Zilliqa Donates $5 Million to Fund Oxford’s Blockchain Students to Support Diversity

Zilliqa, a blockchain company based in Singapore, has recently announced that it would donate $5 million USD to the Oxford Women in Computer Science Society. This group supports women who are in the computer science field.

With the money from the company, the Oxford group will carry out several workshops, named Blockchain A-Z, and give grants to students. The workshops will be held at the University of Oxford and will be open to all kinds of students on campus (but each session will be limited to only 20 students at a time).

The workshops will cover several blockchain topics. They may include philosophical foundations of the blockchain, fundamentals, technical topics, and insights about the industry and its businesses.

Students interested in receiving the grants can submit their projects up until November 21. The ones who present the best ideas will receive the grant and special mentorship to move their projects forward.

Paula Fiddi, the president of the Oxford organization, affirmed that the mission of the group is to ensure that women get equal opportunities in the technology industry. The importance of diversity was also highlighted by Saiba Kataruka, a developer from Zilliqa. According to Kataruka, decentralization cannot really be achieved without diversity of race, gender and academic backgrounds.

Kataruke commented,

“Whether it be the diversity in race, profession, academic background, or gender, having a variety of individuals, each with a unique perspective and broad breadth of experiences to offer, is essential to success. Decentralisation is a core principle of blockchain, and you can’t really have decentralisation without diversity.”

This is surely an important initiative, especially when we look at the data. According to a recent survey done by Quartz, only 8.% of all blockchain companies were co-founded by women. Also, less than 5% of the top 100 crypto projects on Github were contributed by women, too. In order to reach diversity, these numbers have to go up.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Celsius Network Adds EOS Blockchain Token to Its Interest-Earning Wallet

The Celsius Network has announced a new token for its interest-earning cryptocurrency wallet. According to a recent press release sent out to the media, the company will list EOS, a prominent proof of stake crypto.

Starting today, EOS holders will be able to earn yield from holding EOS coins on a Celsius wallet. Staking, which is a way to use cryptocurrencies that you hold to secure a network and earn profits from that, is somewhat complex, so a lot of people without the necessary knowledge face a difficult time while trying to participate.

With the help of the Celsius wallet, these people can deposit their EOS and stake it for a reward. Also, the holders will be able to borrow money (both stablecoins or fiat currency) against the EOS that they hold. Fees will be as low as 3.45%.

The CEO of Block.One, Brendan Blumer, has affirmed that the EOS ecosystem is proud to receive support from the Celsius Network. According to him, retail deposit solutions such as this one are very important for the growth of the network.

Celsius uses the solution provided by BitGo to store its over $350 million USD worth of crypto assets. At the moment, the company has 50,000 active users using its wallet solution. One of the main selling points of the product is that it lets the holders get a return on investment of up to 10% by lending the money they have, which means they can get a passive interest over time.

Alex Mashinsky, the CEO of the Celsius Network said,

“We’re doing our part to help decentralization scale by adding hundreds of millions of new users to the digital asset community, by offering innovative, customer-centric financial services, including borrowing and lending. When it comes to proof-of-stake, many cryptocurrency holders might not have the time or expertise required to stake, which would leave them missing out on potential rewards. We’re changing that with a secure and user friendly solution.”

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Author: Hank Klinger

Knabu Crypto Project and Factom to Trial Blockchain Compliance Automation

A cryptocurrency startup named Knabu, has recently started a new banking pilot using Factom in the United Kingdom. According to reports, Factom is one of the earliest blockchains to be created for enterprises.

Knabu is focused on payments and “smart deposits”. The company has the goal of helping other financial companies to diminish the risks of their operations and to use the blockchain to improve the quality of the services. Right now, Knabu is trying to get a banking license with the local regulators, which would solidify its position as a local banking institution.

During a recent interview with Coindesk, the CEO of Knabu, Gabrielle Patrick, affirmed that the startup is launching its pilot today and that the project is set to last for 30 days. The purpose of the test, she explained, is to provide banks with the efficiencies that only the blockchain can bring to the table.

Right now, banking costs can be quite high when it comes to compliance. The company is trying to solve this problem by offering blockchain-based Know Your Customer (KYC) solutions and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) solutions. All the data would be encrypted using the system and stored on the Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains, which are public immutable ledgers.

Patrick has affirmed that she is focused on solving the problems of small and medium banks, as they are likely to be underserved with the technology. It is not easy to create your own blockchain solution, so they believe that they can help.

The CEO of Knabu has finished by affirming that all of the work so far has been in line with what is expected by the U. S. Financial Conduct Authority and that the company is studying hard how to create a fully regulated service.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Digital Asset Custodian Koine Awarded Electronic Money Institution (EMI) License By FCA

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has awarded and Electronic Money Institution (EMI) certificate to crypto assets custodian, Koine, Financial Magnates reports.

Koine announced on Thursday that it has secured a licence to issue electronic money from FCA. The licence means that Koine can now offer real time e-money payment services to their increasing institutional clientele. Koine also revealed that plans are underway to seek licensure in various financial services locations.

Koine’s chairman Hugh L. Hugh praised the authorization stating that the EMI license will help the firm to move with speed and invest in the necessary infrastructure that will enhance institutional participation within the digital assets market.

Commenting on the development, Hugh L. Hughes, chairman and CEO of Koine, said,

“Market reaction to Koine’s ultra-secure scalable institutional class solution for custody and settlement, has been immensely favorable, and with our EMI authorization now issued by the FCA, we are rapidly moving to implement the market infrastructure necessary to support institutional participation in the digital assets marketplace.”

Currently, Koine enjoys a wide clientele of more than 40 ranging from families to institutions as well as funds. The firm offers custodial as well as real time settlement services in fiat as well as digital assets.

The company has its headquarters in London but its crypto assets custody services are not covered by the UK regulation framework. In this regard, the new license is not authorization of the firm’s digital asset custody business.

He said,

“e-Money authorization should not be read as authorization of Koine’s transformative custody and settlement model for digital assets.”

Hughes explained that the recognition by the FCA of the control procedures that the firm has enacted, irrespective of their views regarding the crypto space, is a testament that London is still an attractive base for crypto-based firms alongside the conventional financial companies. He explained that all that is needed for the crypto-based firms is to explain the controls put in place to satisfy the regulator’s standards and guidelines.

Hughes commented further,

“The FCA’s recognition of the controls and processes that we have put in place for our EMI authorization, notwithstanding their concerns regarding the digital markets, shows that London can continue to attract financial institutions in the digital markets, alongside traditional capital markets, as long as those institutions can show that they have appropriate governance to address the regulator’s requirements.”

Started in 2017, Koine has continued to come up with unique solutions which makes it stand out among its rivals who offer hot wallet and cold storage services. The firm offers manual transfers, offering advanced security for clients’ assets and immediate settlement as well as withdrawals.

The company has been monitoring the best practices exercised by the conventional custodians and has been able to withstand the test of time and is now among one of the largest digital assets custodians.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Indian State Tamil Nadu is Reportedly Developing AI and Blockchain Policies

Tamil Nadu, the 10th largest Indian state, is working on creating state-level policies for AI and blockchain technologies.

Blockchain technology seems to be going through a very positive period, with major countries around the world suddenly welcoming it. China surprised the entire world only days ago, when its president publicly praised blockchain, claiming that adoption of this technology would be seizing the opportunity.

He is not the only one who thinks so, as new reports claim that the 10th largest Indian state, Tamil Nadu, is also working on doing the same. In fact, the state is supposedly already in the process of creating a state-level policy for blockchain technology, as well as for AI tech.

Santosh Misra, CEO of the state’s e-Governance Agency commented,

“We are working on separate policies on blockchain and AI. The AI policy is going to be perhaps the world’s first policy addressing safe and ethical use of AI […] No state or country has announced a standalone policy to address the safety and ethics associated with AI, and we have no precedence for it.”

The country’s local news outlet, The Times of India, has reported that Tamil Nadu is creating separate policies for blockchain and AI. Furthermore, the policies should be released within the next 10 days, according to the source.

If true, the policies will establish some of the basic rules on how the government should go about applying new technologies. Emerging tech like AI and blockchain already offer great potential for impacting numerous businesses and industries, such as service delivery, and others. They also might help solve governance problems, and more.

Tamil Nadu is the latest Indian state to start thinking of ways of implementing emerging technologies, but it is certainly not the only one. Earlier in 2019, the state of Telangana created a similar policy for blockchain, which would create a favorable ecosystem for blockchain startups.

Then, in August of this year, India’s second-largest state of Maharashtra worked on creating a regulatory sandbox for testing various blockchain solutions in hopes of finding new applications. This is also a state in which India’s capital of Mumbai is located, and home to 114 million people. If tests prove successful, it could start using blockchain technology for vehicle registration, supply chains, document management, agricultural marketing, and more.

Finally, the authorities in Andhra Pradesh also started researching blockchain use cases in land ownership, with hopes of making a transparent system that could eliminate corruption.

Indian bank still pursues the crypto ban, however, but earlier this month, the Supreme Court of India postponed the hearing to November 19th. The news of yet another state exploring crypto’s underlying technology and creating a policy for it might impact the decision in a positive way.

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Author: Ali Raza

Veritaseum Files a Document with SEC Seeking More Time to Respond to the Levied Charges

Veritaseum, headed by the infamous Reginald Middleton, has requested the court for more time to respond to the charges filed by the SEC for allegedly offering unregulated securities. In the backdrop of ongoing court proceedings, the counsel for the defendants filed a document with the New York Eastern District Court to extend the initial date from November 4, 2019, to December 4, 2019.

Only two months after booking the self-proclaimed financial guru Reginald Middleton and his two companies Veritaseum LLC and Veritaseum Inc., the SEC continued with its trend of settling with crypto companies. After reaching agreements with Longfin, PlexCorps and Block.one, it confirmed that it has engaged in settlement talks with Veritaseum, a platform that specializes in building blockchain-based, peer-to-peer capital markets as software on a global scale.

In early August this year, Middleton and his companies were booked on the charges of fraudulently raising $14.8 million by offering digital securities. As per the SEC’s complaint, the defendants allegedly raised the sum through the sales of unregistered securities dubbed “VERI Tokens,” “VERI,” or “Veritas.” The offering conducted via Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in mid-2017, followed by other offers and sales, was deemed illegal as it was based on material misrepresentations and omissions made to mislead investors.

The defendants are alleged to have knowingly misguided the public into believing the claims they made about their prior business and the use of offer proceedings. They made tall claims about the revenue-generating capacity of their current venture, which did not exist, and made a series of manipulative trades of the VERI tokens to artificially raise their price in the market. They were also engaged in misappropriation of funds raised at the beginning of the ICO.

The SEC has not opposed the request the defendants made yesterday to extend the deadline. It appears that the parties are moving towards a mutual resolution of the case.

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Author: Sakshi Jain

Blockstack To Hire GSR Markets To Trade Its STX Token and Provide Liquidity

Blockstack enters into agreement with GSR Markets, a company registered in Hong Kong, to offer international liquidity for its Stacks token (STX), CoinDesk reports.

The details of the agreement were filed on Oct. 24 with the SEC. According to the agreement GSR will offer all services linked with management of liquidity of STK.

Blockstack will pay a one off fee of $100k as well as monthly fee of $20k for half a year. On its part, GSR will offer all services that come with enhancing STX liquidity and evaluate the market aspects. As part of the agreement, Blockstack will also loan GSR Bitcoins and Ether worth $1 million to finance the trading. The loan will attract zero interest.

In a situation where the deal is vacated in future, GSR is set to return the Bitcoin and Ether. However, 50% of the loan will be calculated in accordance to the price of STX at that time.

In the previous week STX started trading on the globe’s largest crypto exchange, Binance as well as Hashkey Pro which is based in Hong Kong and targets institutional investors. Blockstack paid about $250k to Binance in order for the exchange to list STX. in this regard, GSR will offer liquidity management services of STX in the two aforementioned exchanges. GSR will also offer OTC services in markets that serve non-US citizens.

Muneeb Ali, Blockstack CEO, hailed GSR as one of the best professional market enablers and allayed any fears of conflict of interests between the two firms. He explained that the market maker will operate independently and that Blockstack had no agreement on how to share profits.

On his part Cristian Gil, Co-Founder of GSR, said it was an exciting chance to work with the first utility token which is fully compliant with the necessary legal requirements.

Ali said,

“We want the market maker to be an independent player. GSR has full discretion on how they operate and Blockstack PBC has no profit-sharing with them. We decided to work with GSR because their focus on compliance and ensuring high quality aligns well with us.”

However, for US citizens they will have to wait for a while before they can trade STX tokens. Currently, no exchange is yet to be granted permission to list the STX token. However, there is hope if STX is listed in the country, Blockstack will end the contract with GSR.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Synum Cryptocurrency Bank Acquires Singapore Banking License For Asset Management Service

Sygnum, the Zurich-based crypto bank, has been awarded a banking licence to provide asset management services in Singapore.

Announcing the news to the world, the bank said it had successfully been granted a capital markets services (CMS) licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) which is an equivalent of a central bank.

The blog post from the bank stated that it will basically focus on virtual asset investment programs for both qualified individuals as well as institutions. The initial product for the bank will be a multi-manager fund (also called funds-of-funds) whereby the bank will seek investment opportunities in other forms of funds, like hedge funds. The bank stated that it will allocate investments in different fund managers that focus on digital assets around the world. The bank also revealed that the same offering will be availed to Swiss customers using its Swiss branch.

According to Stefan Mueller, head of asset management in Sygnum, the licence by MAS was a major step and will help the bank to open its asset management wing. Mueller explained that asset management will help in the bank’s growth strategy and will be key in complimenting the Swiss banking wing.

Stefan Mueller commented,

“The CMS license is an important milestone to establishing our asset management arm, leveraging the vibrant financial environment in Singapore. This is complementary to our banking services in Switzerland and will also benefit our Swiss institutional and private qualified investor clients.”

The latest licensure comes just months after Sygnum won a banking and securities dealership approval in Switzerland given by FINMA.

In September, Sygnum CEO, Peter Wuffli, revealed that the bank was pursuing a growth and development strategy and was seeking to tap several markets including Hong Kong and other European countries, Cointelegraph reports. He explained that the crypto community is yearning for a firm that can offer several services such as custody, trading as well as loans using fiat money and that’s what Sygnum intends to do.

In the recent past, Singapore has been positioning itself as a blockchain and crypto hub in Asia amid hostility in the region. The country is seeking to take advantage of the harsh environments in China and South Korea.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Despite a Love or Hate Relationship, New Futures Investments Are Making Cryptos More Popular

Futures markets can help economies to grow a lot, but some people see them as very speculative. The situation would not be different in the case of crypto futures, which are even more speculative to some experts but are helping the market to grow.

Bloomberg has recently published an article affirming that Bitcoin futures show how the market has matured. According to the post, futures went from almost being meaningless to around 50% of all the spot trading activity in the market in just a couple of years.

What consequences has this brought to the market? The investor base has grown in numbers and the volatility has been decreased during this timeframe.

Crypto futures are so popular right now that most crypto exchanges are offering them together with services of lending and borrowing cryptocurrencies. This makes it very easy for crypto holders to make considerable profits just using these financial tools.

The article also notices that the volumes of contracts in traditional exchanges that started their futures during 2017 such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) have doubled their volume in 18 months. This shows that, despite being still a small market, the growth has been exponential so far.

While there are still doubts among some investors about if cryptos will represent a revolution in the markets or not, the fact is that they can be pretty profitable right now.

New exchanges such as the Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt have just appeared and will probably leave their mark in the industry, too. With all these improvements, it is hard to see a future in which cryptocurrencies will not be popular investments.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Japan’s SBI Holdings to Use Ripple’s XRP On-Demand Liquidity For International Remittances

SBI Holdings, the Japanese banking giant, has recently published its latest report. In the document, the company talks about its strategies and reports its latest plans. One of them is to use Ripple’s XRP tokens for international remittances that will be made between Japan and the Southeast Asian region.

According to the company’s report, the SBI Remit service will use Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity services (known before as xRapid). Initially, SBI Remit has used MoneyGram to send money overseas, but some changes will be made. So far, the service has sent out over $7 billion.

Back in June, a partnership was started with Ripple to send money to Mexico. This is possibly why the partnership has been stronger since then and now the two firms are going to tighten it even more.

Half of the payments made by SBI Remit will be covered by SBI Ripple Asia, a subsidiary of the company, which was created after the partnership with the crypto company. It is fair to note that SBI is also a “crypto” company right now, as it has recently launched the VCTrade, a cryptocurrency exchange platform based in Japan.

Right now, SBI is trying to get Japanese banks on board of its initiative. So far, the Suruga Bank and the SBI Sumishin Net Bank are already a part of it.

In related news, the banking holding institution has recently launched another product called Money Tap, which is set to be a mobile app for money transfers, also powered by Ripple. If the situation continues this way, SBI and Ripple will have a long-standing partnership to offer solutions for Asian clients.

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Author: Gabriel Machado