Russia’s Largest Bank Halts Crypto Plans Due to Central Bank’s Negative Stance

Russia’s Largest Bank Halts Crypto Plans Due to Central Bank’s Negative Stance

Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, has suspended its crypto-related plans due to the central bank’s negative stance on crypto

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Russia’s largest bank, the state-owned Sberbank, has suspended its crypto-related plans due to the central bank’s negative stance on the industry, local news agency TASS reports on May 30.

Sberbank vice president Andrey Shemetov has reportedly revealed the news at a recent press conference, claiming that Sberbank had been awaiting crypto legislation that would allow it to trade cryptocurrencies.

However, Shemetov stressed that the local financial regulator and the central bank, the Bank of Russia, is against the adoption of the crypto space at the moment. As such, the bank had to halt its plans relating to cryptocurrencies.

In the report, the official did not specify what particular project the bank had to suspend.

In January 2018, Sberbank’s subsidiary in Switzerland, Sberbank Switzerland AG, announced that it was planning to launch cryptocurrency exchange. At the time, Shemetov claimed that the bank had chosen Switzerland to establish the exchange because Russian authorities did not allow crypto operations.

Recently, Sberbank has requested a client to provide data on their income from cryptocurrency revenue.

Russian authorities have as of yet been unable to pass crypto legislation for a variety of reasons.

Most recently, TASS reported that Russia had to postpone the adoption of a crypto law due to a requirement from Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering to legislate major industry terms such as crypto and bitcoin (BTC), instead of using the sole term “digital assets.” In particular, Russian lawmakers were reportedly avoiding some terminology in the bill in accordance with a “certain position” of the Russia’s central bank.

However, the central bank has subsequently reacted to the report, claiming that the draft bill on crypto regulation is prepared enough to be adopted in the spring of 2019, in line with the order of the country’s president, Vladimir Putin.


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Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, has suspended its crypto-related plans due to the central bank’s negative stance on crypto

Top 5 Crypto Performers Overview: BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC and XMR

Top 5 Crypto Performers Overview: BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC and XMR

A rally being led by the largest crypto is a bullish sign. Let’s take a look at the charts

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The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

Bitcoin has been the main attraction in the past week, as it has scaled every stiff hurdle with ease. The rally has helped its market dominance hit levels not seen since December 2017. After a long time, the traders have focused on the positives and have disregarded the negative news. This shows that the sentiment is bullish.

A rally being led by the largest cryptocurrency is a bullish sign. Some believe that the upward move is a result of increased activity by institutional players. While we are surprised by the pace of the rally, we believe that this is not sustainable and a repeat of the previous bull market is unlikely. Bitcoin will soon enter a consolidation or a minor correction that can be used as a buying opportunity.

The recovery in cryptocurrencies has enabled projects to source funds easily. Bitfinex has received hard and soft commitments for its $1 billion initial native exchange token offering. Similarly, blockchain equity loan platform Figure, backed by Morgan Creek has sealed a $1 billion “uncommitted” financing facility via blockchain.

Will bitcoin pull the altcoins higher, or will the altcoin rally indicate that the retail crowd is jumping in and a short-term top is close by? Let us see what the charts of the top five performers of the past seven days project.

BTC/USD

Bitcoin (BTC), with its scintillating run, is back in the limelight. One of the world’s top cryptocurrency exchanges, Binance, was hacked and 7,070 in bitcoin was stolen from its hot wallets. However, the hack did not rattle the markets as it continued its uptrend after a brief pause. When markets do not correct on negative news, it is a bullish sign.

Galaxy Digital CEO Michael Novogratz expects the lifetime highs to be scaled within the next 18 months. Financial advisory firm Canaccord Genuity also arrived at a similar conclusion based on their studies: they expect bitcoin to hit $20,000 by 2021. Tim Draper, however, is even more bullish, as he expects Bitcoin to reach $250,000 by 2023.

However, we suggest traders not to get carried away by these lofty targets. Let’s see what the charts project.

BTC/USD

The BTC/USD pair is easily breaking out of the overhead resistances. We were expecting the recovery to pause in the zone of $6,000 to $6,480.54, but the pair easily crossed this zone. It has a minor resistance at $6,850, above which the rally can extend to $7,500 and if that level is also crossed, it can move up to $8,500.

However, the sharp rally has pushed the RSI on the weekly charts into the overbought zone for the first time since early January 2018. This shows that the rally has been persistent and strong.

Any dip will find support at $5,900 and below it at $4,900 levels. The next fall might form a higher base and be the last opportunity to buy before the cryptocurrency enters a sustained long-term uptrend.

ETH/USD

While ether (ETH) volumes on decentralized applications (DApps) hit a new high, the number of new DApps deployed on-chain is at a low, close to 2017 levels, according to crypto analytics firm Diar. Over the next 12 months, the Ethereum Foundation plans to spend $30 million for various projects across the ecosystem. Helped with a donation of $1,000 Ether each by Joseph Lubin, Vitalik Buterin, ConsenSys and the Ethereum Foundation, the Moloch decentralized autonomous organization’s total funds have reached $1 million.

An unidentified official of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said that an Ether-based futures product might receive the approval of the regulator if it meets the requirements. Can these bullish developments propel the cryptocurrency higher?

ETH/USD

After defending the breakout level of $167.20 for the past four weeks, the bulls are attempting to resume the uptrend. This is a positive sign. The breakout of the ascending triangle can push the price to $256.08, above which a move to $300 is probable.

The ETH/USD pair might face some resistance at the 50-week SMA, but we expect this level to be scaled.

Our bullish view will be negated if the bears reverse direction from the current levels and sink the pair back into the triangle. Such a move will invalidate the breakout of the bullish pattern, which is a bearish sign.

BCH/USD

More than 50% of transactions in bitcoin cash (BCH) are being generated from a single account. These are small transactions in value but are being done on a regular basis — about three to four transactions per second. Some believe that this is being done to make the network look busier than it is, while others speculate that it is being done for a test. Nevertheless, all eyes will be on the forthcoming upgrade of the network on May 15.

BCH/USD

The BTC/USD pair has been trading in a tight range of $255 to $335.62 for the past four weeks. The attempt by the bears to breakdown from this range failed, as the bulls purchased the dip to the 20-week EMA.

Currently, the bulls are attempting to ascend the overhead resistance zone of $335.62 to $363.3. If this zone is scaled, the pair is likely to move up to $600. Though there is a minor resistance at 50-week SMA, we expect it to be crossed. Traders can buy above $370 and keep a stop loss of $260. Please use only 30% of the usual position size for this trade: if the cryptocurrency struggles to breakout of $400, traders can quickly raise the stop loss to reduce the risk.

Our bullish view will be invalidated if the price reverses direction from the overhead resistance and plummets below the 20-week EMA.

LTC/USD

A new version Litecoin Core 0.17.1 was released which brings in new features, bug fixes, performance improvements and more. Will the bullishness in bitcoin rub off on litecoin? Let’s find out.

LTC/USD

The LTC/USD pair has formed a cup and handle pattern, which will complete on a breakout and close above $91. This will have a minimum target objective of $158.91, but the momentum can carry it to $172.647 levels. The traders can buy on a breakout and close (UTC time frame) above $91 and keep a stop loss of $65. The moving averages have completed a bullish crossover and the RSI is in the positive zone, which suggests that the bulls are in command.

Still, please keep the position size only 50% of normal: let’s keep our risk under control.

Our bullish assumption will be negated if the price fails to breakout and sustain above $91 and drops below $65. In such a case, a fall to $40 and lower is possible.

XMR/USD

Cybercriminals are finding new ways to exploit the vulnerability CVE-2019-3396 in Confluence, a widely used collaboration and planning software, according to a report by security intelligence firm Trend Micro Inc. Monero (XMR) is the fifth best performer of the past seven days. Can it improve its performance over the next few days? Let us find out.

XMR/USD

The XMR/USD pair has been consolidating for the past five weeks, and has a stiff resistance at $81. The 50-week SMA is also located just above this level. Hence, we anticipate this zone to act as a stiff hurdle for the bulls.

But if the bulls breakout of the 50-week SMA, it will signal strength and can gradually move up to $120 and above it to $150. Conversely, if the bears sink the pair below $60, it can retest the lows at $38.5.

Traders can wait for the price to breakout and close (UTC time frame) above $81 to initiate long positions. The initial stop loss can be kept at $60, which can be trailed higher as the cryptocurrency moves northwards.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. Charts for analysis are provided by TradingView.


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A rally being led by the largest crypto is a bullish sign. Let’s take a look at the charts

Japan’s 3rd Largest Bank by Assets Joins R3 Marco Polo Blockchain Network

Japan’s 3rd Largest Bank by Assets Joins R3 Marco Polo Blockchain Network

The third-largest Japanese bank by assets, SMBC, will leverage R3’s Marco Polo blockchain for trade finance

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Major Japanese bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), will leverage R3’s Marco Polo blockchain network for trade finance, local cryptocurrency news outlet CoinDesk Japan reported on April 25.

SMBC, which is Japan’s third-largest bank by assets, plans to roll out blockchain services in the second half of 2019.

Other currency members of Marco Polo, which is powered by R3’s Corda enterprise blockchain platform, include banks such as BNP Paribas and ING.

The product successfully conducted its first trade finance operations in March, an operation involving two German firms and local bank Commerzbank.

“Trade finance […] is very complicated, and many of the documents necessary for trade transactions are paper-based and complex,” SMBC’s vice chairman, Yasuyuki Kawasaki, said while announcing the news at a Tokyo fintech seminar.

“This time-consuming process has been going on for 100 years. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation has joined Marco Polo to build a global platform, and is preparing to provide new services later this year.”

Various trade finance schemes are under development worldwide, with China this week announcing a partnership of its own involving a subsidiary of its central bank, the People’s Bank of China.

French lender Societe Generale, meanwhile, used the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain to issue bonds worth 100 million euros this month.


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The third-largest Japanese bank by assets, SMBC, will leverage R3’s Marco Polo blockchain for trade finance

Thailand’s Largest Commercial Bank and State Oil Company Trial Blockchain Payments

Thailand’s Largest Commercial Bank and State Oil Company Trial Blockchain Payments

Blockchain use for cross-border business-to-business payments has been tested by Thailand’s largest commercial bank SCB and state oil company PTTEP

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Thailand’s largest commercial bank, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), and state oil company PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP) performed a successful test of blockchain use for cross-border business-to-business payments. The bank recently announced the successful pilot on its website.

Per the announcement, the project, which has been ongoing since mid-2018, aims to optimize operational efficiency. The bank claims that earlier this year, it has successfully carried out payments on blockchain within one minute.

The post also points out that conventional methods require a wait of one to two days for the settlement to be carried out. SCB SEVP and chief wholesale banking officer Wasin Saiyawan claimed that the bank is now ready “to set a new norm for the industry” and declared:

“The service will be implemented in all CLMV and southeast Asian countries by this year, which will serve as a major milestone in the development of cross-border payment services.”

PTTEP Finance and Accounting Group executive vice president Sumrid Sumneing also noted that the collaboration with SCB to use blockchain technology will be ongoing. While the announcement doesn’t cite Ripple or XRP, the company is reportedly part of the Ripplenet payment network.

Furthermore, in September last year, Ripple also announced that the bank pioneered RippleNet’s multi-hop feature. Multi-hop reportedly allows settling payments on behalf of other financial institutions present on the network.

Crunchbase defines SCP as Thailand’s first indigenous bank, and notes that as of June 30, 2016, it was the country’s largest commercial bank, with its annual revenue estimated to be $2.9 billion. Crunchbase also estimates the revenue of PTTEP’s parent company PTT to be $60.5 billion annually.

As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, French specialized credit institution Societe Generale SFH issued a 100 million euro ($112 million) bond as a security token on the ethereum (ETHblockchain.

Recently, the head of digital market assets at Credit Suisse, Emmanuel Aidoo, said that the desire among financiers to maintain the status quo is holding back the adoption of blockchain technology.


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Blockchain use for cross-border business-to-business payments has been tested by Thailand’s largest commercial bank SCB and state oil company PTTEP

South Korea’s Largest Car Supplier Hyundai to Use DLT in Smartphone-EV Pairing Tool

South Korea’s Largest Car Supplier Hyundai to Use DLT in Smartphone-EV Pairing Tool

South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai will use blockchain in its apparently industry-first smartphone-vehicle pairing tool

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South Korea’s largest car manufacturer, Hyundai Motor Group, will use blockchain in its new tech for pairing electric vehicles (EVs) with smartphones. Sustainable mobility-focused news agency Green Car Congress reported on the development on April 22.

Hyundai reportedly announced development of smartphone-EV pairing based performance adjustment technology that allows users to customize primary functions via a smartphone application.

In the claimed industry-first, Hyundai will reportedly implement blockchain technology to prevent security issues while users upload and share their custom settings on the server.

As such, the upcoming system is set to encrypt major performance parameters on a blockchain network by creating new data blocks in the process of uploading and sharing custom settings in order to prevent unauthorized manipulation of data.

According to the report, drivers will be able to adjust seven performance features such as the maximum torque output of the motor, acceleration and deceleration abilities, regenerative braking capacity, maximum speed limit, responsiveness and energy use on climate control.

Earlier this year, Hyundai’s financial services subsidiary, Hyundai Commercial, partnered with American tech giant IBM to transform its business model with blockchain. The partnership is focused on deploying open source Hyperledger Fabric blockchain technology to create a new supply chain financing ecosystem for the Hyundai Commercial network.

Recently, IBM was granted a patent for a new system to manage data and interactions for self-driving vehicles.


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South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai will use blockchain in its apparently industry-first smartphone-vehicle pairing tool

Largest Travel Management Firm in UK Accepts Bitcoin

Largest Travel Management Firm in UK Accepts Bitcoin

Leading British travel management firm Corporate Traveller has partnered with BitPay, allowing it to accept bitcoins as payment

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Corporate Traveller, the largest travel management firm in the United Kingdom, is now accepting Bitcoin (BTC) for payments, according to a press release on April 15.

A newly announced partnership with crypto payments company BitPay will allow Corporate Traveller — which provides business travel management services to SME companies — to accept bitcoins. Andy Hegley, U.K. General Manager at Corporate Traveller said:

“We identified an increasing demand from our clients for the option to pay in bitcoin for business travel bookings made by our travel consultants. We chose BitPay to manage our merchant processing because they make it easy and handle the entire process of getting the Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash from the customer and depositing cash into our account.”

According to the press release, Corporate Traveller is unconcerned with price volatility in crypto markets, as the bitcoins will be converted directly into British pounds. BitPay purportedly charges a 1% commission to convert the funds, which Corporate Traveller says is cheaper than credit card processing.

Other firms and organizations in the tourism and travel industries have begun accepting cryptocurrencies, citing customer demand. In March 2018, the German National Tourist Board announced that it takes bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies as payment for its services.

In August of the same year, the state government of the Australian province of Queensland issued a grant to the TravelbyBit digital currency payments platform, which aimed to boost tourism in Central Queensland through selling travel offers with cryptocurrencies.

BitPay, for its part, recently reported that it saw over $1 billion in transactions last year. According to a January press release, the firm set a new record in terms of transaction fee revenue, having expanded its services to major customers like Dish Networks, HackerOne, and the State of Ohio.

On Jan. 30, BitPay partnered with the Wikimedia Foundation — the non-profit organization that runs Wikipedia — so that it could broaden the number of cryptocurrencies that are acceptable by donation.


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Leading British travel management firm Corporate Traveller has partnered with BitPay, allowing it to accept bitcoins as payment

Major Bank CEOs Testify at US Congress, Topics Include Blockchain and Crypto

Major Bank CEOs Testify at US Congress, Topics Include Blockchain and Crypto

CEOs of the largest banks in the U.S. testified on Capitol Hill about how the industry has transformed since the 2008 crisis, topics included blockchain and cryptocurrencies

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Chief executive officers of leading banks testified before the United States House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on April 10 on how the banking industry has transformed since the 2008 financial crisis. Among many topics spanning the breadth of the banking industry, the CEOs and lawmakers discussed blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

During his allotted time for questioning, Rep. Warren Davidson (R) argued that the industry is entering into a new era of innovation, wherein blockchain technology is transforming existing financial systems, as well as cybersecurity. Davidson also noted that the U.S. is currently staggering behind due to regulatory certainty issues.

Davidson addressed Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of one of the largest financial institutions in the U.S. JPMorgan Chase (JPM), stressing that back in 2017, Dimon called cryptocurrencies “not a real thing,” while this year JPM unveiled “JPM Coin” and stated that “we are supportive of cryptocurrencies as long as they are properly controlled and regulated.”

In response, Dimon said that blockchain will work over time, adding:

“The part that is not real is that cryptocurrency is not supported by anything, there is no value behind it other than what the next personal pay.”

Davidson also addressed the Chairman and CEO of the Bank of New York Mellon, Charles Scharf, noting that the company’s website states lack of regulatory clarity as a barrier to providing custody for digital assets. Scharf said:

“Cryptocurrencies are very early in their existence. They are not significant today to speak of in terms of being used as a real currency to move value, and so we are actively thinking about what we want to do. One of the biggest issues that we have relates to any money laundering and KYC [Know Your Customer].”

Other topics included the banks’ role in the housing market crash, bank financing for private prisons and even their equality and diversity policies. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez noted fines the banks paid for disproportionately low salaries for minority and female employees.

Yesterday, representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, including Rep. Davidson, reintroduced the Token Taxonomy Act (TTA). The bill would exclude cryptocurrency from being classified as a security. The act pursues the introduction of regulatory certainty for businesses and regulators in the U.S. blockchain industry, as well as clarifying conflicting state initiatives and regulatory rulings that have confused the issue.


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CEOs of the largest banks in the U.S. testified on Capitol Hill about how the industry has transformed since the 2008 crisis, topics included blockchain and cryptocurrencies

Coordinator for Largest Group of Mt. Gox Creditors Leaves Post, Sells His Claim

Coordinator for Largest Group of Mt. Gox Creditors Leaves Post, Sells His Claim

The founder and coordinator of the largest group of creditors of collapsed exchange Mt. Gox has quit his post and sold his claim, saying reimbursement likely to take years

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Andy Pag, the founder and coordinator of Mt. Gox Legal (MGL) — the largest group of creditors of the now-defunct Bitcoin (BTC) exchange Mt. Gox — has quit his post and decided to sell his claim. Pag announced his decision in a letter posted to the MGL contributor forum on April 4.

Mt. Gox Legal —  a cooperative of over 1,000 creditors with claims reportedly totaling more than an estimated 125,000BTC (~$649 million at press time) — was formed to seek coordinated legal action to support Mt. Gox’s transition from bankruptcy proceedings to civil rehabilitation (CR).

This transition, which formally took effect in June 2018, should ensure that creditors are reimbursed in crypto, rather than in fiat currency equivalent to the value of their BTC holdings at the time of the exchange’s collapse.

As previously reported, Mt. Gox was notoriously hacked in 2011, with around 24,000 creditors reported to be affected. The subsequent collapse of the exchange in early 2014 led to loss of a reported 850,000 BTC, valued at roughly $460 million at the time (~$4.2 billion at press time).

Pag, who will leave his role as MGL coordinator at the end of April, also revealed his decision to sell his claim for an instant payout from a buyer offering $600 p/BTC, with a ~33% return in a year. While offering to put fellow MGL creditors in touch with the buyer, he emphasized it was a highly personal decision.

In his letter of resignation to MGL members, Pag cited his belief that reimbursement is likely to take a further 18-24 months or longer, despite recent indications from Mt. Gox’s CR trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi that decisions over creditors’ claims had been concluded in March.

Pag gave several major reasons for this belief, foremost that prospective reimbursement and distribution of assets is likely to stall for a significant period of time as Japan’s judiciary assesses an outstanding $16 billion claim from CoinLab, which was allegedly filed in February.

As Cointelegraph has previously reported, in 2013, CoinLab — a former business partner of the exchange —  originally sued Mt. Gox with a bankruptcy claim of $75 million, claiming breach of contract. The figure has since risen to $16 billion amid the civil rehabilitation proceedings.

In his letter, Pag said that his recent meeting with Kobayashi confirmed his fears that the trustee would delay filing a civil rehabilitation plan “until the Coinlab case is settled, and that means not just assessment, but through however many rounds of litigation they take it to.”

Pag further gave reasons for his distrust of Mt. Gox ex-CEO Mark Karpeles’ conduct in the CR proceedings, which he “suspects will be the source of more costs and delays.”

As reported, a Japanese court recently served Mark Karpeles a suspended jail sentence after he was found guilty of tampering with financial records. He was, however, acquitted of embezzlement.

A  separate so-dubbed “GoxRising” movement, is being spearheaded by controversial crypto figure Brock Pierce, who has claimed he can reboot the trading platform and accelerate compensation for creditors.


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The founder and coordinator of the largest group of creditors of collapsed exchange Mt. Gox has quit his post and sold his claim, saying reimbursement likely to take years

Austria’s Largest Energy Provider Develops Blockchain Fridge With Bosch

Austria’s Largest Energy Provider Develops Blockchain Fridge With Bosch

Wien Energie, Austria’s largest energy provider, has announced the development of a blockchain fridge, together with Bosch, that allows for the reduction of energy waste

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Austria’s largest energy provider, Wien Energie, has developed a blockchain-driven fridge in partnership with tech giant Bosch, Cointelegraph’s correspondent reported from the ANON Blockchain Summit Austria.

Wien Energie presented the new model during the crypto conference in Vienna on April 3. The official release claims that the decentralized technology is used in the construction of a refrigerator for the first time.

The main goal behind the project is to increase consumer interest in the sustainable consumption of energy. A blockchain solution in this case allows one to choose the source of the energy, be that a solar panel or a wind power plant. Each kilowatt used by the fridge can be traced to its origin, the release reads.

Moreover, the blockchain fridge can be fully operated via smartphone. A user is able to control the temperature of the fridge and freezer, check whether the door is properly closed, and trace the energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

According to the official statement, the model is not yet on sale. Wien Energie and Bosch will first test the blockchain fridge with three pilot customers in the coming months.

Wien Energie CEO Peter Gönitzer considers blockchain a great opportunity to reduce the unnecessary waste of energy, the release notes. According to him, the decentralized ecosystem could contribute to creating a transparent and user-friendly energy market.

Moreover, the Austrian company also plans to trial blockchain implementation in the energy sector on a larger scale. The firm has already partnered with blockchain interface company Riddle & Code to deploy decentralized infrastructure in an unnamed urban development area.

Per release, the concept has already been developed, and the trial will start within a few months with the participation of about 100 residents. The project, above all, is set to find out which smart energy tariffs will function in the area.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, Wien Energie announced in March that it is considering launching a charger for electric cars based on distributed ledger technology. The trial for the aforementioned project is also conducted together with Riddle & Code: the companies are testing an electric vehicle charging station with integrated secure machine identity in Vienna.


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Wien Energie, Austria’s largest energy provider, has announced the development of a blockchain fridge, together with Bosch, that allows for the reduction of energy waste

Canada Seizes $1.4 Million Bitcoin Holdings in Reportedly Largest Ever Forfeiture

Canada Seizes $1.4 Million Bitcoin Holdings in Reportedly Largest Ever Forfeiture

Canada has confiscated $1.4 million of Bitcoin from an online drug dealer

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A Toronto judge has ruled an online drug dealer must pay his entire $1.4 million Bitcoin (BTC) holdings to the state in what is reportedly Canada’s largest ever forfeiture, local daily news outlet The Star reported April 3.

Matthew Phan, who dealt in illegal narcotics online, had tried to convince law enforcement he had amassed his 281.41 BTC (worth around $1.4 million at press time) through other activities.

The court had sought to claim the stash in February, with Phan appealing against the demands, a process he has now appeared to lose.

According to The Star, Superior Court Justice Jane Kelly said Phan had failed to convince her that the funds had materialized as a result of legal operations such as trading on cryptocurrency exchanges.

“It is a reasonable inference to draw that payment for such illegal narcotics sales was made using Bitcoin that was found in the digital wallet on Mr. Phan’s computer,” the publication quotes her as saying Wednesday.

The case comes in the aftermath of heightened media attention around Bitcoin in Canada following the collapse of trading platform QuadrigaCX.

The platform, the CEO of which unexpectedly died in December last year, currently owes its clients around $190 million in crypto and fiat amid controversy over its liquidity and funds handling.

Ernst & Young, currently working as administrators for the business, this week officially admitted the chances of a reemergence from its present difficulties was unlikely.

At the same time, in a separate case, Canadian prosecutors have ordered the freezing of $22 million in ICO tokens issued by local consulting firm Vanbex amid suspicions its organizers used the profits for personal gain. The company denies any wrongdoing.


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Canada has confiscated $1.4 million of Bitcoin from an online drug dealer

Japan’s Largest Railway Company Considers New Crypto Payment System for Transport Cards

Japan’s Largest Railway Company Considers New Crypto Payment System for Transport Cards

The largest railway company in Japan is considering adding cryptocurrency as a payment option for its transport cards

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Kazuhiro Tokita, representative director, board member and president at Japanese cryptocurrency exchange DeCurret, unveiled a new cryptocurrency payment system during a business presentation in Tokyo on March 27. Cointelegraph Japan reported on the presentation the same day.

The new system would enable the SUICA payment card issued by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East), Japan’s biggest railway company, to be topped-up with cryptocurrency. Still, the report points out that there are no concrete plans as of press time, and that JR East is only considering the implementation. Data released by the company shows that as of the end of March last year, nearly 70 million SUICA cards were issued.

According to the dedicated website, SUICA is a prepaid e-money card which allows its users to pay both for some goods and services, as well as transport. As Cointelegraph recently reported, Decurret has been allowed to operate by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) since March 28.

According to Cointelegraph Japan, the trading on the exchange will start on April 16th and will involve Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP). The addition of Ethereum (ETH) support is reportedly scheduled for June or July, and both yen and Bitcoin will be supported as base pairs.

In other Japanese news, e-commerce giant Rakuten will soon launch its own cryptocurrency exchange, dubbed Rakuten Wallet, after announcing that it received the FSA’s approval on March 25.


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The largest railway company in Japan is considering adding cryptocurrency as a payment option for its transport cards

Largest Austrian Energy Provider Debuts DLT-Based E-Car Charger

Largest Austrian Energy Provider Debuts DLT-Based E-Car Charger

Major Austrian energy provider Wien Energie and blockchain firm Riddle & Code are exploring the use of DLT for electric car charging stations

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Wien Energie, the largest energy provider in Austria, has announced a charger for electric cars based on distributed ledger technology (DLT) in a press release on March 28.

Per the release, Wien Energie in partnership with blockchain tech firm Riddle & Code are testing an electric vehicle charging station with “integrated secure machine identity” in Vienna. The new machines purportedly aim to provide immutable data interfaces that connect various aspects of the power supply chain, including smart meters, producers and consumers.

In its initial stages, the station will purportedly allow real-time settlement of charging transactions. Once the system is proven, the system will begin to roll out in the last quarter of 2019. The DLT-based chargers will purportedly be part of the research project “Peer 2 Peer im Quartier,” which is funded by the FFG (Austrian Research Promotion Agency), and carried out jointly by Riddle & Code, Wien Energie and the AIT at Viertel Zwei.

Energy companies globally have been experimenting with distributed ledger and blockchain technologies. Earlier this month, major United Kingdom energy company OVO invested in blockchain firm Electron through its recently launched technology division, Kaluza. The investment will purportedly be used for Electron to develop its energy platforms and systems, and its distributed marketplace.

Yesterday, Major United States energy firm Ameren and Canadian software engineering and solutions company Opus One Solutions announced that they will explore the potential use of blockchain technology. Ameren, which currently services around 2.4 million electric and 900,000 gas consumers, will purportedly examine blockchain technology within the context of its clean energy initiative.


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Major Austrian energy provider Wien Energie and blockchain firm Riddle & Code are exploring the use of DLT for electric car charging stations

Largest Swiss Online Retailer Digitec Galaxus Now Accepts Cryptocurrencies

Largest Swiss Online Retailer Digitec Galaxus Now Accepts Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are now accepted by the leading Swiss online retailer Digitec Galaxus

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Leading Swiss online retailer Digitec Galaxus has announced that it will now accept cryptocurrencies, according to a press release published on March 19.

Per the announcement, the shop is now accepting Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin SV (BSV), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Binance Coin (BNB), Litecoin (LTC), Tron (TRX), NEO (NEO) and OmiseGO (OMG) for purchases worth over CHF 200 (about $200). The release further claims that the shop hosts around 2.7 million products, ranging from wheat beer to gaming PCs.

The new payment method was reportedly jointly developed as part of a pilot project with Swiss payment processor Datatrans and in collaboration with Danish crypto payments startup Coinify. The system opens 15-minute-time windows for customers, during which the crypto exchange rate doesn’t change in order to make the payment with a fee of 1.5 percent.

As part of its move towards crypto, the company also added a crypto wallet category to ecommerce platform, accompanied by a dedicated guide, and released a blog post under the title “Diamonds or Gold Are Better Suited to Get Rid of Illicit Money.” In the latter post, the company’s chief innovation officer Oliver Herren admitted that he is not fully convinced of the advantages of blockchain over traditional database systems. Still, he concludes:

“But maybe I just haven’t invested enough time in fully understanding how the blockchain ecosystem works.”

Lastly, the company also released a blog post dedicated to its internal engineering team behind crypto integration. In the post, which is mostly an interview, the company explains on a high-level what blockchain is.

According to ecommerce data platform ecommerceDB, Digitec Galaxus’ net sales amounted to over $261 million in 2018 and the store, first launched in 2010, is the world’s 341st biggest online retailer.

Other large retailers internationally have also looked into the idea of adding crypto payments options on their platforms, with Overstock.com’s acceptance of Bitcoin payments as early as 2014 as a major example.

As Cointelegraph reported in April last year, Canadian online trading and barter platform Bunz Trading Zone is launching its own cryptocurrency.

Also, in February last year, Japan’s largest e-commerce company Rakuten, with a market capitalization of over $12.5 bln, announced its own plans to launch a cryptocurrency called Rakuten Coin.


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Cryptocurrencies are now accepted by the leading Swiss online retailer Digitec Galaxus

Insurance Giant AXA XL Launches Security Token and Crowdfunding Insurance Service

Insurance Giant AXA XL Launches Security Token and Crowdfunding Insurance Service

The second largest insurer in Europe, AXA XL, has launched a new product covering security token offerings

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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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The second largest insurer in Europe, AXA XL, has launched a new product covering security token offerings

UAE’s Largest Real Estate Firm Emaar Denies Reports That It Accepts Crypto: Bloomberg

UAE’s Largest Real Estate Firm Emaar Denies Reports That It Accepts Crypto: Bloomberg

The UAE’s largest real estate development firm, Emaar Properties, has denied reports it enabled crypto payments for property

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The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) largest real estate development firm, Emaar Properties, has officially denied reports that it enabled crypto payments for property, Bloomberg reported on Feb. 20.

Known for developing the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa — located in Dubai — the firm told Bloomberg that it currently accepts only fiat currencies, such as UAE Dirhams (AED) or United States dollars as payment for property purchases. The publication cited an Emaar Properties spokesperson as providing the confirmation.

In the report, Bloomberg cited Australian crypto-focused website Micky as one of websites that initially reported that the real estate giant had started accepting crypto. According the original report on Feb. 19, Emaar Properties allegedly allowed clients to purchase property with major cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), through a broker in Switzerland.

Subsequently, the news was posted by multiple real estate-related accounts on Twitter, including UAE-based Premier Estates.

Recently, Japan’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), denied reports that it was considering allowing Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to operate in the country, following a false report from Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, property development company New World Development recently announced a joint venture to launch a blockchain platform for digital authorization in real estate processes. The Bank of China has reportedly become the first bank to sign up to use the platform, aiming to reduce paperwork operations.


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The UAE’s largest real estate development firm, Emaar Properties, has denied reports it enabled crypto payments for property

Binance’s Charity Arm Rolls Out Blockchain-Powered School Lunch Campaign

Binance’s Charity Arm Rolls Out Blockchain-Powered School Lunch Campaign

The charity arm of the world’s largest crypto exchange has launched blockchain-enabled school lunch program

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The charity arm of the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, has launched its pilot blockchain-based lunch program in African schools, according to a blog post on Feb. 21.

Binance Charity Foundation (BCF) has rolled out its charity campaign “Lunch for Children” in the capital of Uganda, Kampala. According to the program, the organization is set to provide two meals a day during the full year of 2019 to more than 200 students and school staff.

The recently launched pilot in Uganda is a part of a larger campaign by Binance that intends to benefit one million students in schools across other countries such as Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Based on BCF’s blockchain-based donation system, the campaign was first announced during Binance Blockchain week in Singapore last January, the blog post notes.

According to the press release, the distribution of donations officially kicked off at a launch ceremony attended by over 500 participants. BCF’s initiative partners, privacy-oriented blockchain firm Zcoin and Kenya-based non-profit organization Dream Building Service, also attended the ceremony.

According to the report, the Zcoin team and its major investors donated $24,000 worth of cryptocurrency to support the students and school staff at the Jolly Mercy Learning Center in Kampala, where the event took place.

Uganda’s Minister of State for Primary Education, Rosemary Nansubuga Seninde, stressed that the recently launched program is not only a donation, but also guarantees protection from potential third-party corruption.

Binance first launched its charity arm in October 2018, revealing that the initiative was supported at the time by a donation of $3 million from the Tron Foundation.

In late 2018, the BCF announced a new charity channel on its platform, intending to support terminally ill patients and disadvantaged children in Malta and Gozo.

Recently, the ALS Association partnered with the Tron Foundation to launch a blockchain-enabled campaign to raise donations for research into treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.


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The charity arm of the world’s largest crypto exchange has launched blockchain-enabled school lunch program

SK Telecom, Deutsche Telekom to Build Blockchain Identity Platform

SK Telecom, Deutsche Telekom to Build Blockchain Identity Platform

South Korea’s largest wireless carrier, SK Telecom, is partnering with the world’s fifth largest telecoms firm, Deutsche Telekom, to develop a blockchain-based identification solution

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South Korea’s largest wireless carrier, SK Telecom (SKT), is partnering with the world’s fifth largest telecoms firm, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, to develop a blockchain-based mobile identification solution. The news was reported in a press release from SKT on Feb. 21.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the two firms is to be formalized during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019, which kicks off on Feb. 25 in Barcelona, Spain.

The collaboration will see SKT and Deutsche Telekom’s R&D unit, T-Labs, develop a commercialized, blockchain-powered mobile identity solution that can be used for applications such as access control, dealings and contracts.

SKT told local news outlet The Korea Times that it believes blockchain-based digital identification will significantly streamline and secure the process of verifying personal data. Oh Se-hyun, who heads SKT’s blockchain unit, noted:

„Mobile blockchain identification can be utilized in a variety of areas including logins both online and in offices. Beginning with the latest collaboration, we will further spur the innovation of information and communications technologies.“

SKT has outlined that many existing e-commerce and other web-based interactions require users to disclose personal data — such as their date of birth and phone number — whose circulation subsequently escapes their control.

In an encrypted blockchain system, such disclosure would be unnecessary, thereby offering more autonomous and secure management of sensitive information. SKT told reporters that blockchain-powered identification solutions could ultimately replaced government documents, including passports.

Set to demonstrate their joint solution during MWC 2019, the Korean and German firms have said they expect travelers from both countries will face less friction confirming their identities by using the new system.

As reported, Deutsche Telekom has recently joined the Linux Foundation’s open source blockchain project Hyperledger, used by many enterprise-focused firms, such as IBM.

SKT, for its part, has previously participated in the blockchain economy by backing Korean crypto exchange Upbit, as well as launching a blockchain-based asset management service and blockchain startup support platform in April 2018.


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South Korea’s largest wireless carrier, SK Telecom, is partnering with the world’s fifth largest telecoms firm, Deutsche Telekom, to develop a blockchain-based identification solution

Spain’s Largest Telecom Company Seeks Entrepreneurs in Blockchain, AI

Spain’s Largest Telecom Company Seeks Entrepreneurs in Blockchain, AI

One of the world’s largest mobile network providers, Telefónica, will support startups developing new tech, such as blockchain

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Spain’s largest multinational telecommunications company, Telefónica, has announced an initiative to support entrepreneurs in innovative technologies, such as blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI), according to an official press release published on Feb. 19.

The Madrid-based company — also one of the largest telephone operators and mobile network providers in the world — has launched its first “Open Innovation” call of this year via  its tech incubator subsidiary, Telefónica Open Future. The month-long initiative seeks to support startups and innovative projects ready to „revolutionize traditional ecosystems through new technologies,” such as blockchain, AI, virtual reality and big data. A translation of the press release states:

“This call is aimed at strengthening the growth of companies in territories and ecosystems where there is already great entrepreneurial talent.”

Telefónica Open Future is a global platform that aims to connect public and private institutions focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. The call for entrepreneurs will be open until March 20 and the selected startups will be promoted and supported by the Global Open Future network and Telefónica, underlines the press release.

As Cointelegraph reported on Jan. 24, despite the ongoing crypto winter, a survey conducted by a Switzerland-based crypto investment firm reports that the number of blockchain startups continues to grow in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

According to a recent report, South Korea’s leading telecommunications company, KT Corporation, has been selected to develop a local cryptocurrency in the South Korean city of Gimpo.


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One of the world’s largest mobile network providers, Telefónica, will support startups developing new tech, such as blockchain

Major Omani Bank Joins RippleNet Cross-Border Payment Network

Major Omani Bank Joins RippleNet Cross-Border Payment Network

Oman’s second largest bank BankDhofar is now deploying RippleNet for cross-border payments to India

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Oman’s second largest bank by market value, BankDhofar, has begun using RippleNet technology for cross-border payments to India. The news was tweeted by the managing director of South Asia and MENA at Ripple, Navin Gupta, on Feb. 16.

RippleNet is a global blockchain-based payment network of institutional payment providers, that was developed by technology company Ripple. In January, RippleNet expanded its network to over 200 customers, including such industry players as JNFX, SendFriend, Transpaygo, FTCS and Euro Exim Bank.

Per the recent announcement, BankDhofar has become the first bank in the country and one of the first in the region to adopt RippleNet. The technology enables the bank to provide cross-border transfers via a mobile banking application “in less than 2 minutes,” thus allowing non-resident Indians living in Oman to conduct real-time payment transfers.

BankDhofar was incorporated in 1990, subsequently becoming one of the largest banks in the country. In 2017, BankDhofar’s revenue from banking services was reportedly $2.4 million, while its total revenue amounted to $28.2 million.

Earlier this month, Finablr, a global payment platform and foreign exchange operator based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), joined the RippleNet network to complete real-time transactions to Thailand. The first partner in the service, major Thai bank Siam Commercial Bank will purportedly let UAE Exchange and Unimoni customers globally send money to Thailand.

Last December, the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) also launched a cross-border remittance product based on RippleNet’s blockchain technology. NBK reportedly become the first financial establishment in Kuwait to implement a remittance product — “NBK Direct Remit” — for international live payments based on RippleNet.


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Oman’s second largest bank BankDhofar is now deploying RippleNet for cross-border payments to India

South Korea’s Largest Telecom Company to Develop Local Crypto: Report

South Korea’s Largest Telecom Company to Develop Local Crypto: Report

The South Korean city of Gimpo is reportedly developing a local cryptocurrency with the country’s leading telecommunications company, KT Corporation

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South Korea’s leading telecommunications company, KT Corporation, has been selected to develop a local cryptocurrency in the South Korean city of Gimpo, local media outlet ZDNet Korea reports on Feb. 14.

The crypto — dubbed “K token” — will reportedly be introduced in April, after a pilot project is carried out next month, the report states. The city plans to issue 11 billion won (over $9.7 million) worth of the currency per year, which includes budgets for various social services and development projects.

The blockchain-based currency will reportedly only be available for use at merchants in the Gimpo area. As ZDNet reports, the system will permit payments by scanning QR codes, and merchants can request funds to be converted into fiat and transferred to their bank accounts without incurring fees.

According to ZDNet, KT plans to expand the cryptocurrency to local governments that have agreed to try the scheme, based on the coin’s performance in Gimpo.

The head of the blockchain center and senior vice president at KT, Yeong-il Seo, is quoted in the article as saying that the introduction of a local currency “will contribute to the revitalization of the regional economy.”

As Cointelegraph reported today, the IT arm of South Korean tech giant Samsung announced it had developed technology to speed up blockchain transactions via its enterprise blockchain platform.

Also, recently news broke that the South Korean city of Busan — the country’s second most populous city — has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with blockchain company Hyundai Pay to help develop fintech infrastructure in the area.


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The South Korean city of Gimpo is reportedly developing a local cryptocurrency with the country’s leading telecommunications company, KT Corporation