Lira Hoists Trading at Turkey Crypto Exchange

Lira Hoists Trading at Turkey Crypto Exchange

Trading volume on Turkey’s cryptocurrency exchange buoyed after the Turkish lira plummeted to an all-time low on economic woes.

Volume at Turkish bourses Btcturk, Koinim, and Paribu leaped by more than 100 percent over the last 24 hours. Btcturk and Paribu soared 130.92 percent and 107.93 percent, respectively. However, absolute volumes remain relatively small at these exchanges, with Btcturk, the country’s biggest crypto bourse, facilitating $11.6 million worth of trades.

This, after the lira hit a record low against the US dollar as as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s economic concerns, his worsening relationship with US President Donald Trump, and his government’s capacity to repay debts sparked global market worries.

During his public appearances, Erdogan stressed economic war with the United States and urged Turkish people to exchange any US dollars, euros, or gold in their possession to give a lift to the country’s fiat currency. He wants citizens to convert foreign investments into local currency.

Turkish lawmakers are considering the institution of a national cryptocurrency. But this may cause local crypto bourses to worry more if politicians become anxious of the bitcoin’s rise. Aside from Turkey, Iran is also looking at the likelihood of creating a centralized virtual currency to bolster its economy.

Turkish banks usually transact with exchanges, lowering the barriers for users to enter the global market. But in the case of Iran, retail investors oftentimes turn to in-person swaps and peer-to-peer exchanges such as LocalBitcoins because they are prohibited by international sanctions and local censorship to get into global platforms.

Uncertainties in Turkey have prodded investors to turn to digital currencies such as bitcoin despite the sector being in the bear market this year. “Every day there are new [bitcoin] exchanges coming up in Turkey,” a local university student who refused to reveal his identity but has a Twitter account (username: Bit_gossip).

“I started personally trading crypto 1.5 years ago because of the weakness of the Turkish lira, and fear of the political, and financial, status of the Turkish government. Cryptocurrency makes me feel much safer,” according to Bitmov, a pseudonym for an affiliate marketing professional in Istanbul. He said he has been using bitcoin to purchase digital ads abroad for more than three years. His family and friends now ask him questions on how to buy bitcoin.

Like Bitmov, who has lost his confidence on fiat currencies, Bunyamin Yavuz, a cardiologist in Ankara, said he is now buying virtual currencies including XRP, monero, and lumens as part of his investment portfolio. Currently, his holdings comprise of cryptocurrencies (30 percent), US dollars (20 percent), and lira (10 percent).

“Most Turkish crypto traders (hodlers actually) started in late 2017, or the first quarter of 2018, and they got rekt,” Bit_gossip, who is operating crypto Discord channel since 2016 which has expanded its presence to 11,294 Turkish-speaking members, explained. He said bitcoin purchases would be even brisker if not for the fear of scams and volatility.

There are rumors that Turkish banks may soon end support for customers with savings in US dollars. “If your national currency is falling like this … or you don’t trust centralized currencies and banks, what can you do? You should be your own bank, and I’m sure people all around the world will realize that soon,” Bitmov said.

Also, the government may follow suit in restricting access if bitcoin exchanges grow too swiftly. But Yavuz said “it will be the end of our economic growth” should that happen.

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Asia Crypto Valley to Rise in PH

Asia Crypto Valley to Rise in PH

The Philippines is currently establishing the Crypto Valley of Asia, akin to a crypto and financial technology (fintech) hub in Zug, Switzerland, in a move to promote a fintech ecosystem and lure global blockchain companies.

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) has collaborated with Northern Star Gaming & Resorts Inc. to develop the region’s crypto valley in the country as part of the government’s plan to “foster a fintech ecosystem [to] attract international blockchain companies to set up shop in the country,” a local report said.

“The CVA will consist of a 25-shop housing development inside the cyberpark developed in compliance with the strict security requirements for licensed overseas virtual exchanges (OVEs) located in CEZA. It will include co-working and living spaces, business incubation and acceleration hubs as well as back offices of OVEs and service providers to the global crypto space,” e27 reported.

“The goal is for the CVA to generate an economic boom that will allow more Filipinos to pursue careers in technology,” e27 conveyed, adding that third-party business providers (BPOs) will generate more jobs to the area.

The infrastructure shall attract more foreign investors and international fintech players to the country, as well as help the country “become one of the major offshoring destinations for fintech and blockchain related work,” according to Raul Lambino, CEZA administrator and chief executive officer.

Northern Star has pledged to invest $100 million over the next 10 years and has already obtained funds from various regional and global firms which will be located within the crypto zone, the report added.

“Crypto Valley of Asia and CEZA will put the Philippines on the global map of fintech and blockchain. Similar to other progressive jurisdictions such as Zug of Switzerland, we will create an environment that fosters innovation, entrepreneurship and critical skills development thru education and BPO training,” Enrique Gonzalez, Northern Star chairman, said.

He added: “with strong global partners that have confirmed entry into our master-planned development, we are confident in the continued momentum in positioning the Philippines as the leading destination for blockchain offshoring.”

Earlier, the CEZA said it is expecting to earn about P3.6 billion or $68 million from the initial 25 offshore financial technology and virtual currency firms seeking to operate in the country’s economic zone.

CEZA Administrator Raul Lambino explained at that time the estimated profit included the $1 million (P53.42 million) each firm had pledged to invest and excluded is on top of the 0.1 percent share for each transaction value of registered digital coin exchanges.

The interest expressed by offshore companies to operate in CEZA “surpassed all our expectations,” Lambino said, adding that fintech operations are expected to create an initial 20,000 jobs.

“The overwhelming interest by offshore firms in financial technology solutions and cryptocurrency trading wanting to [operate in] the Cagayan Special Economic Zone has supassed all our expectations,” Lambino said.

Meanwhile, CEZA reported 17 firms have already paid in full and 19 more are in the pipeline.

“17 fintech and offshore virtual currency firms have already paid in full the application and license fees for the digital coin trading under Ceza … 19 companies are in the pipeline to pay their application and license fees to CEZA,” he added.

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PH Economic Zone Sees $68M Crypto Gains

PH Economic Zone Sees $68M Crypto Gains

The Philippines’ economic zone is projecting to generate approximately $68 million from the issuance of crypto licenses.

In a statement, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) said it is expecting to earn about P3.6 billion or $68 million from the initial 25 offshore financial technology and virtual currency firms seeking to operate in the country’s economic zone.

CEZA Administrator Raul Lambino explained the estimated profit included the $1 million (P53.42 million) each firm had pledged to invest and excluded is on top of the 0.1 percent share for each transaction value of registered digital coin exchanges.

The interest expressed by offshore companies to operate in CEZA “surpassed all our expectations,” Lambino said, adding that fintech operations are expected to create an initial 20,000 jobs.

CEZA said the income from crypto license applications and fees surpassed 2017 revenue by over 50 percent. It booked earnings of P205.97 million from these companies in end-June, increasing its total revenue by 219 percent to P340.62 million in the first six months of the year from P106.76 million in the same period last year.

It also exceeded the P224.54 million reaped by the agency, primarily from online gaming businesses, in 2017.

“The overwhelming interest by offshore firms in financial technology solutions and cryptocurrency trading wanting to [operate in] the Cagayan Special Economic Zone has supassed all our expectations,” Lambino said.

Meanwhile, CEZA reported 17 firms have already paid in full and 19 more are in the pipeline.

“17 fintech and offshore virtual currency firms have already paid in full the application and license fees for the digital coin trading under Ceza … 19 companies are in the pipeline to pay their application and license fees to CEZA,” Lambino said.

Earlier, CEZA awarded a license to Liannet Technology Ltd., a unit of the Apsaras Group. The first one was given to Hong Kong company Golden Millennial Quickplay Inc. in June. “Other firms that had already paid fees to operate in Ceza were Formosa Financial Holdings, Sino-Phil Economic Zone Agency Development and Management Corp., Asia-Pacific International Ltd., Hong Kong Yuen Shing-Hong Ltd., Tanzer Inc. and Rare Earth,” a local report said.

The economic zone said at that time it would release 25 licenses enabling firms “to establish a financial tech, crypto, and blockchain office” at the zone. Originally, it intended to issue only 10 licenses.

“Each crypto exchange will be required to invest at least USD1 million or around PHP53 million within two years and it must have a back office in the Philippines. Firms must also be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission,” Lambino had said at the Global Blockchain Summit.

“Although CEZA will only issue 25 licenses, each exchange will have 20 to 30 sub-licenses for traders and brokers,” Lambino clarified. As of writing, CEZA has already received over 60 applications.
“There are many operating scammers who set up an exchange with very little capital and they are victimizing investors…We do not want the Philippines to be a haven for scammers even if these scams are happening abroad. That’s why through our probity and integrity check we can determine if their transactions are just designed to entice unsuspecting people to invest in bitcoin or whatever crypto coin that is a fraud,” he explained.

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Thailand to Oversee Token Offerings

Thailand to Oversee Token Offerings

Thailand has bolstered its oversight powers to initial coin offerings (ICOs) after the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently unveiled its new regulations governing token offerings and those who can participate in ICOs in the country. 

New regulations will take effect beginning July 16, according to local media reports. 

For those who plan “to launch an ICO must undergo screening from an ICO portal. So, initially, the SEC will first approve ICO portals,” Rapee Sucharitakul, secretary-general of the Thai SEC, said in a statement. Any platform seeking to run an ICO platform must seek the Thai watchdog’s approval. 

Approval process for ICOs may last for 60 to 90 days. Upon securing the regulatory approval, the Thai SEC will start taking in applications “for the issuance and sale of digital tokens,” he said. 

A report by the Bangkok Post said an applicant should have a registered capital of at least 5 million Thai baht ($150,636). ICO portals should also reveal investors’ identity, status, and risk-taking capacity. 

“ICO portals’ management structure and personnel must be adequate for business operations. They are also required to be prepared to evaluate ICO issuers’ business plans and the distribution structure of digital tokens as well as perform checks to ensure that computer code, or source code, matches the disclosed information,” the report added. 

The SEC said prospective issuers of virtual token should be a registered entity under existing laws and be able to offer such services to all types of investors. “Issuers of such tokens can accept baht or cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, ethereum classic, litecoin, ripple and stellar,” the watchdog told Reuters. 

Investing in ICOs is open to any investor provided that investor meets the requirements set forth by the Thai SEC, which divided the ICO participants into four groups. 

The first group is institutional investors, while the second group is ultra-high net worth investors who have a net worth of at least 70 million baht or $2.1 million, or investment of at least 25 million baht or $752,785. The third group is venture capitalists and private equity companies, while the last one is retail investors with an investment of 300,000 baht or $9,034 each and per ICO project. 

In terms of taxation, the country’s finance ministry had said it would levy a 15 percent withholding tax on earnings from virtual tokens and digital currency trades. It is on top of the 7-percent value-added tax although general investors will no longer need to pay taxes. 

“The Revenue Department will waive value-added tax for people trading in cryptocurrencies on exchange markets approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),” Saroch Thongpracum, director of legal affairs of the country’s Revenue Department, said in May. Saroch added this would alleviate the tax burden of general investors. 

The Thai regulator “is pleased to immediately discuss details with those who would like to be approved as ICO portals in order for them to be prepared for the regulatory framework,” the news item said, quoting Rapee.

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Malta: Lovely Sanctuary for Crypto Firms

Malta: Lovely Sanctuary for Crypto Firms

Malta, an island country located in the Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast, is positioning itself as a safe haven for cryptocurrency exchanges with its arguably the “most forward-thinking regulatory agenda.” 

The European state has managed to attract numerous blockchain businesses including cryptocurrency exchange Binance and equity fundraising platform Neufund, according to Marlene Ronstedt, who used to work as a writer and journalist. 

This made Malta the top ‘tourist destination’ for crypto trading based on a recent study by Morgan Stanley, Ronstedt said in her article published on CoinDesk. 

“Malta has achieved this in part by removing regulatory uncertainty. Also, in contrast to other jurisdictions, Maltese legislators understand that blockchain is much more than just cryptocurrencies. And Malta is not simply being lenient to attract business, which could be said of Zug, Switzerland – whose loose interpretation of what constitutes a non-profit attracted many crypto companies, which fundraised in the name of the social good to skirt U.S. securities law,” Ronstedt said. 

In the early part of 2018, the country released its legal framework defining decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) as a new type of legal entity dubbed as technology arrangements. It also enacted a legislation called the Technology Arrangement Bill and the Virtual Currencies Bill. The government would also create a new regulatory body known as the Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA). 

MDIA will be responsible for auditing the code of smart contracts instead of issuing licenses, as well as determining whether a certain entity has met all the requirements for securing a licenses from them. It will also audit the code of DAOs and confer the classification of a “technology arrangement,” which is akin to a limited company. This title is a legal architecture giving a DAO rights similar to a registered firm. However, DAO doesn’t need any managerial oversight. 

The process is done through the “financial service test” to find out whether a particular financial product or business falls under the existing European MIFID framework. If that product fails the test, the MDIA is handling the licensing of a business and auditing code being examined by third parties to avert any form of ‘bottlenecks’ since a lot of companies are expected to line up to get their licenses. 

This legal arrangement, which never existed in most parts of the world, may open the box for questions. 

“The task wasn’t just limited to creating an artificial legal personality, we also had to analyse how the technology has come about and predict how it might evolve,” Abdalla Kablan, a Maltese fintech entrepreneur and blockchain expert, explained. He has been advising the government and wrote parts of the legislation. 

“The idea was to get the public to become aware and understand that it may be beneficial to society as a whole to recognize that a technology arrangement could indeed operate better and more safely if it had a legal personality allowing it to take into consideration all the rights and remedies in case of financial or even ‘physical’ harm, to all those around it,” Kablan said. 

Whilst Malta is ensuring its future though laws, it has presented some implications for the crypto community wherein autonomous robots can possibly run operations as “legal personas.” 

“Consider this: A DAO can do the same things a corporation can, but instead of shareholder resolutions or management actions, the decisions are made and executed by artificial intelligence and smart contracts,” Ronstedt said. 

Ronstedt explained that like any other legal person, a Maltese DAO incorporated as a ‘technology arrangement’ entity could purchase a real estate property in another European country. 

“The moment the law was be enacted in June, a Maltese DAO could legally acquire land in all other 27 EU member states. Due to an EU treaty, member states are obliged to acknowledge the existence of legal entities or legal personas from other member states,” she said. 

This means Germany, France, and other European Union nations cannot prohibit robots, artificial intelligence, or software from acquiring lands or sealing a deal. Moreover, they cannot simply erase legal personalities from its member countries. 

At present, the EU has no legal framework governing activities driven by the blockchain technology even though European authorities are considering to institute such a regulation. 

In the event a blockchain-related law has been enacted, Ronstedt raised the question of whether Malta would be able to maintain its status as the blockchain capital. 

“Definitely, we think. Beyond the law, the country is working on creating an entire blockchain ecosystem. This includes new programs and departments at universities, as well as co-working spaces aimed at blockchain companies,” she said. 

“Even the bravest projects, tech-related or not, require the right environment to grow bigger and stronger and we are determined to offer that environment in Malta,” Silvio Schembri, Malta’s Junior Minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, said.

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South Africa Rolls Out Blockchain-Based Payment Scheme

South Africa Rolls Out Blockchain-Based Payment Scheme

South Africa’s central bank has unveiled its payment system driven by blockchain, the institution said in a statement on Tuesday. 

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) launched its Project Khokha, a proof-of-concept (PoC) devised “to simulate a ‘real-world’ trial of a distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based wholesale payment system,” adding the central bank managed to attain their goals. 

This interbank payment scheme is built on Quorum, a private blockchain based on ethereum, which utilizes Istanbul Byzantine Fault Tolerance (IBFT), Pedersen commitments, and range proofs to look into resilience, scalability, confidentiality, and finality of the platform. 

The project centered on giving seven participating banks practical experience on different uses of DLT in a realistic test environment by using various deployment models. 

Blockchain incubator ConsenSys and global audit and accounting company PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. (PwC) are SARB’s technical and support partners, respectively, for this initiative. 

According to the SARB, it coordinated with the country’s Real Time Gross Settlement System (SAMOS), which operates round-the-clock, for up-to-date settlement of all interbank obligations in central-bank money. 

Each bank is responsible for modifying its own node on the network and would mint tokens on a blockchain, instead of producing money to settle all these obligations. 

It tested two encryption methods: Pedersen commitments and range proofs. SARB stated it has never been done on a Quorum network using IBFT. 

According to a ConsenSys representative, these methods maintain balances in a random number format to be able to conceal the balance of these participants. 

For that matter, the central bank would integrate a decrypting key for liquidity monitoring and regulatory oversight purposes. 

Since both methods are moving swiftly, the pilot project managed to facilitate SAMOS’ huge payments transaction volumes throughout distributed sites within the indicated timeframe.  

SARB’s report, however, noted the program could “have considerable implications.” 

“If one starts from the point where money is tokenized…and then represented on a DLT system, then this system can be developed to enable other uses beyond wholesale settlement. Examples include the exchange of tokenized money for other tokenized assets, like bonds or securities.” 

While investigating blockchain’s potential, SARB has recently declared that cryptocurrencies are “cyber-tokens” since they “don’t meet the requirements of money,” it added.  

Two months ago, the SARB formed a self-regulatory organization to supervise advancements in the cryptocurrency arena to avert “systemic risk.”

The central bank, however, emphasized it was vigilant not to “throttle growth” in the booming industry. 

The said organization, according to Bridget King, the central bank’s director of banking practice, would come up with its own guidelines and standards to avoid systemic risk while allowing the nation’s burgeoning crypto sector to remain competitive across the globe. 

“Regulating cryptocurrencies prematurely could have the negative consequence of throttling the growth and innovation of the industry. In addition, if laws are drafted based on existing technology, which is still in its growth phase, there is a risk that the technology may have moved so much by the time the legislation is enacted, that the legislation is obsolete or requires updating almost immediately to align with the latest technology,” King said at that time.

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Dubai Using Blockchain to Find ‘Happy Place’ in World Economy

Dubai Using Blockchain to Find 'Happy Place' in World Economy

Dubai is doing everything in its might to secure its rightful place in the world economy using the blockchain technology to streamline processes in the global trading system. 

Together with the Dubai Future Foundation, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) crafted the Digital Silk Road project aimed at removing major intricacies and weaknesses seen in the current global trading setup. 

The project shall utilize blockchain technology in an encrypted manner to develop a secure, advanced, and environmental-friendly platform. This will overcome hurdles including high fees, insufficient security in business dealings, and diversification of legislation. 

“It enables devices to interact directly with each other and improves the knowledge of assets and liabilities, as well as the possibility of creating applications such as smart contracts, digital portfolios, safe digital transfer of assets and information,” Khaleej Times, an English newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, said in its report. 

Essentially, the project wants to improve transparency of supply chains through digital transformation and process automation, allowing businesses to fine-tune the efficiency of their operations, transactions, and lower the trade of fictitious products. 

This is one of the Dubai 10X initiatives revealed by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees during the World Government Summit in February this year. 

In a nutshell, Dubai 10X revolves around “smart and sustainable city” and “pivotal hub in the global economy,” which, according to DCCI President and Chief Executive Officer Hamad Buamim, will reinforce Dubai’s standing as one of the most vital business hubs in the world. 

“The Dubai 10X approach offers a way to overcome all the challenges and current constraints facing the trade sector by introducing a unique system. We have been able to develop a project that is aligned with the vision of the initiative and meets Dubai’s need for a platform that facilitates more cost-efficient, safer and faster trading. We can avoid all obstacles and unnecessary procedures and enhance our role as a trading chamber by using the latest technologies such as blockchain,” Buamim said. 

Some entities in the crypto industry is lauding the country for undertaking blockchain-oriented projects in a prominent manner. The project, which sounds like Silk Road, has nothing to do with the dark web marketplace or peer-to-peer trading. 

Generally speaking, blockchain can assume a critical role in reshaping global trading. The foundation hopes such a project will create a positive impact on the global crypto industry. 

Established in 1965, the DCCI is a non-profit organization tasked to support and protect the interest of business in Dubai. The chamber was established by the virtue of a decree promulgated the late Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who realized how a chamber of commerce could shape the national economy. 

Meanwhile, the chamber recently sealed the deal for co-hosting the World Chambers Congress three years from now, besting other institutions including the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce, the Iran Chamber of Commerce, and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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Xi: Blockchain an Economic ‘Breakthrough’

Xi: Blockchain an Economic ‘Breakthrough’

Chinese President Xi Jinping said blockchain is making an economic breakthroughs, recognizing the potential of this technology in public for the first time. 

The new generation of information technology represented by artificial intelligence, quantum information, mobile communication, internet of things, and blockchain accelerate the breakthrough in application and bred new life science fields represented by synthetic biology, gene editing, brain science, and regenerative medicine,” Xi said in a gathering in China. 

“Since entering the 21st century, global scientific and technological innovation has entered an unprecedented period of intensive activity. A new round of scientific and technological revolutions and industrial changes are reconstructing the global innovation map and reshaping the global economic structure,” he added. 

Blockchain plays a vital part in the technology revolution which China should seize to flourish in the global economy, the Chinese leader told delegates of the 19th Academician Meeting of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the 14th Academician Meeting of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. 

To achieve this objective, China will put up national laboratories with high standards to further research and development of technology infrastructure. 

Xi, however, did not provide additional information on how the country intends to utilize blockchain to attain its goals. 

It can be recalled the Chinese government, through People’s Bank of China, banned cryptocurrencies last September by closing local virtual currency exchanges and ordering commercial banks to prohibit transactions done with crypto brokerages. 

Despite the crackdown on digital currencies, the Xi administration and some conglomerates including Alibaba and Tencent have continued their work on the development of blockchain and decentralized platforms which could improve the economy and shape the global financial structure. 

Xi’s statement comes after Hangzhou Blockchain Industrial Park unveiled a policy which aims to provide millions of dollars in subsidies to tap more highly-skilled people and startup companies. 

Under the new policy, the enterprise zone is supporting talented more individuals and startups by providing a subsidy worth up to 3 million Chinese yuan, or about $490,000, as a resettlement allowance. 

To attract them to establish their own offices at the Hangzhou complex, the new guidelines have introduced four primary types of subsidies to new firms. 

Earlier, the Chinese government’s central administrative branch stated how it intends to implement the technology.  

China’s State Council earlier mandated Guangdong Free-trade Zone to fast-track bloockchain’s application and development as part of the region’s economic reform.  

One aspect of the initiative is fast-tracking the development of financial technologies, which entails the expedition of “developing and implementing blockchain applications under existing regulatory frameworks,” based on the document. 

This is part of an information technology reformation strategy as outlined in China’s 13th five-year economic development plan covering the years 2016 to 2020. 

“To build a regional equity market in Guangdong, according to the opening up of the capital market, timely introduction of Hong Kong, Macao and international investment institutions to participate in transactions. We will vigorously develop financial technology and accelerate the research and application of blockchain and big data technologies under the premise of legal compliance,” the agency had stated in its order. 

That order also involved certain areas in which blockchain development is needed for the inception of “financial technologies” where the distributed ledger technology can be utilized with the current regulations. 

This was first released by the State Council earlier this month to provincial and municipal governments to address various strategies necessary to continue the improvement of the Guangdong free-trade zone in the Asian nation. 

According to recent data released by China’s Ministry of Information and Technology show the Guangdong province houses 71 blockchain startup firms, a number which comprises 16 percent of industry players in the Asian country. 

It has previously been said Chinese officials will aggressively advance the development blockchain for them to exhibit how the country could headline the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the evolution of such an emerging technology in the world today.

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United Kingdom may be too slow in noticing the huge potential

United Kingdom may be too slow in noticing the huge potential

The United Kingdom may be too slow in noticing the huge potential of blockchain because of the continuous ascendance of major banks. 

Some players told the Financial Times that Britain seems to be “missing the boat” in terms of the institutional money entering into crypto finance despite a successful fintech startups scene, an established trading ecosystem, and a pivotal role in the conventional fiat currencies market.  

British banks are expected to join the virtual currency market in 2019, David Mercer, chief executive officer of UK-based LMAX Exchange, said. “London is very bank-driven and we see it as being a late adopter,” he added.  

“Banks have been unusually strict in dealings with crypto,” Max Boonen, CEO of cryptocurrency market maker B2C2, said.  

“It’s nearly impossible to open an account for crypto in the UK. The problem is that in the UK there is a perception that banks have issues with anti-money laundering and decided to be a lot more conservative,” the former Goldman Sachs trader added.  

Some noted there are certain factors that support the country’s position in this market. But others claimed the matter is highlighted too much. 

“The City of London, taken as a whole, has the collective experience to make considered and forward-thinking decisions. This experience manifests itself in many ways, from the efficiency of trade execution to KYC & AML regulations and from the strength of our legal system to our culture of effective corporate governance,” Nauman Anees, co-founder of multi-asset financial & cryptocurrency trading exchange Think Coin, told  

These are the reasons why Britain dominates the global foreign exchange markets, and it is unthinkable the country will not continue to be one of the key players in the crypto field.  

“London is the dominant player in global financial markets thanks to the strength of its regulatory infrastructure and position as a gateway and conduit between every key global market – and while the crypto markets are novel in many ways, these key contextual advantages still apply. Moreover, events in recent years show the crypto space is one where ‘first mover advantage’ does not apply. Repeated hacks of key exchanges along with the slow pace of international regulation has meant that many ‘early adopters’ have not been positioned to fully develop and grow with the market, meaning that a more cautious approach will likely prove to pay the biggest dividends later,” he added.  

The idea of a corporate resistance to the adoption of bitcoin, ethereum, and its counterparts is misleading. 

“Most of the major investment banks have opened crypto desks, and the ones which haven’t already announced are undoubtedly experimenting behind the scenes,” Anees explained.

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MIT Explores Bitcoin Lightning Network to Handle Huge Transactions

MIT Explores Bitcoin Lightning Network to Handle Huge Transactions

A work is underway to take bitcoin to the next level.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is currently experimenting on bitcoin lightning network powered with smart contracts to exhibit how it can facilitate not only huge volume of transactions, but do so with a high-level complexity.

Digital Currency Initiative (DCI), the research group of the university’s MIT Media Lab, revealed last week it has been working on a lightning network node. DCI visualizes a system in which transactions would automatically occur in the event of external events or factors such as the movement in the stock markets worldwide.

For the research project, the group will do so by using oracles, trusted entities responsible for transmitting data to smart contracts. Researchers Tadge Dryja and Alin Dragos developed a test oracle to broadcast any data. This is a standalone feature in which any data can be sent such as the latest price of the US dollar, weather forecast, or stock market data, to satoshis on the smart contracts. Satoshis is the smallest unit of bitcoins.

The oracle is necessary for MIT researchers to implement the lightning network called lit.

Dragos and other MIT researchers believe that bitcoin, with the help of lightning network, might level up the capabilities initially envisaged by its previous users. Bitcoin alone cannot give off the scaling it desires. To boost the virtual currency’s scalability, they thought of adding lightning network.

According to Dragos, while smart contracts are normally associated with ethereum that has a richer scripting language, bitcoin is able to do similar things. He said incorporating bitcoin entails a tinge of creativity, adding bitcoin is not as developer-friendly.

In the case of smart contracts, one can make a bid on what can happen next in, say, on what can happen in the world next week. For instance, Ben promised Christine to pay her whatever is the value of a Canadian dollar in satoshis on Friday. So, if a loonie is worth 10,000 on that day, he needs to pay her that amount.

Aside from that, it provides privacy since oracles have no way of knowing the person that uses the data for broadcasting. For this work, it uses Dryja’s discreet log contracts mechanism.

The demo has already been finished, both Dragos and Dryja acknowledged they still need to do a lot of work and answer a lot of uncertainties. Also, the team is finding a way to minimize the trust on the oracle to allow a user to utilize several oracles in one go.

The team has not yet produced an application that is easy to access and navigate. However, it has created a prototype showing how this works. Dragos mentioned UX is not DCI’s primary expertise.

At present, DCI is collaborating with several firms to implement this technology, recognizing the need to stop working on the bitcoin lightning network and pass it on to someone else. They hope major companies would be better at understanding what people want from the software.

This is open to entities that intend to use oracle for whatever reason and then decide if it is worth giving a shot at the very least.

Dragos said he won’t be able to predict how people intend to use the technology but new ones always emerge, meaning it is not necessary to devise a new one.

In 2015, DCI started designing the scaling solution to develop upscale and intricate scaling on the Bitcoin network. Essentially, this is the university’s one way of furthering the research and development on cryptocurrencies.

DCI is created to conduct due diligence on topics related to blockchain and digital currencies, act as a neutral convener for public and private sectors to test concepts with high social impact, promote diversity and inclusion in the development and adoption of this technology, and empower MIT students to further innovation in this technology.

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