a television program, Lopes recently pointed out that mining has become more professional and that halving would permanently kill the possibility of any mining that not being done on a large scale.

As Cointelegraph reported recently, a Bitcoin mining farm in China was closed and all machines were shut down due to the Coronavirus outbreak.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

A Chinese group is in talks to buy CoinPY, one of the leading Bitcoin mining firms in Latin America

Largest Japanese Consulting Firm to Launch New Cryptocurrency Index

Largest Japanese Consulting Firm to Launch New Cryptocurrency Index

Japanese consulting firm Nomura Research Institute and crypto company Intelligence Unit launched a tradable crypto index

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

Leading Japanese consulting firm Nomura Research Institute (NRI) partnered with cryptocurrency investment solution provider Intelligence Unit (IU) to launch a tradable cryptocurrency index.

According to a press release published on Jan. 29, the new index’s name is NRI/IO Crypto-Asset Index and it is meant for use by financial institutions. The index also draws data from crypto index platform MVIS and major cryptocurrency data platform CryptoCompare.

The dedicated website explains that the index is meant to cover global crypto markets in U.S. dollars and Japanese yen by tracking the largest cryptocurrencies. The index was designed for Japanese institutional investors with consideration for local availability and custody solutions.

A tradable index tracking five top cryptos

The NRI/IO Crypto-Asset Index is rebalanced monthly and tracks the performance of a pre-defined basket of crypto assets and will be tradable in dollars and yen on NRI’s platform. The index includes Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and XRP. IU CEO Akihiro Niimi commented on the launch:

“Strong demand from institutional investors is contributing to the growth of crypto-asset funds, and well-diversified products like index funds are attractive as alternative investments.”

Backtested performance statistics shown on the website claim that the year-to-date performance is 33.91%, the one-year performance is 104.86% and the three-year return is 2,211.26%. 

NRI is an affiliate of Japanese financial services giant Nomura Holdings, which has embraced blockchain technology and offers several services related to crypto assets. In October 2019, Nomura Holdings and popular Japanese messaging app Line announced a final capital alliance agreement focused on blockchain technology. 

In May 2018, Nomura rolled out cryptocurrency custodial services at its banks. The custody service aimed to address a perceived shortage of “safekeeping solutions” which were preventing traditional asset managers from building investment vehicles in the crypto ecosystem, according to Nomura. 

Crypto derivatives are on the rise

As cryptocurrencies become ever-more-widely recognized as an asset class, an increasing number of firms are developing derivatives giving exposure to their price fluctuations. As Cointelegraph reported last week, Swiss cryptocurrency financial firm Amun AG launched an exchange-traded product giving investors inverse exposure to Bitcoin on leading Swiss Exchange SIX.

Still, while many claim that there is a clear demand for cryptocurrency derivatives, recent statistics may show otherwise. As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, little more than a month after their launch, Bitcoin options contracts on the Intercontinental Exchange’s digital asset platform Bakkt appear to have seen sluggish uptake, with no new trades occurring over the past 11 days.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

Japanese consulting firm Nomura Research Institute and crypto company Intelligence Unit launched a tradable crypto index

Blockchain Developer Ant Financial Ranks Fifth Largest Private Firm in China

Blockchain Developer Ant Financial Ranks Fifth Largest Private Firm in China

Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial has been ranked the fifth most valuable private firm in China

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

Fintech and blockchain developer Ant Financial, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has been ranked the fifth most valuable private firm in China.

In an inaugural rankings report by Hurun, which is best known for compiling a rich list for China, Ant Financial is the top firm in its field and fifth largest in a ranking of all firms across industries.

Published on Jan. 9, the report reveals that Ant Financial has hit a market valuation of $143 billion, based on a closing price from Nov. 29, 2019. 

Alibaba ranked top of all private enterprises in the country, at a valuation of $545 billion, followed by WeChat operator Tencent Holdings, at $408 billion, and Ping An Insurance, at $215 billion.

Huawei, which has faced sanctions from the Trump administration and continues to come under pressure from the United States’ allegations it poses a threat to its national security, was ranked fourth at $172 billion.

Alibaba, Ant Financial and the blockchain

Notably, both China’s most valuable private firm, Alibaba, and its financial affiliate Ant Financial, have a strong involvement in the blockchain industry: in 2018 Alibaba had vied with IBM the top spot on a list ranking global entities by the number of blockchain-related patents filed to date.

Ant Financial, for its part, is poised to release an enterprise-focused “Ant Blockchain Open Alliance” platform this month, which aims to enable small-scale and micro-enterprises and developers to enter the industry at a lower cost.

It has previously launched a blockchain-as-a-service platform, having trialed its first-ever blockchain remittances in the summer of 2018, using its new blockchain-based electronic wallet cross border remittance service.

Top 10 firms have seen an eightfold rise in value over the last decade

The Hurun report is testament to the extraordinary growth of China’s private sector, revealing that the top 10 private enterprises in China now have a total valuation of $1.8 trillion, as compared with $700 billion five years ago and $215 billion a decade back.

As the Alibaba-owned English-language newspaper South China Morning Post (SCMP) notes in a report on Harun’s data, Alibaba — were it categorized as an economic entity by the IMF — would be ranked as the 10th largest gross domestic product globally, outstripping Canada. 

After four decades of liberalizing market reforms under the banner of “Socialism with Chinese characteristics,” the private sector now contributes half of the nation’s tax revenue and supplies 80% of its job, SCMP writes.

The paper further revealed that the Chinese central government pledged to “forge a better environment to support private businesses” in a 28-point plan released on Dec. 22 2019.

A technology arms race

On Jan. 8, Cointelegraph reported that China’s nationwide blockchain network, the Blockchain-based Ser­vice Net­work, will launch in April 2020, six months after it was rolled out for testing.

Development of a government-backed digital currency at the People’s Bank of China is progressing smoothly, according to the latest update from the central bank.

Both projects attest to the breadth and depth of the state’s commitment to blockchain development, as endorsed by President Xi Jinping at a Politburo Committee session in late October last year.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial has been ranked the fifth most valuable private firm in China

Oman’s Largest Port Joins IBM’s Blockchain Shipping Platform TradeLens

Oman’s Largest Port Joins IBM’s Blockchain Shipping Platform TradeLens

Oman’s largest port joins IBM’s blockchain-based TradeLens platform to improve trade flow

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

On Jan. 8 the Times of Oman reported that the Port of Salalah joined TradeLens, the blockchain-based supply chain platform launched in 2018 by shipping giant Maersk and IBM. 

An IBM spokesperson told Cointelegraph the addition of the Port of Salalah puts TradeLens at more than 90 ports and terminals, with over 150 participants in total on the platform. 

According to the Times, The Port of Salalah is Oman’s largest port, handling a record number of 4 million shipping containers per year. The port reportedly joins TradeLens as part of its digital initiative to enhance customer experience while ensuring a global, transparent standard for collaboration with other entities in the supply chain ecosystem. 

TradeLens, which is powered by IBM’s blockchain technology, enables multiple trading partners to collaborate. The platform provides a real-time, shared view of shipping transactions and data across a permissioned blockchain network. This creates transparency and efficient collaboration for all entities involved, including shippers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators, inland transportation and customs authorities. 

The Times notes that joining the platform provides special purpose ships and its customers the ability to securely provide end-to-end supply chain information, seamless data sharing and new avenues for collaboration. As a result, this will improve trade flows through the port. 

Mark Hardiman, the Chief Executive Officer of Port of Salalah explained:

“Adopting and incorporating blockchain technology into all aspects of the supply chain will not only enhance the attractiveness of Salalah for these companies but also support the development of new business models that can further leverage the geographical location of Salalah.”

TradeLens, which processes over 10 million shipping events weekly, has gained significant traction since the platform was launched in 2018. One of the largest international terminals in Cai Mep Vietnam, CMIT, recently joined the platform to promote Vietnam’s foreign trade investment. 

TradeLens also received an antitrust exemption from the US Federal Maritime Commission to allow shippers to publish and subscribe to event data on cargo moving through a supply chain. This exemption also authorizes APis and user interfaces to enable the viewing of event data, milestones, documents, and to manage user permissions. Without this, the discussion of how documents might be used on the platform would be considered illegal.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

Oman’s largest port joins IBM’s blockchain-based TradeLens platform to improve trade flow

SBI, GMO Reportedly Sign Deal with Operator of World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Site

SBI, GMO Reportedly Sign Deal with Operator of World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Site

Japanese financial services giant SBI and internet provider GMO have reportedly agreed to process crypto transactions at what is set to become the world’s largest mining site

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

The operator of what is set to become the world’s largest Bitcoin (BTC) mining facility has reportedly signed a deal with Japanese financial services giant SBI and internet provider GMO.

A Jan. 7 BNN Bloomberg report claims that the two Japanese mega-firms have agreed in principle to process cryptocurrency transactions at a new mining facility — of unprecedented scale — now being developed in Rockdale, Texas.

The facility will be operated by Whinstone Inc., a subsidiary of the Frankfurt-based Northern Bitcoin AG.

Whinstone — which has been operating since 2014 and has its own mining sites across the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States — merged with Northern Bitcoin in November 2019 as the latter geared up to construct what is being slated as “the largest data center in North America and the largest Bitcoin mining facility in the world,” on an area of ​​over 40 hectares.

Neither SBI nor GMO immediately responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment to confirm the partnership.

Texas: an emergent global mining hub

Northern Bitcoin AG’s new site will reportedly launch operations with an initial capacity of 300 megawatts, expected to hit 1 gigawatt by the close of 2020.

This would outstrip by almost three times the capacity of what is currently held to be the world’s largest crypto mining site, operated by China’s Bitmain Technologies Ltd. and situated on the former Alcoa aluminum smelter, also in Rockdale.

Alcoa, which closed in 2008, had been at the epicenter of the town’s once-thriving aluminum industry in the 1950s, and a key driver of population and economic growth, together with the nearby Sandow Power Plant, which shuttered in early 2018.

As per Mike McGlone, a senior commodity strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence, an inflow of large cryptocurrency miners is now flocking to Texas, drawn by its abundance of cheap and renewable energy sources, particularly wind.

Wind-power accounted for over 20% of Texas’ electricity generation in 2019 and is expected to overtake coal for the first time this year, BloombergNEF data indicates.

Alongside Northern Bitcoin AG, U.S. mining startup Layer1 — backed by Peter Thiel and Digital Currency Group — is planning to set up a proprietary power sub-station on the plains of West Texas to generate solar and wind energy for its Bitcoin mining operations.

Investors remain bullish

On the heels of a volatile year for the cryptocurrency markets, McGlone commented on news of SBI and GMO’s reported involvement in the new mining site, observing that:

“Bitcoin is attracting more institutional investors and with the notion of limited supply and mass adoption — Bitcoin is winning this race.”

SBI, for its part, has taken a diverse, rather than maximalist, strategy as regards digital assets: it has a history of close involvement with XRP and Ripple, recently revealing it is considering the possibility of paying shareholder dividends in the token.

It also continues to work as part of the joint venture SBI Ripple Asia, which was formed to promote XRP’s usage in Asian financial markets in 2016.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

Japanese financial services giant SBI and internet provider GMO have reportedly agreed to process crypto transactions at what is set to become the world’s largest mining site

Litecoin ‘Largest Miner Capitulation’ Great News for Bitcoin — Analyst

Litecoin ‘Largest Miner Capitulation’ Great News for Bitcoin — Analyst

Willy Woo is eyeing Litecoin technicals for hints that Bitcoin could soon enter a bullish phase

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

Bitcoin (BTC) could have its bull market induced by Litecoin (LTC) as the latter enters a bullish renaissance, noted statistician Willy Woo has forecast.

In a series of tweets on Jan. 6, Woo, well known in crypto circles as the creator of data resource Woobull, highlighted an upturn in Litecoin’s fortunes in recent weeks.

Woo: Litecoin difficulty “in recovery”

Specifically, it is the altcoin’s mining difficulty that has begun rising once more after more than six months of decline.

The difficulty is a measure of how much computing effort is required to process transactions on a cryptocurrency’s blockchain. A drop in price can make miners retire due to low profitability, which triggers a drop in difficulty. This, in turn, has implications for network security.

Litecoin difficulty vs. price, 2011-present. Source: Woobull

Litecoin difficulty vs. price, 2011-present. Source: Woobull

Woo said the second half of 2019 was “the largest miner capitulation LTC has ever faced.” Data from Woobull confirms difficulty dropping from over 16 million last July to just 4.7 million in mid-December.

Since then, the difficulty has begun improving, currently standing at 5.1 million. This, Woo says, could not only produce a bull run for Litecoin but spill over to fuel the already bubbling Bitcoin market.

“Litecoin Difficulty Ribbon now in recovery,” he wrote in further comments, adding:

“Should set up a bullish breakout of the bearish channel. I wouldn’t be surprised if LTC leads a bullish breakout of BTC.”

LTC major gains yet to appear

Litecoin launched in 2011 as a hard fork of the Bitcoin Core client and is currently the sixth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

Despite losing considerably in the altcoin collapse of 2018, the coin’s performance improved in 2019. As Cointelegraph reported, LTC/USD jumped from $32 to $141 in the first half of the year — frontrunning Bitcoin’s own leg-up that began on Apr. 1.

In November, Cointelegraph contributor Keith Wareing forecast “significant” incoming gains for LTC holders. In the event, markets hit $61 before declining to $37 before Christmas. At press time, Litecoin traded at $45 on 1.3% daily gains, modest compared to Bitcoin’s 5.5%.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

Willy Woo is eyeing Litecoin technicals for hints that Bitcoin could soon enter a bullish phase

BitMEX Cryptocurrency Exchange Holds 0.18% of All Bitcoins in Circulation

BitMEX Cryptocurrency Exchange Holds 0.18% of All Bitcoins in Circulation

The world’s largest crytpocurrency exchange BitMEX now holds 0.18% of all mined bitcoins

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

BitMEX, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume to date, now holds 0.18% of all Bitcoins (BTC) in circulation. 

In a Dec. 26 tweet, James Lopp, CTO at New York-based crypto custody startup Casa, also pointed out that BitMEX’s dedicated insurance fund has surged 62% in 2019.

BitMEX holds 33,449 Bitcoins out the 18.1 million mined to date

According to daily historical records of BitMEX Insurance Fund, the balance of the fund has grown from 20,776 BTC on Jan. 1, 2019 to 33,449 BTC on Dec. 26, worth around $239 million at press time.

As such, the world’s top Bitcoin exchange now owns nearly 0.2% of all 18.1 million bitcoins mined to date.

Bitcoin in BitMEX Insurance Fund (January–December 2019)

Bitcoin in BitMEX Insurance Fund (January–December 2019). Source: Twitter

BitMEX Insurance Fund is used to alleviate unfilled liquidation orders

The BitMEX Insurance Fund is used by the crypto exchange to avoid auto-deleveraging in traders’ positions and alleviate unfilled liquidation orders before they are taken over by the auto-deleveraging system. 

According to the firm, the growth of the fund provides a significant level of assurance to winning traders that they will be able to attain their expected profits, at the same time limiting the downside liability for losing traders.

Essentially, BitMEX uses its dedicated insurance fund to cover losses in case trading losses exceed traders’ deposits.

Crypto exchanges continue to accumulate Bitcoin

While the amount of Bitcoin owned by BitMEX continues to grow, there is a similar trend on other major crypto exchanges including major crypto exchange Binance. As reported by Cointelegraph, as much as 7% of the entire circulating supply of Bitcoin was held in the wallets of eight cryptocurrency exchanges in October 2019.

According to the blockchain data provider Token Analyst, major global crypto exchanges such as Poloniex, Kraken, Bitstamp, Bittrex, Bitfinex, BitMEX, Binance, and Huobi have continued to accumulate crypto in 2019 and were the “biggest HODLers” as of October.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

The world’s largest crytpocurrency exchange BitMEX now holds 0.18% of all mined bitcoins

Largest South Korean Telecom Company Issues Blockchain-Based Local Currency in Busan

Largest South Korean Telecom Company Issues Blockchain-Based Local Currency in Busan

Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city in cooperation with telecom giant KT plans to release a blockchain-based local currency by Dec. 30.

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

South Korea’s biggest telecom company, KT, just announced the launch of a local blockchain-based currency for one of the country’s largest cities, which will reportedly go live on Dec. 30. 

Local news outlet dongA reported on Dec. 19:

“Dongbaekjeon is a blockchain-based card-type local currency issued by Busan City to revitalize Busan’s local economy and ease the management burden of small business.”

The media outlet listed multiple ways to access the currency, including a Dongbaekjeon mobile app, a bank named Hana and Busan Bank. 

The article also noted participants can use the “currency at any store in Busan with a credit card terminal,” although compatibility will reportedly be less common among larger retailers in an effort to encourage spending at smaller local businesses. 

Busan’s government inked an agreement with telecom company KT earlier this year in February for the building of the blockchain-based asset set to hit South Korea’s second largest city, media outlet Decrypt detailed in a news report.   

Yoo Yong-gyu, KT’s business center director for blockchain, told Decrypt:

“With our know-how of operating a regional currency and blockchain security, KT will work towards establishing Dongbaek Currency and contributing to the growth of Busan’s economy.”

Earlier in 2019, Cointelegraph detailed Busan’s interest in developing a crypto asset in a July article.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city in cooperation with telecom giant KT plans to release a blockchain-based local currency by Dec. 30.

R3’s Marco Polo Runs Largest Trade Finance Trial With Over 70 Members

R3’s Marco Polo Runs Largest Trade Finance Trial With Over 70 Members

R3’s trade finance network Marco Polo completes its largest trade finance trial involving more than 70 firms

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

The Marco Polo Network, a trade finance network co-developed by major enterprise blockchain firm R3, has completed its largest finance trial.

Built on R3’s open-source blockchain platform Corda, Marco Polo has hosted the largest global trade finance trial that involved over 70 organizations from 25 countries including financial giants like Japanese SBI Holdings, according to an official announcement on Dec. 12.

100% of respondents in the trial believe that blockchain has the potential to improve their industries

As the trial has involved more than 340 participants from multiple industries ranging from financial services to automotive, the joint initiative purportedly intends to improve trade finance and working capital solutions in a number of industries. Other industries included telecoms, logistics, maritime, real estate, and hospitality.

100% of respondents surveyed as part of the pilot claim that trade finance and working capital tools based on blockchain have the potential to accelerate the receivables discounting process and reduce costs for both banks and corporates. Meanwhile, 75% of respondents believe that this will happen within five years, the press release notes.

Marco Polo co-developer TradeIX provided working capital applications for the trial

The Marco Polo Network-based blockchain open account trade finance trial deployed working capital applications developed by Irish tech firm TradeIX with a focus on the receivables finance solution. Also known as factoring or receivables discounting, receivables finance is a type of receivables purchase that enables firms to optimize their working capital, mitigate credit risks and improve liquidity. The trial took place over a seven-week period.

Banks participating in the joint trial included major Dutch bank ABN AMRO, Mexican banking and financial services firm Banorte, Citizens Bank, Commerzbank AG, SBI Holdings, the Bank of East Asia and the Saudi British Bank. Other participants included major German carmaker BMW, SBI R3 Japan, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, Japanese general trading company Sumitomo Corporation, and financial services institute SüdFactoring, which is a subsidiary of German bank Landesbank Baden-Württemberg.

Munetoshi Yamada, director of business development at SBI Holdings and SBI R3 Japan, expressed confidence that Marco Polo will change the “traditional bank-corporate relationship in an innovative way to make the real multi-bank platform happen.”

As reported, Marco Polo is a consortium of major global financial and banking institutions aiming to streamline international trade. Launched in 2017, the  Marco Polo Network is a collaboration of R3 and TradeIX, and comprises of 31 members to date, including financial firms like French BNP Paribas, Dutch ING Japanese MUFG, Bank of America and French Credit Agricole.

In late November 2019, Marco Polo was joined by major American banking and financial services firm, the Bank of New York Mellon.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

R3’s trade finance network Marco Polo completes its largest trade finance trial involving more than 70 firms

Russia: Darknet Marketplace Plans $149M ICO for Global Expansion

Russia: Darknet Marketplace Plans $149M ICO for Global Expansion

The largest darknet marketplace in Russia planning a $146 million token sale to fund its global aspirations

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

Russia’s largest darknet marketplace is looking to raise $146 million in a token offering that would allow it to go global. 

As Forklog reported on Dec. 11, the token sale is almost certainly illegal — in this case not merely for flouting securities laws or other financial regulations. 

“A new era in the West”

The operators of the marketplace, known as “Hydra,” have ambitions to roll out their model of anonymized, rogue trading for illicit substances at a massive scale. An investment memorandum, accessible only via dark web browsers like Tor, claims the platform’s global  expansion “will start a new era in the West” at a scale that is “hard to imagine.”

Hydra provides an anonymous service, whereby couriers disperse purchased goods to designated, concealed spots in public spaces, later to be collected by the client. Neither buyer, seller nor courier ever cross paths in person. 

The operators plan to use the funds to build out a new service “Eternos” — combining encrypted messaging services, a privacy-focused browser, automated dispute resolution and an over-the-counter marketplace and crypto exchange.  

Scheduled for Dec. 16, the token sale will offer investors bundles of 100 tokens, conferring rights to a 0.003% share of company profits. The tokens are valued at $100 apiece, payable in Bitcoin (BTC).

Issuance is set at 1,470,000 tokens, accounting for 49% of Eternos’ value and pledging $500 in monthly dividends for those purchasing more than 100 tokens. Forklog has warned readers the project may turn out to be an exit-scam.

The numbers are based on a forecast of $15 million monthly revenue, which the operators justify citing their current growth metrics. 

Hydra claims it has a user base of over 3 million, processing over 100,000 transactions daily for illicit substances, hacking services, forged documents, stolen data and cash. 

As of June 2019, Russian investigative site Proekt confirmed that Hydra had 2.5 million registered accounts, 393,000 of which had made at least one purchase.

Dark predecessors

The crypto industry’s most infamous darknet marketplace remains Silk Road, which launched in February 2011 before being shut down by the authorities in October 2013.

Its founder Ross Ulbricht — aka “Dread Pirate Roberts”  — was arrested and sentenced to life in prison in 2015, convicted of money laundering and aiding in the distribution of drugs, computer hacking and fraud, among other charges.

In 2017, U.S. authorities shuttered the major darkweb marketplace Alphabay, through which vendors had purportedly hawked fentanyl, heroin, weapons, malware and a series of Bitcoin-related heists.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

The largest darknet marketplace in Russia planning a $146 million token sale to fund its global aspirations

Texas-Based Data Center CyrusOne Hit by Ransomware Attack

Texas-Based Data Center CyrusOne Hit by Ransomware Attack

One of the largest data centers in the U.S., CyrusOne, has reportedly been exposed to an attack from the REvil (Sodinokibi) ransomware

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

Texas-based data center provider CyrusOne has reportedly fallen victim to an attack from REvil (Sodinokibi) ransomware, business tech-focused publication ZDNet reported on Dec. 5.

One of the largest data centers in the United States, CyrusOne has reportedly been exposed to an attack by a variant of the REvil (Sodinokibi) ransomware, which previously hit a number of service providers, local governments and businesses in the country.

Just business

Per the ransom note obtained by ZDNet, the attackers targeted CyrusOne’s network, with the sole objective of receiving a ransom. Those behind the attack claimed in the note that they consider the attack nothing more than a business transaction, aimed exclusively at profiting.

In the event the company does not cooperate with the attackers, it will purportedly lose the affected data as the cybercriminals claim to have the private key.

At press time, CyrusOne has not responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment. This story will be updated with their comments should the company respond.

To pay or not to pay?

This spring, Riviera Beach, Florida, was hit by a hacker attack, in which the hackers allegedly encrypted government records, blocking access to critical information and leaving the city without an ability to accept utility payments other than in person or by regular mail. The city council eventually agreed to pay nearly $600,000 worth of Bitcoin (BTC) to regain access to data encrypted in the attack.

In late October, hackers compromised the website of the city of Johannesburg, South Africa, and demanded ransom in Bitcoin. The breach affected several customer-facing systems — hardware or software customers interact with directly, such as user interfaces and help desks. The city authorities refused to pay the ransom.

Meanwhile, a number of Finnish cities and organizations are rehearsing how to respond when a group of hackers demands the participants pay ransomware during a series of simulated cyberattacks.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

One of the largest data centers in the U.S., CyrusOne, has reportedly been exposed to an attack from the REvil (Sodinokibi) ransomware

Largest Indian State to Pilot Blockchain-Based Solar Energy Trading

Largest Indian State to Pilot Blockchain-Based Solar Energy Trading

The largest state in India, Uttar Pradesh, and Power Ledger have partnered to launch a P2P renewable energy trading project

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) will pilot a peer-to-peer (P2P) solar power trading project in partnership with Australian blockchain energy company Power Ledger.

The state power utility UP Power Corporation Limited and UP New and Renewable Energy Development Agency have partnered with Power Ledger to launch a trial of P2P solar energy trading to examine its practicability, according to a Nov. 28 press release. The first phase of the project is set to be completed by March 2020.

During the trial, Power Ledger will integrate its blockchain-based platform with smart meter systems to enable residents with rooftop solar infrastructure to set prices, track energy trading and settle surplus solar energy transactions via smart contracts. 

One of the main problems facing renewable energy sources is storing surplus energy when unpredictable elements like wind and sun create more or less power than is needed. As such, the project aims to make it easier for small producers to find users for surplus energy and make renewable sources more viable. 

Once the pilot is completed, Power Ledger will examine the results and purportedly work with the local government to tailor regulations that further enable P2P energy trading. 

Photovoltaic solar capacity in Uttar Pradesh — the largest state in India with a population of nearly 200 million — is set to expand in order to meet growing energy demands. In 2017, the state had 12,500 megawatts of photovoltaic power generation capacity.

India’s forward-thinking approach to blockchain

Power Ledger has previously worked on P2P renewable energy trading in India. Earlier this month, the firm announced that it completed a trial in the Dwarka region, South West Delhi. Similar to the pilot project in Uttar Pradesh, the trial in Dwarka aimed to give participants access to cheaper, renewable energy and let solar infrastructure owners monetize their surplus energy.

India has proved itself as a jurisdiction with a proactive approach toward blockchain adoption. On Nov. 27, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said that it recognizes the potential of blockchain technology and the need for the development of a shared infrastructure to carry out related use cases. The Ministry added that it is working on a “National Level Blockchain Framework.”


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

The largest state in India, Uttar Pradesh, and Power Ledger have partnered to launch a P2P renewable energy trading project

Bitcoin ATM Firm Partners With Largest Shopping Mall Operator in US

Bitcoin ATM Firm Partners With Largest Shopping Mall Operator in US

The largest shopping mall operator in the United States, Simon Malls, has partnered with Bitstop to install Bitcoin ATMs at some of its locations

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

Miami-based Bitcoin (BTC) automatic teller machines (ATM) firm Bitstop has partnered with the largest shopping mall operator in the United States, Simon Malls, to install Bitcoin ATMs at several locations. 

BitStop announced on Nov. 26 that the firm has already installed Bitcoin ATMs at five Simon Malls locations in California, Florida and Georgia. Bitstop co-founder and CEO Andrew Barnard said that the machines were installed ahead of the holiday season:

“With the strategic timing of this new installation of Bitcoin ATMs at Simon Mall locations, customers can conveniently buy Bitcoin while doing their Black Friday and Christmas holiday shopping.”

Bitsop, which claims to be licensed and regulated, plans to grow its teller machine network by over 500 locations by the end of 2020, according to Barnard.

The new partnership builds on the firm’s previous installation of a Bitcoin ATM at the Miami International Airport, which it announced in mid-October. 

Global Bitcoin ATM network grows

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, the number of Bitcoin ATMs installed worldwide surpassed a new milestone. Data at the time showed that there were over 6,000 such machines worldwide, over 65% of which are in the United States.

Still, authorities are increasingly wary of such services. The United States Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Chief John Fort, for instance, recently said that the regulator is looking into potential tax issues caused by Bitcoin ATMs and kiosks.

In addition to possible tax issues, Fort claimed that the operators of crypto kiosks should be obliged to follow the same Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering rules as other cryptocurrency-related businesses.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

The largest shopping mall operator in the United States, Simon Malls, has partnered with Bitstop to install Bitcoin ATMs at some of its locations

Bitcoin Mining Firms Merge to Build World’s Largest Purported Mining Farm in 2020

Bitcoin Mining Firms Merge to Build World’s Largest Purported Mining Farm in 2020

Bitcoin mining firms Northern Bitcoin and Whinstone are merging and plan to jointly build the world’s largest mining farm

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

German Bitcoin (BTC) mining firm Northern Bitcoin has entered a merger agreement with United States-based competitor Whinstone to jointly build what will supposedly be world’s largest mining farm.

According to a Northern Bitcoin press release published on Nov. 18, Whinstone is already building the aforementioned facility which is expected to have a capacity of one gigawatt on an area of over 100 acres in Texas. The mining farm in question will allegedly be the largest data center in North America.

A quick construction plan

The first phase of the construction — which is expected to conclude in Q1 2020 — will already have a capacity of 300 megawatts. Construction is expected to be completed in Q4 2020.

The first two clients that will take advantage of the upcoming facility will reportedly be two publicly traded corporations that will use a significant portion of its capacity for Bitcoin mining. Still, after its completion, the data center will also allow for the acceleration of video rendering and artificial intelligence applications.

Northern Bitcoin is a stock-traded company founded last year that specializes in sustainable Bitcoin mining. The firm operates a mining farm on renewable energy in Norway.

The idea of placing the world’s largest mining facility in the U.S. is interesting, given that China has so far been at the forefront of the cryptocurrency mining industry and hosts many of the leading companies of the industry, such as Bitmain.

According to a recent analysis, low power costs in addition to access to cheap hardware make China a competitive destination for cryptocurrency mining operations, despite the country’s legal environment.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

Bitcoin mining firms Northern Bitcoin and Whinstone are merging and plan to jointly build the world’s largest mining farm

Canada’s Largest Bank Mulls Crypto Exchange After Bitcoin Ban — Report

Canada’s Largest Bank Mulls Crypto Exchange After Bitcoin Ban — Report

Canada bank allegedly U-turns on crypto

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

A Canadian bank, which banned its clients from buying Bitcoin (BTC), could now become the first in the country to launch a cryptocurrency exchange

As innovation economy news outlet The Logic reported on Nov. 11, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is now rumored to be considering the plans.

RBC reportedly planning multifunctional exchange

RBC is the largest bank in Canada by market capitalization, with $660 billion in assets under management. 

According to The Logic, the bank is entertaining the possibility for the exchange to function both for investments and allowing clients to make purchases online and in brick-and-mortar stores.

The news follows a previous report that Canada’s central bank wanted to use digital currency in order to better track consumer spending habits. 

“The trading platform would facilitate buying and selling of individual digital coins, including Bitcoin and Ether (ETH), as well as the transfer of funds combining different types of cryptocurrencies,” the publication summarized.

Bitcoin purchases “not allowed”

While little detailed information is currently available, the move would run conspicuously in contrast to RBC’s current modus operandi on cryptocurrencies. Last year, the bank abruptly banned clients purchasing Bitcoin or altcoins with credit and debit cards.

“Effective immediately, RBC will no longer be allowing the use of RBC credit cards for transactions involving cryptocurrency. We regret any inconvenience this may cause,” a notice stated at the time. 

Other Canadian banks had previously done likewise, including TD Bank and Bank of Montreal

Nonetheless, attention has since focused on how authorities will handle the fallout from QuadrigaCX, a local cryptocurrency exchange that imploded in late 2018. While recovery of lost funds is ongoing, users lost a total of around $190 million in deposits.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

Canada bank allegedly U-turns on crypto

Largest American Food Coop to Pilot Mastercard’s Blockchain Tech

Largest American Food Coop to Pilot Mastercard’s Blockchain Tech

Major American food coop Topco will use a blockchain platform for its food supply chains based on Mastercard’s Provenance Solution

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

Topco Associates, the largest American retail food group purchasing organization, will pilot Mastercard’s blockchain tech in its operations. 

According to a press release on Oct. 27, Topco will test a traceability platform developed by logistics firm Envisible. The Wholechain platform is based on Mastercard’s blockchain-based Provenance Solution. 

Topco will use the platform to trace the provenance of produce, meat and seafood. 

Blockchain provides transparency for food supply chains

Blockchain technology has found widespread application in the food industry with multiple high-profile companies. 

Major American retailer Walmart began using blockchain tech to track Indian shrimp supply chains earlier this month. This is reportedly the first time that the technology has been used to track shrimp from the country. Walmart China started tracking food through its supply chain with VeChain’s Thor blockchain in June. 

The retailer previously stated that blockchain technology allows the firm to more quickly recall products in the event of a possible health issue. 

In August, Switzerland’s largest supermarket chain and retailer Migros announced that it would use TE-Food’s blockchain-based food traceability system for its products. 

Blockchain can help food supply chains, but standards are needed

Cointelegraph recently reported that Alex Manders, the head of blockchain solutions at Information Services Group (ISG), has urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to offer clear guidance on blockchain apps to improve food safety.

At an FDA public meeting called „A New Era of Smarter Food Safety,“ Manders said that the regulatory body should introduce clear guidelines on how to use blockchain safely in food supply chains. 

ISG states that the main challenges facing blockchain adoption in food supply chains are non-technical i.e. a complete unawareness of existing blockchain infrastructure including collaboration models and vendors. 


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

Major American food coop Topco will use a blockchain platform for its food supply chains based on Mastercard’s Provenance Solution

Bitmain Launches ‘World’s Largest’ Bitcoin Mining Facility in Texas

Bitmain Launches ‘World’s Largest’ Bitcoin Mining Facility in Texas

Major crypto mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain has launched the purportedly largest facility for Bitcoin mining in the world, in Rockdale, Texas

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

Chinese cryptocurrency hardware manufacturer Bitmain has opened what it claims is the “world’s largest” facility for Bitcoin (BTC) mining, in Rockdale, Texas. 

In a press release published on Oct. 21, Bitmain revealed the project had been completed together with the Rockdale Municipal Development District and Canadian technology firm DMG Blockchain Solutions.

Pledges to boost the local economy

The press release places a strong emphasis on working with the local economy of Rockdale, which is located in Milam County, east of Austin, in the United States state of Texas.

The facility — currently developed to a current 25MW capacity, with a 50MW facility remaining under construction — sits on a 33,000-acre site and can expand to a capacity of over 300MW in the future. 

The site is reportedly owned by the Aluminum Company of America, Alcoa, and formerly served as the location for a smelter.

DMG, which is to provide hosting and management services for the Texas facility, will cooperate with Bitmain to expand the facility’s capacity and ensure the efficiency of the site’s mining operations.

Both firms will work closely to establish the facility’s on-ground team together with the local workforce commission, the Rockdale MDD.

Bitmain says it is committed to seeking local Rockdale suppliers to support the ongoing construction work and will also purchase energy directly from Rockdale’s electric grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

Aside from supporting the local economy, Bitmain also plans to launch educational programs and training on blockchain technology and mining data center operations, together with the Rockdale school district. 

“Significant” for Bitmain’s global expansion plans

As previously reported, Bitmain’s plans for its Texas site was first announced in Aug. 2018.

At the time, Bitmain said it expected to create 400 local jobs in the first two years, quoting $500 million as its total planned investment into the economy over an initial period of seven years.

This January, local reports alleged that the project was being downscaled, with reports of staff layoffs and suspended operations. Adverse market conditions were thought to be the reason for the purported cooling-off.

Clinton Brown, Rockdale Lead Project Manager for Bitmain, has today said the facility’s launch is “significant to Bitmain’s global expansion plans” and that the state’s stable and efficient energy resources will be fundamental to supporting what he believes is set to be the inevitable scale of growth of the mining industry.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

Major crypto mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain has launched the purportedly largest facility for Bitcoin mining in the world, in Rockdale, Texas

Broadway’s Biggest Ticket Operator to Use IBM Blockchain Against Scams

Broadway’s Biggest Ticket Operator to Use IBM Blockchain Against Scams

Broadway’s largest ticket operator, the Shubert Organization, has partnered with a blockchain startup to verify ticket authenticity

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

Broadway’s largest ticket operator, the Shubert Organization, is integrating a blockchain solution into its business in a forthcoming pilot targeted at combating ticket fraud.

The organization, via its Telecharge and Shubert Ticketing division, has partnered with Boston-based startup True Tickets, which offers an IBM blockchain-powered mobile ticketing solution. News of the partnership was revealed in an Oct. 16 report from Fast Company.

Combating ticket fraud with blockchain

True Tickets, which was selected to take part in this summer’s inaugural Broadway Tech Accelerator, will see its digital ticketing service integrated into components of the organization’s ticket sales businesses, including Telecharge.com and its group discounts service Broadway Inbound.

True Tickets CEO Matt Zarracina has said the pilot enables the startup to implement its blockchain solution for the benefit of clients as part of a “massive multichannel marketplace.”

As Fast Company notes, Broadway — as many entertainment industries — is plagued by ticketing scams, such as the resale of fake or duplicate tickets. Therefore, it is hoped that blockchain can go some way toward restoring transparency for businesses and consumers.

Prior initiatives

In fall 2018, Cointelegraph reported on the acquisition of blockchain-focused live events firm Upgraded by global ticketing giant Ticketmaster. At the time, Ticketmaster said it planned to digitize traditional tickets into interactive units protected by blockchain technology via encrypted barcodes in a bid to combat fraud.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

Broadway’s largest ticket operator, the Shubert Organization, has partnered with a blockchain startup to verify ticket authenticity

Largest Tencent Shareholder Leads $15M Round in Blockchain Game Developer

Largest Tencent Shareholder Leads $15M Round in Blockchain Game Developer

Tencent’s largest shareholder leads $15 million funding round in blockchain gaming startup behind Gods Unchained game

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=“show“ ihc_mb_who=“reg“ ihc_mb_template=“1″ ]

Naspers, the largest shareholder of Chinese Internet giant Tencent, participated in a $15 million investment in blockchain game developer Immutable. 

Key investors

Immutable, a Sydney-based blockchain gaming startup, completed a new funding round led by Naspers and Mike Novogratz’s crypto investment bank Galaxy Digital, the company announced in a blog post on Sept. 23.

As reported by the Australian Financial Review (AFR), other investors also included Sydney-based VC firm Reinventure and American private investment firm Apex Capital.

Scaling from 13,000 to 1 million gamers projected

According to the report, Immutable’s flagship game Gods Unchained has made over $4.5 million in revenue in just over a year, despite it is being played by a closed group of 13,000 gamers. 

Founded by brothers Robbie and James Ferguson in July 2018, Immutable reportedly expects to grow Gods Unchained from the current 13,000 to 1 million players with the new investment, James stated in an interview with AFR.

Based on the Ethereum blockchain, Gods Unchained is a trading card game that has reportedly overtaken other popular TCGs such as Artifact, Faeria and Kards, Immutable stated. In February 2019, Gods Unchained’s unique digital card Hyperion became the world’s second most expensive card ever sold after selling for137.8 Ether (ETH), or $62,000 at the time of auction. 

On Sept. 17, the Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX) announced that one of the largest decentralized apps in the world, online real-time economic strategy game Prospectors, was launching on the WAX blockchain.


Zur Quelle
[/ihc-hide-content]

Tencent’s largest shareholder leads $15 million funding round in blockchain gaming startup behind Gods Unchained game