Omise To Offer PayNow Payment Options In Singapore; Faster And More Secure Transactions

Asia-focused Payment Gateway, Omise announced that it will be offering PayNow to customers in Singapore reports Finance Magnates. Customers, namely small and medium-sized e-commerce businesses can expect this addition to take place sometime next month.

PayNow was created by DBS, Development Bank of Singapore. Their foundation involves leveraging digital technologies to ensure that customers are offered simple, fast and exceptional banking solutions and experiences. All in all, they believe in being able to live a life that doesn’t require tedious banking, hence their solution, PayNow!

Omise has since offered details as to how the integration can help customers. According to the reportings, the transactions will be completed by either sending money using registered mobile numbers, National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) or Unique Equity Number (UEN). In order for the payment to be accepted, users are required to simply scan the QR code provided by the merchant.

Speaking regarding this endeavor is Omise’s Country Manager in Singapore, Nick Gan who expressed gratitude and pleasure in being able “to launch PayNow Corporate as part of Singapore’s cashless drive towards a Smart Nation.” He further emphasized that such a move was needed given how tech-friendly consumers have become as well as businesses starting to adapt to technology.

Moreover, he said:

“Omise is proud to launch PayNow Corporate as part of Singapore’s cashless drive towards a Smart Nation. Consumers are becoming more digitally savvy and demand fast and seamless payments. As a result, more and more companies are adapting to this shift and recognizing the speed and convenience of PayNow over cash and cheque collections,”

“With PayNow, businesses are simply able to get paid faster and become more efficient. Omise is excited to be able to offer businesses multiple online payment methods across cards, PayNow and e-wallets on one payment platform.”

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Author: Nirmala Velupillai

China’s State Administration of Forex (SAFE) Extends Cross-Border Pilot to Leverage Blockchain Tech

China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) has recently taken a move to help leverage blockchain technology so that better cross-border financial services are offered, reports local news outlet Global Times.

To be more specific, their cross-border financing blockchain platform pilot now covers up to 19 provinces and cities, which has increased from their original decision to cover nine. According to the news outlet, SAFE’s endeavor is deemed the most scalable in the country, as it has the ability to provide accounts receivable financing services from exports, and ensures that companies taking part in cross-border related businesses have been verified.

As of the end of October, the introduced system has supposedly completed 6,370 transactions as well as giving out $6.8 billion in loans. Thus far, they’ve been able to secure 1,262 companies as clients, most of which consists of small and medium-sized businesses.

Having spoken to Global Times Analyst, Cao Yin shared that this is definitely a milestone for them, especially considering the gap in traditional financial processes and that of the blockchain system.

More specifically, he shared:

“The traditional financial processes […] leave a lot of room for financial fraud. But as the blockchain system promises a decentralized and encrypted track of each capital flow, it leaves potentially little to no space for human mediation.”

In addition to allowing users to retort to a financial service that isn’t with a traditional financial institution, SAFE’s system is deemed crucial for Chinese exporters because it promotes real-time supervision and is time-efficient (i.e. processing time from one to two days to simply 15 minutes) among other improvements.

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Author: Nirmala Velupillai

New Wirex Visa Travelcard To Reward Users With 1.5% in Bitcoins on All In-Store Purchases

Crypto and fiat multi-currency accounts provider, Wirex has officially launched its travel Visa card as of Monday, November 11, 2019. Considering the fact that the firm focuses on establishing connections around the world with its services, the new travelcard will first be made present in the Asia-Pacific region, namely, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korean, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and the Philippines.

As per the press release, the travelcard is compatible with over 150 distinct cryptocurrencies and allows users to connect multiple fiat currencies. Together, these features are expected to help customers avoid unwanted expenses that typically arise from traveling (i.e. money exchange).

In addition to helping customers use money wisely, the firm has created a Cryptoback program, where customers who make in-store purchases will be given the opportunity to earn 1.5% in Bitcoin.

CEO and Co-Founder of Wirex, Paul Matveev expressed delight in being able to provide such an experience for his customers, adding that it is a great way to let them have full control over their money for whatever travel reasons.

He further noted that:

“We have witnessed an explosion in demand for hybrid fiat and cryptocurrency-enabled banking alternatives in APAC, where people need payments redesigned for the future.” He went on expound on the firm’s offerings, which he deems are, “More than just the next stage in the platform’s growth strategy; it is a tangle example of our mission to provide a genuine alternative to conventional financial services.”

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Author: Nirmala Velupillai

Crypto Exchange Bittrex to Return the Frozen Funds of Customers From Sanctioned Regions

Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex is reportedly looking to return the digital assets to the customers in sanction nations, as per the letter posted by an ex-Bittrex user Ziya Sadr on Twitter.

According to this document, Bittrex is looking to contact past clients who have been residing in a country or region for which the crypto exchange wasn’t permitted to operate by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Bittrex explains in the document they filed in 2018 in which asked for permission to return frozen funds to their rightful owners.

“This application was recently granted and we are writing to let you know that you may withdraw your funds to another exchange,”

the letter further read.

However, there are a few restrictions applied to this withdrawal. In accordance with the US law, the exchange says the funds can only be withdrawn to an exchange or hosted wallet that is not located in Iran, Syria, Cuba, the Crimea Region of Ukraine, or otherwise subject to the OFAC sanction or any other US-based sanction regions.

In order to receive the funds, apart from creating an account on a cryptocurrency exchange or hosted wallet that isn’t a US sanction region, the customer needs to create an account at support.bittrex.com as well and register the Bittrex account. Now, the user has to fill all the details on the OFAC Withdraw Request.

However, if the balance in your Bittrex wallet is below the minimum withdrawal amount of the wallet, you won’t be able to withdraw. As per the Bittrex website, the minimum withdrawal for “all coins must be greater than 3 times the fee.”

The exchange also says that it will also ask for “additional identification procedures” to release the funds. Users need to follow the procedures set in place in order to retrieve their funds by March 15, 2020.

Recently, the exchange halted its trading services for 31 countries including Iraq, Somalia, Venezuela, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

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Author: AnTy

NASDAQ’s Former Cinnober Head, Eric Wall, Leaves to Join Bitcoin Investment Fund, Arcane Crypto

Eric Wall, the ex-Cinnober blockchain lead, has decided to no longer be in the exchange business because he has joined Arcane Crypto, the Oslo bitcoin investment fund. Arcane Crypto is a branch of Arcane that focuses on Scandinavians with a high net worth, also on global institutional investors.

The same firm runs a trading arm, a technology team and Kryptografen, the portal for crypto news. Its CEO is Torbjorn Bull Jensen, a Norwegian crypto expert who has published a white paper on how the industry could be closely watched, but in which he doesn’t mention anything about investing.

Arcane Wants to Include Altcoin in the Portfolio

Eric Wall said that he can’t disclose the assets on which Arcane will be focusing and that the outperformance of bitcoin revaluation will be metric. He also hinted that altcoin may be included in the Arcane portfolio, but that the selection process will be very harsh, so only projects that can truly compete against bitcoin will be taken into consideration. The goal won’t be to measure performance against fiat, but more to increase the portfolio by trading digital currencies in bitcoin.

“We are seeing a maturing trend in the altcoin market. It’s already very different now than it was a few years ago. It’s becoming harder and harder for technically inept projects to fake-it-til-you-make-it. There’s only in a very few, select areas in the cryptocurrency design space that has merit to compete against bitcoin.”

he said.

Who’s Behind Arcane Crypto?

Founded by Khristian G. Lundqvist and Ketil Skorstad, two investors from Norway, Arcane Crypto was funded by poker enthusiasts and chairman of the Swedish Cherry casino company, Morten Klein. Since all three Arcane Crypto investors are Norwegian, the fact that the fund is aimed at Scandinavians comes as no surprise.

Eric Wall joined this fund after NASDAQ has acquired Cinnober, where he used to explain for more than three years, what crypto is, to traditional financers. He also mentioned that while Arcane will focus on Scandinavians, it won’t be exclusive.

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Author: James W

The Story Behind the Renowned Icelandic, “Big Bitcoin Heist”: From Mastermind to Execution

Iceland is known for having the world’s largest bitcoin mine. Given so much space and low electricity, it is a spot that most eye when it comes to Bitcoin mining. However, the country is also known for having witnessed five crypto data centers that were broken into in a span of two months reports Vanity Fair. The accumulated loss? A gross $2 million. Turns out, 60% of them had a crew in common, led by mastermind, Sindri Thor Stefansson and his partner in crime, Hafthor Logi Hlynsson.

Who is Sindri Thor Stefansson?

Stefansson (32) is considered the mastermind of what Iceland calls the “Big Bitcoin Heist,” and many know him as being a famous thief. In the interview with the news outlet, Stefansson seems to be pleased with the work he’s done, stating:

“It’s the biggest burglary in the history of Iceland. So, I guess it’s my biggest yet.”

Taking everyone back in time, the thief shared that he’s always been a “naughty boy” as young as the kindergarten times, where he smashed into the school window to open the door. It’s supposedly the thrill that arose from such activity that led him towards this path.

He met his ‘best friend and partner in crime,’ Hlynsson at the age of six. What started as a combined effort in stealing from an elderly working at a shopping small, led the duo to commit the Bitcoin Heist. As he aged, he involved himself in all the things people are advised against, and by his early adulthood he had 200 cases of petty crime.

While in prison, Stefansson decided to get clean and start a new life. He got married and graduated with a degree in computer science. Having done odd jobs for far too long and in need of more money, he eventually came across Bitcoin mining (something that he was interested in).

Mr.X to Have Opened Stefansson’s Eyes

In 2017, Stefansson supposedly made an acquaintance called, Mr. X who is described as being a ‘dangerous international investor.’ Sharing his visions of mining Bitcoin,

Mr. X stopped the lad by asking, “Why go to all the expense and effort to start your own Bitcoin mind, when you can get a head start into the business by stealing computers from the competition.”

What did Stefansson get out of this? 15% of the goods, which supposedly amounts to 1.2 million per year forever. Stefansson was amazed by the entirety of computers being able to create money. He said:

“You’re stealing machines that make money. Making money while you sleep.”

The Plan Right Up Until Its Execution

Mr. X was supposedly the one to have rounded up a crew of five Icelandic men in their twenties. Given that everyone knew each other, the plans will be discussed at a friend’s house in Reykjavik. The crew itself can be considered a hierarchy, with the lower step consisting of 2 boys who had clean police records, then comes “the brains”, Hlynsson and obviously there’s the boss, who the police deem is Stefansson, but to him it was all about following Mr. X.

Stefansson had all the possible tools he needed for the team to succeed in the Bitcoin Heist. They even thought out communication, i.e. Telegram, because it is encrypted, and messages can be self-destructed. Some communication also took place in a Facebook Group called, “Foruneytid” (or the Fellowship).

At the time of the Bitcoin Heist, there supposedly wasn’t any securities walking around, as most simply stared at security monitors. The Heist started with breaking into Algrim Consulting data center. Then, they tried to attempt it at the Borealis Data Center, only to fail, but according to Stefansson, the police were slow in investigating the situation. Although what they had stolen sufficed, it seems like the crew wanted more power.

Stefansson at some point got an innocent call from his friend from school who was working as an electrician. He shared that the AVK Data Center required more electricity for something called Bitcoin. After having studied the AVK Data Center’s area and realizing that it was an early establishment with no security, it automatically became the next victim.

Stefansson and his buddy eventually got arrested but given how polite they were and having conversated with the thieves for three days, the police had nothing on them, and they were released.

In the same way, with additional reach to an insider, they hit the Advania Data Center. Eventually arrested again, but this time Stefansson was caught for good because he failed to delete information from his phone, which the police were able to access.

A Loophole in the Icelandic Law

According to the reportings, staging a prison break is not considered breaking the law because “all human beings are naturally entitled to freedom and thus cannot be punished for seeking it.” This is exactly what Stefansson did after some three months passed, and eventually flew to Stockholm under someone else’s name. Apparently, Sweden doesn’t require Icelandic travellers to carry a valid ID or passport.

Having reached Amsterdam at some point in his travels, he met with some members of his crew only to get caught again because of a picture of the trio that went on Hlysson’s Instagram. Ultimately, he was sentenced with four-and-a-half-years in prison.

As for Mr. X, he still remains at large with the stolen 550 computers. When Stefansson was asked if he were Mr. X, how he’d rate the entirety of the Heist, he replied, “A masterpiece. I just wish I had done it.”

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Author: Nirmala Velupillai