Ingenico Partners with Pundi X to Unlock Android-Based Crypto Payments

Ingenico Partners with Pundi X to Unlock Android-Based Crypto Payments

French smart payment firm Ingenico partnered with Pundi X to enable merchants to receive payments in crypto using Android

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French payment firm Ingenico has partnered with Singapore-based crypto startup Pundi X to enable its customers to receive payments in crypto using smartphones. 

Pundi X has integrated its point-of-sale payment gateway (XPOS) into Ingenico’s mobile portable POS solution APOS A8, the firm announced on Nov. 12. Through this partnership, merchants around the world using Ingenico’s Android-based APOS A8 will now be able to accept a wide number of crypto as payment options.

Transactions will be processed directly through Pundi’s XWallet mobile app

Specifically, installing the XPOS module on an Ingenico POS terminal will enable payments in cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Binance Coin (BNB), NEM (XEM), QTUM and other cryptos supported by Pundi X payment ecosystem.

Transactions with Ingenico’s APOS A8 solution and Pundi’s XPOS module will be processed directly through Pundi’s XWallet mobile app or physical multi-currency crypto card, XPASS, Ingenico said. The firm also noted that POS devices will automatically provide conversion rates between fiat and cryptocurrencies at retail outlets.

Pundi X drives adoption in crypto and blockchain industry

Marcus Low, senior VP at Asia Pacific of Ingenico Group, claimed that the new partnership is a great way to introduce cryptocurrency as a reliable global payment option.

Zac Cheah, co-founder and CEO of Pundi X, said that launching crypto payments in Ingenico’s APOS A8 devices will undoubtedly trigger more adoption to crypto and blockchain technology.

Pundi X has been actively integrating its XPOS solution to global payment tools worldwide. In August, Pundi X partnered with major Venezuelan chain Traki to implement its blockchain-based POS for crypto payments. Previously, the firm announced that its POS gateway will be soon launched in Panama, with blockchain development firm Chainzilla joining the project as a local distributor.


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French smart payment firm Ingenico partnered with Pundi X to enable merchants to receive payments in crypto using Android

Alibaba Partners with Lolli to Allow US Shoppers Earn ‘Free Bitcoin’

Alibaba Partners with Lolli to Allow US Shoppers Earn ‘Free Bitcoin’

Alibaba shoppers earn 5% back in Bitcoin while shopping online

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Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has partnered with Bitcoin (BTC) rewards shopping app Lolli, enabling its shoppers to earn 5% back in Bitcoin. Alibaba customers can now get Satoshis (sats), the smallest unit of Bitcoin currency, worth 0.00000001 BTC, when shopping “thousands of items online,” Lolli says.

World’s biggest retailer and biggest one-day shopping event

The partnership was announced on Singles Day, a shopping holiday that is celebrated in China on Nov. 11 and is considered to be the world’s biggest one-day shopping event. According to Lolli, Alibaba shoppers spent more than $31 billion on Singles Day in 2018.

Alex Adelman, CEO and co-founder at Lolli, pointed out that the new move is a milestone partnership for Lolli as Alibaba is the largest retailer and e-commerce company in the world.

He stated:

“Our partnership allows our users to earn free bitcoin on millions of products online every day. Arguably the most important piece of this partnership is that it supports our mission of connecting the entire world through commerce.”

Feature is only available in the United States

According to a Coindesk report, the new program will only be available for purchases in the United States. Aubrey Strobel, Lolli’s head of communications, reportedly claimed that residents in China will not be able to participate, and products would be shipped from China to U.S. users.

In the report, Adelman highlighted the firm’s plans to expand globally in 2020 and emphasized that the partnership is a great first step to connect China and the U.S. through Bitcoin and commerce.

Earlier today, Cointelegraph reported on Fold, one of the oldest Bitcoin shopping rewards apps, launching support for home-sharing giant Airbnb today. With the new feature, Fold users can get 3% back in Bitcoin on every stay and experience booked on the platform. The app works in selected countries including the U.S., Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico and the United Kingdom, depending on the specific brand.

Regarding Alibaba, the Chinese retail giant has not been friendly to Bitcoin to date. On Oct. 10, Alibaba’s digital payment arm Alipay reiterated its negative stance to Bitcoin, confirming that it will be banning all transactions identified as connected to Bitcoin.


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Alibaba shoppers earn 5% back in Bitcoin while shopping online

Gaming Rewards Firm Partners With Blockchain-Based Streaming Platform DLive

Gaming Rewards Firm Partners With Blockchain-Based Streaming Platform DLive

Blockchain-based gaming rewards firm partners with streaming platform DLive to reward gamers for creating and watching content

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United States blockchain-based rewards and marketing company Refereum has announced its latest partnership with decentralized streaming platform DLive to reward gamers for creating and watching content.

According to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Nov. 7, Refereum’s partnership with one of blockchain’s largest streaming platforms, DLive, will enable users to earn rewards for live-streaming games.

DLive is reportedly the first blockchain-powered streaming service to join the Refereum platform, alongside Twitch and Mixer. DLive CEO Charles Wayn said:

“Bringing benefits to our streamers is always one of DLive team’s priorities. We are so happy to partner with Refereum to achieve shared goals and ultimately benefit the whole content creators community.”

Refereum’s DLive integration has reportedly gone live, enabling gamers to start earning rewards by engaging with a variety of live streams.

Refereum brings crypto payouts to PUBG

In July, Refereum announced a partnership with a South Korea-based online games developer and publisher to expand its in-game rewards scheme. Refereum said at the time that it would roll out a crypto payout feature to players of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, a game that has seen over 8 million sales.

DLive employs the biggest name in gaming

In April, PewDiePie, the personality behind the most-subscribed gaming channel on YouTube, began streaming exclusively on DLive. Just over a month after this partnership started, DLive saw a 67% increase in monthly active users, claiming that its audience had accounted for more than 5 million viewers and over 70,000 streamers at the time.


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Blockchain-based gaming rewards firm partners with streaming platform DLive to reward gamers for creating and watching content

Shanghai Gov’t Partners With 6 Banks on Blockchain Alliance for Trade

Shanghai Gov’t Partners With 6 Banks on Blockchain Alliance for Trade

Six banks and the municipal Shanghai government have founded a blockchain alliance to promote the technology’s use in the city’s e-port area

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The municipal Shanghai government has joined forces with financial institutions to create an alliance to foster the use of blockchain for global trade. 

The Global Times reported on Nov. 7 that during the China International Import Expo earlier today, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, Shanghai Customs and representatives from six bank branches — including the People’s Bank of China and Bank of Communications — signed a Blockchain Alliance proposal for the city’s e-port area.

Blockchain for multilateral trade

Chen Huifang —  a professor at the College of Information Science and Electronic Engineering of Zhejiang University — told the Global Times that blockchain has previously been implemented in several free trade zones across China, noting that:

„Blockchain technology increases the reliability of information, thus improving the efficiency of customs clearance, reducing costs and promoting trade facilitation.“

An official from the General Administration of Customs of Shanghai, Ye Jian, emphasized that the blockchain alliance represents “the first blockchain application project in customs and the first service project for the CIIE.” 

He added that blockchain had been successfully implemented in the newly-launched cross-border yuan trade financing services for Shanghai’s single window system, helping to tackle data imbalance issues in the process.

As the Global Times notes, a pilot blockchain system was also trialed for cross-border financial services in Nanning, South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, this October.

Qi Hong, vice director of China Construction Bank’s Shanghai branch, emphasized to reporters that the technology remains in its early experimental phase in the country, outlining that:

„We now use blockchain in sporadic financial products instead of the whole finance industry chain, and the public doesn’t have a sound understanding of the technology when it comes to financing. But I think the government’s call for blockchain construction will help push the technology’s application in a more comprehensive way.“ 

High-level endorsement

As reported, China’s President Xi Jinping has recently stated that the adoption of integrated blockchain technologies is key to promoting tech innovation and industry transformation in the country.

Reflecting on the president’s remarks, Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz this week claimed that the statement had “credentialized crypto and blockchain.”

Even as China’s National Development and Reform Commission has now rolled back its former plans to crack down on Bitcoin (BTC) mining in the country, local media has cautioned against misinterpreting the president’s remarks as being an endorsement of decentralized cryptocurrencies.


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Six banks and the municipal Shanghai government have founded a blockchain alliance to promote the technology’s use in the city’s e-port area

Deutsche Telekom’s Blockchain Firm Partners With Malta Gov’t Agency

Deutsche Telekom’s Blockchain Firm Partners With Malta Gov’t Agency

Blockchain service firm T-Systems signed a memorandum of understanding with Maltese government agency supporting business development

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Maltese government agency supporting business development, Malta Enterprise, signed a memorandum of understanding with Blockchain-as-a-Service service firm T-Systems, parent company Deutsche Telekom announced on Oct 30.

Deutsche Telekom launched the Blockchain Ecosystem (GBE) at the end of last month, as reported by Cointelegraph Germany. Now, the Maltese agency will become T-System’s first partner gaining access to the GBE, which can reportedly be used to track a product’s value chain from raw materials to delivery alongside other tools that can facilitate blockchain development.

Malta Digital Innovation Authority to certify T-System’s GBE companies

The collaboration also includes a planned tech accelerator called Malta Innovation Hub that will also support development on Ethereum, Hyperledger and R3’s Corda, as well as provide support for validator service for testing projects and audits.

Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farugia commented:

“This collaboration with T-Systems will give a further competitive advantage over other jurisdictions while adding more value to the already established blockchain ecosystem. […] Companies using T-System’s GBE services will have a certification for their project by the Malta Digital Innovation Authority.”

Malta is positioning itself as a global blockchain hub, as Cointelegraph illustrated in a special documentary

Meanwhile, the island nation continues to attract cryptocurrency business, with the Malta Financial Services Authority recently receiving requests from 21 cryptocurrency exchanges seeking a license under the Virtual Financial Assets Act.


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Blockchain service firm T-Systems signed a memorandum of understanding with Maltese government agency supporting business development

Samsung SDS Partners With Tech Mahindra for a New DLT Product

Samsung SDS Partners With Tech Mahindra for a New DLT Product

Samsung’s software arm Samsung SDS announced a joint blockchain development initiative with Tech Mahindra

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Samsung SDS, the IT subsidiary of global tech giant Samsung, has announced a joint initiative to launch a new blockchain-based traceability product.

To develop the new project, Samsung SDS partnered with American software firm Pega and Tech Mahindra, a subsidiary of major Indian multinational conglomerate holding company Mahindra Group, according to a press release on Oct. 16.

Specifically, the joint initiative will be a combination of Samsung SDS’s enterprise blockchain platform Nexledger Universal and Pega’s digital process automation platform Pega Platform. By integrating Pega’s core product with Nexledger, the firms aim to develop improvements for supply chain systems, the press release states.

The solution will target a number of related industries, including banking and financial services, insurance, manufacturing, public services as well as supply chain logistics, the firms said in the announcement.

Samsung SDS, Tech Mahindra and Pega have previously established partnerships

The news follows an announcement of a strategic collaboration between Samsung SDS and Tech Mahindra to develop and promote Nexledger in Indian and global markets, as reported in April 2019. The product offers an open-source, hybrid and private blockchain platform that integrates a set of components including monitoring tools, external linkages and application programming interfaces.

Tech Mahindra and Pega have been jointly developed business products based on Pega’s customer management tools since 2003, the press release notes.

On April 24, 2019, Samsung SDS released a new version of Nexledger Universal, an application programming interface combining the support of multiple blockchains such as Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric and Samsung’s Nexledger Consensus Algorithm.


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Samsung’s software arm Samsung SDS announced a joint blockchain development initiative with Tech Mahindra

UN Partners With NGO to Tokenize Chocolate Bars for Equitable Trade

UN Partners With NGO to Tokenize Chocolate Bars for Equitable Trade

The United Nations Development Programme and the FairChain Foundation are launching a chocolate bar that uses blockchain to promote more equitable funding for farmers

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The United Nations Development Programme has partnered with Dutch NGO the FairChain Foundation to use blockchain for the more equitable funding of cocoa farmers.

According to an Oct. 17 report from SpringWise, the partners will launch a new chocolate bar, made with Ecuadorian-grown cocoa, together with a token-based scheme that allows consumers to contribute directly to cocoa producers. 

Blockchain can “turn every product into a capitalist impact engine”

As the report outlines, each bar — being marketed as “The Other Bar” — contains a QR code within its wrapper that consumers can use to donate a blockchain token directly to farmers.

When scanned, QR code also reveals how much the farmer was paid for the cocoa used to produce their bar, as well as indicating the GPS coordinates of the cacao tree from which the cocoa for their bar was harvested. 

According to SpringWire, while chocolate production represents a $92 billion global industry, farmers currently only receive 3% of the value of the cocoa used for marketed products. Many of them do not earn a living wage.

FairChain’s project aspires to ensure that farmers are better paid for their cocoa, with a target of achieving a price of €3,080 per metric ton for their cocoa. FairTrade reportedly pays farmers €3,080 per metric ton, while commercial buyers pay roughly €1,721.

FairChain Foundation founder Guido van Staveren has said that:

“The whole idea is to use technology to influence consumer behavior and basically turn every product into a capitalist impact engine.”

Donation transparency

Each of the tokens in The Other Bar project is reportedly worth around one-quarter of the value of a cocoa tree. The funding raised will be used to plant new trees, with consumers able to track the impact of their donations using data recorded on the blockchain.

As reported, the UN has long been exploring multiple — largely humanitarian — use cases for blockchain technology, beginning with its use of the Ethereum blockchain to transfer coupons based on cryptocurrencies to refugees in Syria, followed by a blockchain-based digital identity system designed to combat child trafficking globally.

This July, the UN unveiled its research into blockchain solutions to foster sustainable urban development in Afghanistan.

The chief of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Global Cybercrime Program has nonetheless recently warned that decentralized cryptocurrencies have made combating money laundering, cybercrime and terrorism financing significantly harder.


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The United Nations Development Programme and the FairChain Foundation are launching a chocolate bar that uses blockchain to promote more equitable funding for farmers

Ripple Partners With World’s Third-Largest Fintech Firm Finastra

Ripple Partners With World’s Third-Largest Fintech Firm Finastra

Financial software global behemoth Finastra partners with Ripple to give its clients access to the RippleNet payments network

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London-based Finastra — the third-largest financial services technology firm in the world — has partnered with Ripple to grant its customers access to the RippleNet blockchain network.

As reported by the Fintech Times on Oct. 16, the cooperation between the two firms will see Ripple’s over 200 existing clients reciprocally access Finastra’s extensive banking network, which includes 48 of the top 50 banks globally. 

Partnership with a financial software “global behemoth”

Finastra was formed in 2017 after a merger between Misys and D+H, with the development hailed at the time as the establishment of “a global behemoth in the market for financial software.” 

According to the Fintech Times report, Finastra customers and existing RippleNet partners will be able to transact cross-border with end-to-end tracking and transparent oversight of fees, delivery time and status.

Customers will be hosted on Ripple’s cloud solution in order to improve speed, as well as having the option to use Ripple’s XRP-powered On-Demand Liquidity solution, which purportedly offers a 3-second settlement time for international payments.

In a statement, Riteesh Singh — Senior Vice President, FMS, Finastra — said that Finastra’s collaboration with Ripple reflects the company’s “belief that the future of finance is open.” 

He added that the use of blockchain technology would be of particular benefit for clients in jurisdictions where the costs of corresponding banking are high.

High-profile clients, yet community controversies persist

This August, PNC — the United States’ eighth-largest bank, with almost $400 billion in assets — became the country’s first to start using the RippleNet blockchain network for cross-border payments.

With the XRP token’s price nonetheless continuing to lag, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse has responded to a host of Ripple-related controversies in recent interviews, telling Morgan Creek Digital Assets co-founder Anthony Pompliano on Oct. 9 that the company’s transparency had “opened us up to attack.”

In a nod to the ongoing concerns over Ripple’s handling of XRP token sales, Garlinghouse emphasized that Ripple sells XRP at 10 basis points of daily market volume noting that 99.9% of XRP volume is not connected to the company’s sales.


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Financial software global behemoth Finastra partners with Ripple to give its clients access to the RippleNet payments network

CBMI Partners With Sequoia-Backed Startup to Develop DeFi Services

CBMI Partners With Sequoia-Backed Startup to Develop DeFi Services

China Merchants Bank International is partnering with Nervos Network to jointly develop new decentralized finance applications

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China Merchants Bank International (CBMI) is partnering with Nervos Network — a Chinese blockchain startup founded by a former researcher and developer of the Ethereum Foundation.

A press release published on Oct. 3 revealed that the new partnership will focus on jointly developing decentralized finance (DeFi) applications and helping Nervos to grow its network in the financial services industry.

A shift toward decentralization in finance

Nervos Network develops a suite of protocols and public blockchain ecosystem aimed at achieving the security, immutability and permissionless possibilities exemplified by the Bitcoin (BTC) network alongside smart contract functionality, Layer-2 scaling support and token economics. 

Nervos’ Common knowledge base (CKB) is its Layer-1, proof-of-work public and permissionless protocol that will be used as the native architecture for the DeFi applications to be developed with CBMI.

Commenting on the new cooperation, Nervos Network co-founder Kevin Wang claimed:

„The recent wave of high-profile blockchain projects such as Libra and JPM Coin foreshadows a shift in the financial services industry […] our partnership with CMBI will play an important role in modelling the future of decentralized finance and accelerating mainstream blockchain adoption.“

DeFi-focused partnerships

The press release reveals that CBMI’s fund made a strategic investment in Nervos as part of the $28 million it raised in July 2018 to help develop its enterprise blockchain solutions.

The funds were raised from a number of high-profile blockchain investors, including crypto hedge fund Polychain Capital and venture capital firm Sequoia China.

CBMI will also reportedly participate in Nervos’ public token sale for the CKB protocol’s native token CKByte on Oct. 16 via CoinList.

In July 2019, Nervos partnered with major cryptocurrency exchange operator Huobi Group to jointly develop a new public blockchain for DeFi services — Huobi Finance Chain.


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China Merchants Bank International is partnering with Nervos Network to jointly develop new decentralized finance applications

Revolut Partners with Visa to Expand Into North, South America and Asia

Revolut Partners with Visa to Expand Into North, South America and Asia

U.K.-based digital banking app Revolut unveils a major partnership with Visa to expand its services globally across 24 new markets, including North America

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United Kingdom-based digital banking app Revolut announced a major partnership with Visa to expand its services globally across 24 new markets, including North America.

According to a Sept. 30 press release, this will bring 56 markets worldwide in total into Revolut’s reach.

North, Latin American and Asian markets

Per the release, the terms of the agreement stipulate that Revolut will primarily issue Visa-branded cards as it pursues its global expansion push.

Visa will enable the app to launch services initially in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore and the United States.

This first group of jurisdictions will be followed by Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Ukraine and Vietnam.

The strengthened partnership between the two firms builds on their existing cooperation, which saw Revolut first issue Visa cards to its users across Europe in July 2017, says press release.

Revolut to hire 3,500 new staff members

In an interview with Reuters on Sept. 30, Revolut CEO and founder Nikolay Storonsky revealed that the firm will hire some 3,500 new staff members following the new deal, bringing its total workforce to around 5,000.

The Reuters report further indicates that the app’s launch in the U.S. and Singapore is expected by the end of this year, with Canada and Japan to follow. The timeline for expansion to Latin American and Asian markets has not been indicated and all launches remain subject to regulatory approval. 

Storonsky told Reuters that the average Revolut client holds around 1,000 euros ($1,090) in their account. With the app’s 8 million user base, this translates into a total deposit balance of roughly 8 billion euros ($8.74 billion).

Earlier this year, Storonksy was prompted to publicly refute allegations of money laundering breach and negligence by the company. A period of negative publicity was followed by reports from U.K. broadsheets alleging Revolut executives deliberately decommissioned Anti-Money Laundering software in 2017. 

The reports further claimed that the firm attracted the attention of the U.K.’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

In late 2017, Revolut rolled out support for Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC). 

In June, Visa was named as one of the firms to have backed Facebook’s Libra stablecoin project via its membership in a newly-created independent governance consortium — the Libra Association. 

Visa CEO Alfred F. Kelly Jr. subsequently emphasized that the 20-odd companies involved with Libra had reportedly only declared their interest via a nonbinding letter of intent.


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U.K.-based digital banking app Revolut unveils a major partnership with Visa to expand its services globally across 24 new markets, including North America

Ant Financial Partners with Monsanto Owner on Agricultural Blockchain

Ant Financial Partners with Monsanto Owner on Agricultural Blockchain

Alipay operator Ant Financial partners with Monsanto owner Bayer on blockchain solution for the crop industry

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Alipay operator Ant Financial has partnered with pharmaceutical giant Bayer Crop Science, Monsanto’s owner, to develop a blockchain solution for the food and crop industry.

Letter of intent

Enterprise blockchain news outlet Ledger Insights reported on the partnership on Sept. 26, also noting that the two firms signed a letter of intent to develop their solution to increase traceability and transparency. Per the report, the initiative was announced at this week’s Apsara Conference in Hangzhou, China.

Ant Financial also reportedly informed the public that it intends to extend its partnership with Hyperledger to work on interoperability, standards and blockchain applications. According to the report’s author, the firm’s Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) offering supports both its own platform and Hyperledger’s Fabric.

Monsanto to use blockchain?

Bayer, while being best known as a pharmaceutical giant, also acquired United States-based agrochemical company Monsanto for $63 million last year. An Ant Financial representative better illustrated the scope of the initiative:

“[The aim of the partnership is to] create comprehensive, blockchain-based solutions designed to bring greater transparency to improve food safety and the efficiency of agricultural supply chains.”

According to the report, agriculture “is now one of over 40 applications of Ant’s blockchain technology” and the firm also has initiatives in supply chain finance and rice traceability among others.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, Ant Financial is also launching a blockchain-enabled backend-as-a-service platform.


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Alipay operator Ant Financial partners with Monsanto owner Bayer on blockchain solution for the crop industry

Lloyds Bank Partners With Blockchain Platform to Streamline Trade Finance

Lloyds Bank Partners With Blockchain Platform to Streamline Trade Finance

Lloyds Bank partners with blockchain firm Komgo to streamline its commercial bank division

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Lloyds Bank is partnering with blockchain platform Komgo to streamline its commercial banking division.

Blockchain to streamline international trade process

On Sept. 25, United Kingdom financial news outlet FStech reported that Lloyds Bank has partnered with the distributed ledger technology firm Komgo. Lloyds Bank, one of the “Big Four” clearing banks in the U.K., said that it would use Komgo’s platform “to enable quicker international commodity trade finance,” adding:

“Komgo’s DLT platform digitises and streamlines the commodity trade finance process, enabling businesses to quickly and automatically exchange data and associated documents across a wide range of solutions – from letters of credit and KYC management to receivables discounting – in a digital, secure and decentralised way.”

The Komgo platform relies on blockchain technology to optimize financing processes, fight fraud and increase trade efficiencies. The platform is backed by 15 bank and commodities investors, which include ING, ABM Amro, and oil giant Shell. 

Gwynne Master, managing director for Lloyds Bank commercial banking, described the international trade process as cumbersome and time-consuming, adding:

“The process of trading a single commodity can take over 100 days, involves many players, considerable paperwork, and risk. Trade is particularly onerous for our commodities clients, where faster turnaround times and a streamlined channel are key requirements.”

Master added that Lloyds bank decided to work with Komgo to speed up the international trade process for its corporate customers, by “significantly streamlining and digitising the process.” 

Crypto is drawing the attention of big-name banks

In related news, Cointelegraph reported that according to Peter Wuffli — the former CEO of major Swiss multinational investment bank UBS — large banks such as UBS and Credit Suisse are paying more and more attention to the emergent crypto asset space and industry developments, adding :

“From what we hear, interest has clearly picked up since the licenses were granted. Bank executives are asking their middle management to figure out whether this is just another fintech fad that comes and goes, or whether it is really transformational.”


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Lloyds Bank partners with blockchain firm Komgo to streamline its commercial bank division

Cisco Partners With SingularityNET on Decentralized Artificial Intelligence

Cisco Partners With SingularityNET on Decentralized Artificial Intelligence

Cisco has partnered with decentralized AI firm SingularityNET to work on applied Artificial General Intelligence

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Decentralized artificial intelligence (AI) firm SingularityNET and tech conglomerate Cisco have partnered to develop applied artificial general intelligence (AGI) technologies.

AGI is one aspect of AI technology that concentrates on learning the intellectual tasks of which humans are capable. Sometimes referred to as “Strong AI,” AGI emphasizes a machine’s ability to reason in uncertain situations, solve puzzles, plan and communicate in natural language. 

Goertzel also said that the scale of Cisco’s AGI deployments will be a major driver for the firm’s development, stating:

“The work we’ve done with Cisco on smart traffic analytics using OpenCog’s logical reasoning and deep neural networks just scratches the surface.  Let’s just say we have some much broader and deeper conversations going on.” 

Early applications

SingularityNET founder Dr. Ben Goertzel said that initial deployments of AGI may take the form of “Narrow AGI” systems that combine the tech into verticalized markets like advertising, medical research, computer networking and financial analytics.

Indeed, SingularityNET has already applied its technology in certain sectors. In May, the Singapore and Malaysia division of Domino’s Pizza partnered with SingularityNET to use the blockchain-powered AI technology in its supply chain processes.

That same month, Chinese insurance giant Ping An partnered with the firm in a collaboration that will purportedly focus on optical character recognition, computer vision and model training. 

Dr. Goertzel has said that AGI will gain broad traction in the near future, stating, “In 10 years you’re going to see AGIs with IQs higher than humans.”


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Cisco has partnered with decentralized AI firm SingularityNET to work on applied Artificial General Intelligence

Consensys-Backed Identity Platform Partners With PwC

Consensys-Backed Identity Platform Partners With PwC

Consensys-backed firm uPort has partnered with PwC to develop blockchain-based identity management for financial services

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ConsenSys-backed identity management protocol uPort has entered a partnership with Onfido and PwC to develop blockchain-based identity management in the financial services sector in the United Kingdom. 

In a Sept. 23 announcement, Ethereum-based digital identity platform uPort said that it was partnering with ID management firm Onfido and Big Four auditing firm PwC to develop a pilot for decentralized identity management. 

The three firms are exploring how portable identity verification can improve the sign-up process for customers and reduce compliance costs for financial companies. PwC exec Mike Kennelly said:

“It opens up access to financial services, helps reduce fraud and is instrumental in driving more competition into the U.K. banking ecosystem. ​PwC analysis​​ suggests technological step changes in the banking sector could bring a boost of more than £34.6bn to the UK’s economy by 2030.​”

Since the European Union’s Payment Services Directive 2 came into effect, there has purportedly been an increased demand for secure personal data-sharing solutions between financial institutions. Alice Nawfal, the strategy and operations lead at ​uPort​, added:

“Our view is that consumers will eventually be able to build dynamic, robust financial identities based on data from all financial institutions they have accounts at, and be able to port their identities across service providers.”

Blockchain identity systems can be the solution

Cointelegraph previously reported that the use of blockchain in data puts it back in the hands of those who create it. By storing personal data on encrypted, decentralized networks, users are able to grant limited access to third parties using keys in processes that are similar to sending cryptocurrency. 

Alastair Johnson, the CEO of e-commerce payments and ID platform Nuggets, told Cointelegraph that by returning data control to users, blockchain ID systems can both empower individuals and cut administrative costs: 

“A blockchain ID system, conversely, adopts a user-centric approach, eliminating central points of failure by empowering individuals with self-sovereign possession over their own data. A blockchain ID system would not require government bodies to store or share personal information in order for individuals to access services.”


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Consensys-backed firm uPort has partnered with PwC to develop blockchain-based identity management for financial services

MasterCard Partners With Blockchain Firm R3 for Payments Solution

MasterCard Partners With Blockchain Firm R3 for Payments Solution

Mastercard partners with blockchain firm R3 for a cross-border payments solution

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Mastercard partnered with blockchain firm R3 to develop a cross-border payment solution.

According to a Mastercard press release published on Sept. 1, the two firms plan to pilot a new blockchain-enabled cross-border payment solution. The system will reportedly focus on connecting global faster payments infrastructures, schemes and banks.

Multiple ways to move money

Per the release, the announcement is part of Mastercard’s plans to strengthen its cross border payments network, building on its acquisition of global payments company Transfast earlier this year. 

The partnership with R3 is part of the payment giant’s multi-rail strategy, which sees customers choosing how their funds should be moved. 

Mastercard executive vice president of new payment platforms Peter Klein commented on the development:

“Developing a new and better cross-border B2B payments solution by improving worldwide connectivity in the account-to-account space is central to Mastercard’s ambition. Our goal is to deliver global payment infrastructure choice and connectivity as demonstrated through our recent strategic acquisitions and partnerships, including our relationship with R3.”

Mastercard’s interest in blockchain

The partnership builds on the previous relations between the two companies, which publicly manifested also earlier this month when Mastercard joined R3’s Corda-powered Marco Polo Network for trade finance.

Mastercard also showed interest in the cryptocurrency space in August, when the company appeared to be angling to enter the crypto wallet space with new job ads for blockchain and cryptocurrency-related product development.


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Mastercard partners with blockchain firm R3 for a cross-border payments solution

Bitcoin Exchange PrimeXBT Partners With Bitfury to Ensure Compliance

Bitcoin Exchange PrimeXBT Partners With Bitfury to Ensure Compliance

Bitcoin exchange PrimeXBT announced that it partnered with blockchain development firm Bitfury to ensure compliance

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Bitcoin (BTC) exchange PrimeXBT announced that it partnered with blockchain development firm Bitfury in order to ensure regulatory compliance.

According to a press release published on Sept. 9, PrimeXBT will be using Bitfury’s blockchain analytics and cryptocurrency compliance software Crystal. The exchange hopes that the implementation will heighten its Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism policies, as well as improve client security. A PrimeXBT official said:

“As a responsible member of the global financial community we are faced with the important yet challenging task of eliminating money laundering, without sacrificing the privacy of our clients.”

PrimeXBT claims that suing Crystal will ensure that all procedures comply with global regulations. An algorithm developed by Bitfury will assign a risk score to all deposits coming into the exchange and blockchain analytics will issue a warning if the assets are tied to any known bad actors or crimes.

BitFury deploys AI for its own operations

As Cointelegraph reported in August, BitFury launched an artificial intelligence (AI) development unit. Bitfury chief executive officer and co-founder Valery Vavilov reportedly said that the company’s AI initiative is motivated by the need to analyze and extract information from great quantities of data.

Vavilov stated that, while the firm is still developing its AI unit, it expects to have more information regarding AI-enabled products sometime next year.


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Bitcoin exchange PrimeXBT announced that it partnered with blockchain development firm Bitfury to ensure compliance

TruTrace Partners With Deloitte to Track Cannabis Using Blockchain

TruTrace Partners With Deloitte to Track Cannabis Using Blockchain

Blockchain startup TruTrace partnered with Big Four auditing firm Deloitte to track cannabis using blockchain tech

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Blockchain tracking startup TruTrace Technologies Inc. partnered with Big Four auditing firm Deloitte to track cannabis using blockchain technology.

Investing news outlet ProactiveInvestors reported on Sept. 4 that TruTrace is launching its StrainSecure product in partnership with Deloitte. The system in question reportedly employs blockchain technology to track cannabis from seed to sale, in order to guarantee that customers and retailers know the history of the product.

TruTrace CEO Robert Galarza said that the new system will bring more transparency to the cannabis industry.

The partnership with Deloitte will purportedly help the product reach a wider base of stakeholders since the firm claims to serve 80% of Fortune Global 500 companies through its network of member firms worldwide. 

Blockchain tech for cannabis supply chains

This is not the first initiative that aims to employ decentralized ledger technologies in the cannabis industry. As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, Australian Securities Exchange-listed firm Security Matters has filed a patent application in the United States for a blockchain system to securely manage the cannabis supply chain.

In June, Canadian pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart partnered with TruTrace to launch a pilot program for the cannabis supply chain. The program will track various medical cannabis strains and will purportedly allow doctors to issue more effective prescriptions and provide better information for medical marijuana clinical trials.


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Blockchain startup TruTrace partnered with Big Four auditing firm Deloitte to track cannabis using blockchain tech

Ethereum Classic Partners With Blockchain Developer and Media DApp

Ethereum Classic Partners With Blockchain Developer and Media DApp

Ethereum Classic Labs has sealed the deal on new partnerships with iZbreaker and Second State

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Ethereum Classic Labs, a core Ethereum Classic development and accelerator organization, announced partnerships with social media dApp iZbreaker and blockchain infrastructure developer Second State.

Second State will build the next generation Ethereum infrastructure

On Sept. 1, the developer and maintainer of the Ethereum Classic blockchain said that they had partnered with blockchain infrastructure developer, Second State.

Per the announcement, the partnership “will bring high-impact enhancements into the ETC ecosystem” is intended to create an open-source toolchain and runtime software that powers the next generation of Ethereum-compatible blockchains.

Michael Yuan, CEO of Second State, said that they: 

“Are proud to be part of the development effort to make Ethereum Classic the most technically advanced and developer friendly blockchain in the world.”

Partnership with social media dApp iZbreaker

On Aug. 28, Ethereum Classic Labs also announced a partnership with social media dApp iZbreaker, an invite-only, secure community for connecting people with a three-degree network of friends-of-friends. Its website said:

“Get ready for a brand new way of connecting with others in a world full of information overflow, commercial bias, and untrustworthy online spaces.”

The announcement went on to explain that Ethereum Classic Labs will provide development resources to build the social media dApp and use its technical and marketing expertise to create and launch a new decentralized application.

The CEO and founder of iZbreaker, Count Erik Wachtmeister, addressed the latest developments and said:

“The main mission of iZbreaker is to ‘amplify serendipity.’ So much of social media is about focusing on other people’s past. iZbreaker is about paying attention to our own future and capturing the opportunities around us.”


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Ethereum Classic Labs has sealed the deal on new partnerships with iZbreaker and Second State

Fintech Firm Partners With R3 to Develop Shariah-Compliant Market Platform

Fintech Firm Partners With R3 to Develop Shariah-Compliant Market Platform

R3 partners with Dubai based fintech firm Wethaq as it builds a Corda-based Islamic securities platform

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Dubai-based fintech company Wethaq has entered into a strategic partnership with enterprise software firm R3, in order to create a platform for issuing and trading sukuk securities based on R3’s Corda offering. 

A platform for Islamic securities

According to a press release on Aug. 28, Wethaq’s platform is built on R3’s open source enterprise blockchain platform Corda, and the company has been taking steps to ensure that it is likewise compliant with Sharia Law.

Wethaq’s platform is reportedly designed to improve the market infrastructure for issuing and trading sukuk securities. Sukuk is heavily regulated and demands a considerable amount of time for issuance. Wethaq hopes to automate and streamline this process, as well as the entire sukuk lifecycle, per the announcement.

Sukuk is a type of financial certificate similar to a bond that complies with Islamic Sharia Law. Sukuks differ from traditional bonds in that they denote partial ownership in an asset, whereas bonds are a debt obligation. Since sukuks share the risk of the backing asset, the holder is not guaranteed to receive back their initial investment. 

R3 CEO David Rutter spoke about the partnership, saying that R3 believes Corda could modernize the economy in Saudia Arabia and the Middle East at large. Wethaq CEO Mohammed Alsehli also commented on the partnership, discussing the two firms’ overarching goals, saying:

“Our joint focus is on building world-class financial infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, in alignment with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and the UAE, pursuant to their ambitious fintech agenda, before we expand to the entire Middle East and Southeast Asia.”

Stellar: another Sharia-compliant platform

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Ripple-based platform Stellar said in July 2018 that it was the first distributed ledger protocol to obtain Sharia compliance certification, for the money transfer and asset tokenization field. Stellar was approved by the  Shariyah Review Bureau — an international Sharia agency licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain.

Cryptocurrency NOORCOIN was certified with a Sharia Certificate from the World Sharia Advisory Committee before Stellar back in March. At the time, NOORCOIN declared itself as “the first sharia-compliant utility token.”


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R3 partners with Dubai based fintech firm Wethaq as it builds a Corda-based Islamic securities platform

US Air Force Partners With Blockchain Big Data Management Platform

US Air Force Partners With Blockchain Big Data Management Platform

The United States Air Force has partnered with blockchain big data management startup Constellation

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The United States Air Force (USAF) partnered with blockchain big data management startup Constellation.

According to a Constellation press release published on Aug. 27, the startup signed a working contract with the USAF. The U.S. Air Force better explains the scope of the partnership in the following statement:

“Air Force Research Laboratory and AFWERX have partnered to streamline the Small Business Innovation Research process in an attempt to speed up the experience, broaden the pool of potential applicants and decrease bureaucratic overhead.”

“A big need within the defense apparatus”

VP of Business Development at Constellation Benjamin Diggles — who’s responsible for the partnership — further notes that the USAF has many data sources that need to be secured, such as drones, planes and satellites. 

He also adds that “clean and consolidated data that can be queried instantly is a big need within the defense apparatus.“

Data from different sources are disconnected, complex and requires significant manpower to handle forensics, planning and collection. Constellation says it can provide a scalable and decentralized secure data management platform that can be integrated with both legacy and future data types. The company also claims:

“Constellation provides decentralized security not only to Air Force data pipelines, with encryption, but also creates audit trails and a live overview of the status of any data source.”

As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, the USAF also partnered with smart contract startup SIMBA Chain to provide the blockchain-based platform that will be used to secure its supply chain. 


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The United States Air Force has partnered with blockchain big data management startup Constellation