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  Santander and Ripple Launch Blockchain-Based International Payment Service
Posted by: admin - 04-13-2018, 04:30 PM - Forum: News From Cryptocurrency Market - No Replies

Spanish banking giant Banco Santander -- the world's 19th largest bank – recently launched "Santander One Pay FX" , a blockchain-based international payment service that uses Ripple's xCurrent technology to allow retail customers to make same-day cross-border payments.
Currently, this new service is only available to retail customers in the UK, Spain, Poland, and Brazil, but it will become available in other countries -- most likely, the United States and the other Euro-zone countries -- in the coming months.
"Santander One Pay FX" allows customers to specify the exact amount the beneficiary will receive in the destination currency. For now, international payments are only guaranteed to be delivered the same day or at worst the next one, but this summer instant transfers will become possible.
In Santander's press release , Ana Botín, Banco Santander's Executive Chairman, said:

Quote:“One Pay FX uses blockchain-based technology to provide a fast, simple and secure way to transfer money internationally - offering value, transparency, and the trust and service customers expect from a bank like Santander. “From today, customers in the UK can use One Pay to transfer money across Europe and to the US. In Spain, customers can transfer to UK and US, while customers in Brazil and Poland can transfer to the UK.”
Ana Patricia Botin
Each of the four countries the service is now available on offers customers different options depending on the market. For example, customers in Spain are able to send dollars to the USA and British pounds to the UK, while UK customers can send euros to 21 Euro-zone countries and dollars to the USA.
The service uses xCurrent technology from the privately-held Californian company Ripple . This payment solution allows banks to settle cross-border payments with end-to-end tracking. It is important to note that xCurrent does not use Ripple's XRP token (unlike Ripple's xRapid ).
Santander's debit card holders can access the One Pay FX service via online banking or mobile banking. In the latter case, iPhone-owning customers can use the bank's "OnePay FX" mobile app, as long as their debit card has been registered with Apple Pay . Santander is not charging transaction fees for using OnePay FX, but says that it may do so in future.

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  Crypto Exchange Bittrex Is Taking New Customers Again
Posted by: admin - 04-11-2018, 12:05 PM - Forum: News From Cryptocurrency Market - No Replies

Seattle-based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex is now accepting new user registrations.
New users can sign up through the exchange's revamped website, the startup announced Tuesday. Registrations were initially paused in December due to saturated capacity and new users were enrolled through a waiting list program over the past few months, according to a statement. All customers will have to complete identity verification procedures to finish their signups.
The exchange is also launching an "enhanced website" with improved security, according to the announcement.
Bittrex CEO Bill Shihara cited the company's "responsibility to provide customers with a reliable platform and outstanding customer service" as the impetus for initially halting registrations.
He added:

Quote:"After diligently working to improve our infrastructure and upgrade our website, we're pleased to announce registration for new users resumed today."
The company noted that it had expanded its team to include former Amazon employees, as well as former members of the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.
The move comes two months after Bittrex released its token listing criteria. The exchange's employees conduct preliminary reviews of projects, but the exchange emphasized that tokens which make it to the full review must also undergo compliance procedures to be listed within the U.S., CoinDesk reported at the time.

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  Free Publicity: Venezuela Thanks Trump’s Petro Ban for Doubling Investors
Posted by: admin - 04-09-2018, 11:36 AM - Forum: News From Cryptocurrency Market - No Replies

The executive secretary of Venezuela’s Blockchain Observatory, Daniel Peña, recently did an interview for the country’s Cuatro F newspaper, in which he claims Donald Trump’s Petro (PTR) ban was free publicity for the oil-backed cryptocurrency. So much so, it allegedly helped double the number of interested investors.
As covered by CCN, US President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning US citizens from buying, trading, or dealing in cryptocurrencies related to the Venezuelan government – the Petro, and potentially the Petro Gold.
In his interview, Peña revealed he sees cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology as “important steps in humanity’s revolution.” He claimed he knows Venezuela is going in the right direction with the Petro, as Donald Trump took the time to issue an executive order on it. When asked how Trump’s words affected the oil-backed cryptocurrency, he stated (roughly translated):

Quote:“I answer you like Earle Herrera [a Venezuelan journalist] when he said that I do not know anything about cryptocurrency, nor do I have clarity about the evolution of the digital currency; But if US President Donald Trump gives it time, imagine that. A person so busy giving it his time, that means we’re on the right path.”
Peña further claimed the country’s government had been preparing for a “US” attack on the Petro. Trump’s move, he said, didn’t affect the Petro, but instead served as a “boomerang for the US government,” as it “aroused more interest in acquiring the Petro in the world.”
He touted that he’s been seeing rising interest in Africa, and that Trump’s executive order was free publicity. As such, he claimed there’s an ever-growing amount of investors looking to buy Petros – even in the US.
The executive secretary noted that before Trump’s words the Petro had “more or less 400 clients” per day, and that after the president’s words the number jumped to 800. Petro’s sale, he said, will last until every single token has been bought.
The interviewer then asked Peña when could Venezuela expect to see its economy improve. He replied:
Quote:“Petro’s impact will be felt within three to six months. We have already advanced fast. As the gringos know that we are going to quickly reorganize our economy, they attack the Bolivarian Government; but they will not stop the economy’s growth, they know it.
As covered by CCN, the century-old think tank Brookings Institute has claimed Venezuela’s Petro undermines legitimate cryptocurrencies, and won’t stabilize Venezuela’s economy. Moreover, the think tank claimed it’s unclear what use the oil-backed cryptocurrency has for foreign investors.
Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, last month, claimed the Petro’s pre-sale raked in $5 billion. These numbers, according to currently available information, don’t add up if we take into account a total of 38.4 million tokens were being sold at $60 each. This means Maduro may have falsified these numbers.

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  India Bans Banks from Processing Cryptocurrency Purchases
Posted by: admin - 04-06-2018, 11:09 AM - Forum: News From Cryptocurrency Market - No Replies

Indian residents can no longer purchase cryptocurrency through their bank accounts, according to new measures adopted by the country’s central bank.
The sweeping policy, announced on Thursday by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), prohibits RBI-regulated institutions from allowing their customers to purchases cryptocurrencies, and it also bars banks from providing services to businesses “dealing with or settling [virtual currencies].”
From the statement:

Quote:“Reserve Bank has repeatedly cautioned users, holders and traders of virtual currencies, including Bitcoins, regarding various risks associated in dealing with such virtual currencies. In view of the associated risks, it has been decided that, with immediate effect, entities regulated by RBI shall not deal with or provide services to any individual or business entities dealing with or settling VCs. Regulated entities which already provide such services shall exit the relationship within a specified time.”
As a result of the ban, traders will no longer be able to deposit or withdraw fiat currency at cryptocurrency exchanges, forcing them to use peer-to-peer (P2P) trading platforms such as LocalBitcoins. According to data from CoinDance, LocalBitcoins transactions denominated in INR currently account for roughly $1 million in volume on a weekly basis.
[Image: indian-rupee-localbitcoins-1024x466.png]Source: CoinDance
The RBI statement acknowledges that blockchain technology has many potentially-beneficial applications but argues that cryptocurrencies raise a number of concerns related to consumer protection, market integrity, and preventing financial crimes.
Quote:“Technological innovations, including those underlying virtual currencies, have the potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of the financial system,” the RBI said. “However, Virtual Currencies (VCs), also variously referred to as crypto currencies and crypto assets, raise concerns of consumer protection, market integrity and money laundering, among others.”
As CCN reported, India-based cryptocurrency trading volume had already plummeted by 90 percent in recent months as banks themselves had already begun to restrict the ability of cryptocurrency exchanges to secure access to financial services and locals to trade with funds stored in Indian bank accounts. However, until now, this blockade had not been codified into official government policy.

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  Australian Regulations for Cryptocurrency Exchanges Introduced
Posted by: admin - 04-04-2018, 10:13 AM - Forum: News From Cryptocurrency Market - No Replies

Australia’s new legislative guidelines for the operation of cryptocurrency exchanges were introduced on the 3rd of April 2018. From now on, Australian digital currency exchange businesses will be required to register and comply with anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws.
Also Read: Companies Outsource Marketing to India Amid Ban on Crypto Ads 
Australia Introduces AML/CTF Requirements for Cryptocurrency Exchanges
[Image: shutterstock_1053972647-300x200.jpg]Australia’s new regulative apparatus pertaining to cryptocurrencies has formally been adopted as law, mandating that digital currency exchange businesses comply with the country’s AML/CTF requirements.
Cryptocurrency exchanges must now register and report to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC). AUSTRAC has issued a document outlining the primary obligations of digital currency exchanges under the new guidelines.
In addition to “adopting and maintaining an AML/CTF program to identify, mitigate and manage money laundering and terrorism financing risks,” Australian virtual currency exchanges must “identify” and “verify” the “identities of their customers,” keep “certain records for seven years,” and report “suspicious matters” and “transactions involving physical currency of $10,000 or more” to AUSTRAC.
Transitional Registration Arrangements in Place for Existing Exchanges
[Image: logo-4.png]AUSTRAC states that “A ‘policy principles’ period of six months will be in place from 3 April 2018” – during which “the AUSTRAC CEO can only take enforcement action if a DCE business fails to take ‘reasonable steps’ to comply.”
The six month period will also see “Transitional registration arrangements” made available to “existing businesses to allow them to continue providing services while their registration application being considered.” Existing digital currency exchange businesses will need to register for the transitional registration arrangements by May 14th. AUSTRAC warns that the unregistered provision of digital currency exchange services will suffer “criminal offense and civil penalty consequences.”
Last week, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) announced that it is seeking public consultation from citizens regarding how the ATO should “approach specific tax events.” The ATO, which has been drafting legislation for the taxation of cryptocurrencies, stated that it has “launched a community consultation to help us understand practical issues experienced when complying with cryptocurrency tax obligations.”

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  Russia’s Gazprombank to Test Cryptocurrency Transactions In Switzerland
Posted by: admin - 04-02-2018, 11:39 AM - Forum: News From Cryptocurrency Market - No Replies

Gazprombank, the third-largest bank in Russia, plans to conduct cryptocurrency transactions in Switzerland later this year as part of a pilot program through its Swiss subsidiary.
Aleksandr Sobol, the deputy chairman of Gazprombank, said the state-owned bank decided to try out crypto deals in response to demand from several major private clients.
“This will not be on a grand scale, but for ourselves,” Sobol told Vedomosti. “This is a demand from our large private clients for such amenities. Therefore, we are now looking at how we can organize this service for them.”
In January 2018, Sberbank — Russia’s largest bank — announced plans to open its own cryptocurrency exchange in Switzerland, as they are not allowed in Russia.
As CCN previously reported, Sberbank also recently opened a blockchain lab in Switzerland to test blockchain projects. As of January 2018, Sberbank said it had more than 20 blockchain-based pilot projects under development.
Russian regulators are drafting cryptocurrency regulations under the Digital Assets Regulation Bill. A final version, which will be released in July, will legalize and set guidelines for initial coin offerings, blockchain technologies, and crypto mining.
[Image: Podium-Putin.jpg]Vladimir Putin wants to launch a Russian cryptocurrency called the CryptoRuble. (Shutterstock)
While Russian president Vladimir Putin initially expressed skepticism about bitcoin and the virtual currency market because they are unregulated and not backed by a central bank, he has since softened his stance in recognition of the ballooning market and demand.
In fact, Russia plans to launch its own cryptocurrency called the CryptoRuble, in part to circumvent U.S. economic sanctions.
Russia Aims to Be Crypto Powerhouse
Cryptocurrency mining has mushroomed in Russia. Dmitry Marinichev, President Putin’s internet ombudsman, is currently overseeing the construction of the Russian Mining Center, which he hopes will transform the country into a digital currency powerhouse.
Marinichev and his partners have invested $10 million into the Russian Mining Center, and also recently raised $43 million through an initial coin offering, according to CNN. “This is a new milestone in the development of mankind,” Marinichev gushed.
Russian cryptocurrency entrepreneurs are equally bullish about the future of bitcoin, crypto mining, and blockchain technology.
“I think blockchain will repeat the history of the internet and probably even be bigger than the internet itself,” said Alexander Ivanov, a former physicist who runs the Russian blockchain platform Waves.
Business owner Boris Akimov agrees. Akimov, whose Moscow-based restaurant Lavkalavka accepts bitcoin, believes crypto is not a passing fad. “Cryptocurrency is a way to change the whole financial system in the world,” he said.

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  Five Cryptocurrency Exchanges in Japan Throw in the Towel
Posted by: admin - 03-30-2018, 08:36 AM - Forum: News From Cryptocurrency Market - No Replies

Five cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan are closing after their operators reportedly withdrew their applications with the Japanese financial regulator to operate crypto exchanges. They are in the process of returning clients’ cash and crypto holdings.
Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies
Five Exchanges Cease Operations
[Image: japan-fsa-2-300x111.jpg]Five cryptocurrency exchange operators in Japan have withdrawn their applications with the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) to register their crypto exchanges, Nikkei reported on Thursday, adding that “More are expected to follow, as the FSA has given several exchanges a chance to voluntarily close before ordering them to do so.”
Tokyo Gateway and Mr. Exchange have withdrawn their applications; both were ordered by the agency on March 8 “to improve their data security and other safeguards after they were found to be lacking,” the publication noted. The two withdrawals follow three others by unregistered operators – Raimu, Bitexpress and Bit Station. The news outlet elaborated:

Quote:The companies will leave the exchange business after returning clients’ cash and cryptocurrency holdings.
[Image: Mr-Exchange-300x155.jpg]Mr. Exchange issued a statement on Thursday, writing “We have made efforts to improve items that were pointed out” after receiving a business improvement order from the FSA. However, the company decided that it would be difficult to comply with the necessary requirements, and eventually elected to withdraw the application to register a crypto exchange. Mr. Exchange explained, “We are currently discussing procedures for smoothly returning customer assets.”
FSA Tightens Oversight
[Image: shutterstock_712597276-2-300x203.jpg]Since the payment services act went into effect and legalized cryptocurrency as a means of payment in April, crypto exchanges are required to register with the FSA. So far, 16 exchanges have been registered including Bitflyer, Quoine, GMO Coin, Zaif, Bit Bank, SBI Virtual Currencies, and Bit Arg Exchange.
In addition, 11 others are allowed to operate while their applications are pending. This number does not include the five exchanges that have withdrawn their applications. Among the 11 is Coincheck which suffered a massive hack in January and lost 58 billion yen worth of the cryptocurrency nem.
Following Coincheck’s hack, the regulator began scrutinizing crypto exchanges heavily. All exchanges were inspected; on-site inspections were conducted on all unregistered operators. “These exchange operators are required to have data security and other systems on par with those at the 16 registered exchanges,” the news outlet wrote, adding:
Quote:The FSA’s probes have so far found problems with corporate governance and internal controls. Some operators see little prospect of meeting the agency’s standards.
The FSA recently ordered a temporary suspension of two crypto exchanges and issued business improvement orders to five others.

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  Bithumb To Support Crypto Payments At 6,000 South Korean Stores
Posted by: admin - 03-28-2018, 11:55 AM - Forum: News From Cryptocurrency Market - No Replies

One of South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Bithumb , is partnering with mobile payment service provider ‘Pay’s’ to support crypto payments at 6,000 merchant outlets across the country. A Bithumb official told Korea Times that Bithumb has “taken a landmark step”.
The deal was struck on Monday and involves 200 individual, franchised brands to adopt the service at 6,000 shops. The brands include; ‘Sulbing’, ‘Café Droptop’ and a candle store called ‘Yankee Candle’.
Bithumb and ‘Pay’s’ aim to roll the service out to 8,000 outlets by the end of 2018. According to Bithumb this is part of their aim to create an “environment in which cryptocurrencies are used extensively”.
Kimchi Premium
South Korea’s appetite for crypto-assets has been very strong over the past year and many crypto-assets have been trading at a premium of 50% vs US markets at the peaks of the crypto market rally in December 2017. However, as the markets have cooled the 'Kimchi Premium' as dropped and is currently around 5%.
Whether the demand for speculating on crypto-assets will translate into spending them is yet to be seen. However, it undoubtedly marks a positive step in the adoption of crypto-assets into the vibrant South Korean economy.

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  Ripple, Santander Join Forces To Launch International Money Transfer App
Posted by: admin - 03-26-2018, 08:38 AM - Forum: News From Cryptocurrency Market - No Replies

Spanish banking giant Santander is going to launch an international money transfer app in the next few months thanks to a partnership with fintech startup Ripple, according to Business Insider. The app will reportedly rely solely on Ripple’s xCurrent and RippleNet.
Speaking at the International Fintech conference in London, the bank’s UK CEO, Nathan Bostock said:

Quote:“This spring, if not one [sic] beats us to it, we will be the first large retail bank to carry out cross-border payments at scale with blockchain technology.”
Nathan Bostock
Bostock didn’t reveal when the blockchain-based app would be launched, and a Santander spokesperson refused to comment the development when contacted. Back in  January, Santander CEO Ana Botin revealed the payments app was coming in the group’s 2017 results presentation.
It will be available in Spain, Brazil, Poland, and in the UK. At the time she revealed it’s set to integrate Apply Pay for payments between £10 and £10,000 ($14 and $14,000). The app’s goal will be to enable same-day international payments in about 40 seconds. It’s set to provide users with a digital wallet and a personal finance manager, while facilitating peer-to-peer payments.
[Image: ripple.png__1221x707_q85_crop_subsampling-2_upscale.jpg]Santander
Santander has notably invested in Ripple in 2015, and again in 2016. Reports claiming the bank has been trailing Ripple’s technology for an international payments app with its staff have been around since 2016.
The payment app’s users are set to not only see their international payments get settled in under 24 hours, they’ll also find out up front how much a transfer will cost them. Traditionally, international transfers use various meddle men who take their cut, meaning the final sum is almost always less than what was sent.
This year Ripple has been securing several partnerships. It partnered with MoneyGram to speed up fiat currency settlements, and with a consortium of 61 Japanese banks to create an instant payments app. The fintech startup further partnered with a South Korean bank for “commercial” cross-border remittances.
Ripple’s XRP token is, at press time, trading at $0.64, as it is up 1.86 percent in the last 24-hour period. XRP is currently the world’s third largest cryptocurrency by market cap, with a total value of $24.5 billion.

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  Coca-Cola, U.S. State Dept to use blockchain to combat forced labor
Posted by: admin - 03-23-2018, 10:52 AM - Forum: News From Cryptocurrency Market - No Replies

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) and the U.S. State Department along with two other companies said on Friday they are launching a project using blockchain’s digital ledger technology to create a secure registry for workers that will help fight the use of forced labor worldwide.
FILE PHOTO - Coca-Cola cartons are seen in a Casino supermarket in Mouans Sartoux, France, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
The State Department said this is the government agency’s first major project on this issue using blockchain, reinforcing the technology’s growing application for social causes.
According to the International Labor Organization, nearly 25 million people work in forced-labor conditions worldwide, with 47 percent of them in the Asia-Pacific region.
Food and beverage companies are under pressure to address the risk of forced labor in countries where they obtain sugarcane. A study released last year by KnowTheChain (KTC), a partnership founded by U.S.-based Humanity United, showed that most food and beverage companies fall short in their efforts to solve the problem.
The study said Coca-Cola, one of 10 global companies looked at by KTC, has committed to conduct 28 country-level studies on child labor, forced labor, and land rights for its sugar supply chains by 2020.
The U.S. beverage giant said it has been exploring multiple blockchain projects for more than a year.
Brent Wilton, the company’s global head of workplace rights, said in an email to Reuters, “We are partnering with the pilot of this project to further increase transparency and efficiency of the verification process related to labor policies within our supply chain.”
The new venture is intended to create a secure registry for workers and their contracts using blockchain’s validation and digital notary capabilities, said Blockchain Trust Accelerator (BTA), a non-profit organization involved in the project.
Coca-Cola Co42.76
KO.NNew York Stock Exchange

[Image: chartsgen2?symbols=KO.N&numberOfDays=90&...sGen2=true]

  • KO.N
BTA is a global platform for harnessing blockchain to deliver social impact.
The State Department said it will provide expertise on labor protection.
“The Department of State is excited to work on this innovative blockchain-based pilot,” Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Busby said in an email to Reuters, noting that while blockchain cannot compel companies or those in authority to abide by the labor contracts, it can create a validated chain of evidence that will encourage compliance with those contracts.
The Bitfury Group, a U.S. tech company, will build the blockchain platform for this project, while Emercoin will provide blockchain services as well, Bitfury Chief Executive Valery Vavilov and Emercoin Chief Technology Officer Oleg Khovayko said on Friday.

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