Oracle Service API3 Inks Deal With OBP To Merge Conventional Banking With DeFi

Oracle Service API3 Inks Deal With OBP To Merge Conventional Banking With DeFi

Popular oracle provider API3 has partnered with the Open Bank Project (OBP) to bridge the gap between traditional banking services and blockchains.

This ten-year partnership aims to connect over 400 banking APIs to blockchain smart contracts using “Airnode,” an open-source gateway developed by API3.

Bringing Fintech And Banking Customers Into DeFi

API3 is a startup focused on porting data into blockchains. It terms itself as a DAO-governed protocol that provides decentrally governed and quantifiably secure data feeds.

OBP, on the other hand, provides API data in the banking industry.

According to OBP founder Simon Redfern, the partnership between API3 and OBP would merge banking APIs with blockchain smart contracts, Web 3.0 applications, and decentralized finance (DeFi), thereby bringing fintech and banking customers into DeFi.

Redfern also said that he hoped the collaboration would serve as a framework for financial regulators to explore and create new standards for the blockchain economy to converge with banking-based digital offerings.

This move by the two companies would allow developers to explore blockchain solutions, such as data and identity verification systems.

Greater Interests In Oracle Providers

Oracle providers in blockchain are third-party services that help networks access off-chain data. They provide smart contracts with external information. Oracle providers have seen greater interest recently, as their tokens have seen their valuations rising.

Apart from API3, other oracle providers leading the market include Chainlink (LINK), Band Protocol (BAND), and DAI.

Chainlink is, in fact, a market leader with a market capitalization of $16 billion. It has integrated with over 400 projects to date. It is now working on second-generation solutions, as seen in its newly released whitepaper.

Another market leader, Band Protocol, recently announced an integration with Google Cloud Public Data to enable immediate and accurate financial time series data analysis.

With this integration with Google Cloud, traditional, hybrid blockchain and cloud applications can be built to leverage unique data feeds from decentralized oracle services, as reported by the company.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

European Banking Giant, Société Générale, Issues Security Token On Tezos Blockchain

European Banking Giant, Société Générale, Issues Security Token On Tezos Blockchain

One of the largest financial institutions in Europe, Société Générale, is continuing its blockchain and crypto exploration by offering tokenized securities running on the Tezos blockchain network.

Sharing in a press statement, this is the first tokenized asset offered by the institution. The security token issuance marks an imperative milestone for the bank in its focus to start a full-spectrum crypto business unit by next year.

In preparation to kickstart crypto market operations by next year, Société Générale has launched a subsidiary dubbed Forge that will offer tokenized security that can be connected with its legacy banking platforms. Besides issuing tokenized securities, the bank also plans to offer exchange and custodial services, but they will focus on institutional customers and not retail.

The bank also explained that the new tokenized security was offered after meeting all legal and regulatory requirements.

“This new experimentation, performed in accordance with best market practices, demonstrates the legal, regulatory and operational feasibility of issuing more complex financial instruments (structured products) on a public blockchain.”

With the current security offering, this is the third year in a row that Société Générale has adapted blockchain developments and solutions to fit growing demand.

In 2019, the banking behemoth offered a 100 million euro bond using its specialty outfit dubbed Société Générale SFH via the Ethereum network.

In May of last year, SFH and Forge, in collaboration with the French central bank, offered another 40 million euro bond that was tokenized and settled through the yet to be made public central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Société Générale is one of the financial institutions that Banque de France has earmarked to participate in a pilot for a central bank digital bank (CBDC) project.

Early this month, Société Générale was one of the banks which European Investment Bank tapped to utilize blockchain technology while issuing digital bonds.

Although the European Union has not yet agreed on crypto regulations for the region, Société Générale is still pursuing the operationalization of the crypto business unit.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Swiss Regulator, FINMA, Denies Bitcoin Suisse Banking License Application

Swiss Regulator, FINMA, Denies Bitcoin Suisse Banking License Application

The financial watchdog of Switzerland Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has turned down Bitcoin Suisse’s application for a banking license.

AML Weaknesses Sees Bitcoin Suisse Miss Out On Banking License

According to the Swiss regulator, Bitcoin Suisse AG is not eligible for approval following a string of concerns. FINMA said its prognosis of the situation was unfavorable, following the absence of a number of factors that are relevant under FINMA’s licensing laws.

FINMA says the major reason Bitcoin Suisse’s banking license was denied was the indication of weaknesses in the company’s money laundering defense mechanisms.

The company has decided to withdraw its application for the time being, and FINMA has duly terminated the licensing procedure.

The application would have seen Bitcoin Suisse offer custodial services to its crypto-facing customers in Switzerland. Bitcoin Suisse had applied to FINMA in 2019 for banking and securities dealer licenses.

“These licenses would allow Bitcoin Suisse to further expand its offering with regulated services and products, thereby strengthening its position as a leading provider of crypto financial services,” the press release had stated at the time.

Bitcoin Suisse’s Valuation Shoots Up

Outside of the licensing fiasco, Bitcoin Suisse’s business continues to expand. In a Series A funding round led by Roger Studer of Vontobel fame, a private bank with $ 215 billion in assets under management (AUM), Bitcoin Suisse saw over CHF 45 million ($48.5 million) injected into the company.

This fundraising round saw its market valuation shoot up to CHF 302.5 million ( roughly $327 million) in July 2020.

The company is also reportedly fast-tracking an initial public offering (IPO) process and will be publicly listed in a few years to come.

Bitcoin Suisse recently launched a payments solution that enables crypto owners in Switzerland to pay taxes with digital assets making it the first company in the European nation to do so.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

America’s Oldest Banking Giant to Hold and Transfer Bitcoin & Other Cryptos Including Stablecoins

America’s Oldest Banking Giant, BNY Mellon, to Hold and Transfer Bitcoin & Other Cryptos Including Stablecoins

BNY Mellon plans to bring Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies under the same roof as traditional holdings through its platform that is now in prototype, following “heightened interest” and “new demand.”

Bank of New York Mellon Corp., the oldest bank in the US, which boasts of $2 trillion assets under management (AUM), has finally jumped on the cryptocurrency bandwagon. This move is made following a shift in sentiments and regulatory clarity regarding cryptocurrencies and because “Digital assets are the future.”

“We’re experiencing heightened interest from current clients who are seeking exposure to digital assets,” Mike Demissie, the company executive who heads its digital assets unit, told Forbes.

“We are also seeing new demand from prospective clients, particularly digital native companies in the digital asset space, who are looking for BNY Mellon’s core investment services.”

The custody bank revealed on Thursday that it would hold, transfer, and issue bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on behalf of its clients, first reported by the WSJ. The bank is already in talks with its clients to have their digital currencies in its custody.

“Digital assets are becoming part of the mainstream,” said Roman Regelman, chief executive of BNY Mellon’s asset-servicing and digital businesses.

The bank eventually plans to treat digital currencies like any other assets through its platform, which is currently a prototype.

BNY Mellon claims it to be the financial infrastructure’s “first multi-asset digital custody and administration platform” for both traditional and digital assets.

Besides Bitcoin and other cryptos, BNY Mellon will also cover stablecoins, tokenized securities, real assets, and eventually even central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in its digital asset unit. Regelman said,

“Growing client demand for digital assets, maturity of advanced solutions, and improved regulatory clarity present a tremendous opportunity for us to extend our current service offerings to this emerging field.”

The offering is pending approvals and is expected to start later this year.

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Author: AnTy

Australian Payments Firm, Novatti Launches Partnership With Ripple to Leverage RippleNet

Novatti Group Limited, a digital banking and payments company, announced an innovative partnership with Ripple Inc. this last Monday. The partnership aims to foster the integration of RippleNET, Ripple’s global financial network, in Novatti’s platform to enhance the transfer of funds across South East Asia and the world.

According to the statement obtained by BEG, Novatti becomes one of the major partners of Ripple, allowing the company to “gain access to the RippleNET framework, its capabilities, and the hundreds of financial institutions and clients” Ripple is already working with. The digital payments firm will benefit from the distributed technology network RippleNET provides, including instant settlement transfers and other features such as bi-directional messaging, liquidity management, and credit lines.

The partnership further aims to “increase Novatti’s competitiveness” while offering users better and more efficient payment solutions [especially in Australia and Southeast Asia], managing director of Novatti, Peter Cook, said.

Cook further praised Ripple’s partnership with his sights on integrating the innovative blockchain and decentralized solutions RippleNET offers. He further said,

“In particular, we look forward to working with Ripple to provide our customers with access to their exciting alternative financing solutions so that our customers can free-up capital to focus on growing their businesses.”

At launch, the services will only target cross-border transfers across Australia and South East Asia region customers with a plan to strengthen its hold in the Australian market. This is expected to grow Novatti’s potential revenue and customer base in its core payments business, the report further states.

The company recorded its highest quarterly revenue in data collected in September – a total of $3.65 million – representing a 46% year-on-year growth. Moreover, the company welcomed the partnership of UnionPay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, VISA, and Alipay recently. Cook concluded,

“This partnership will fast-track Novatti’s international expansion, particularly in South-East Asia. In doing so, we aim to deliver increased transaction volumes and revenue growth for Novatti’s core payment processing business.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon Still on The Sidelines, Bitcoin’s ‘Not My cup of Tea’

Jamie Dimon, the CEO of banking giant J.P Morgan Chase, has again expressed his disinterest in Bitcoin during the recently concluded DealBook Online Summit. Andrew Ross of CNBC hosted the virtual event, and in-attendance were other prominent figures, including Lebron James, Elizabeth Warren, and the CFO of Google and Alphabet, Ruth Porat.

Dimon reiterated that he is not interested in Bitcoin but believes in properly regulated and properly backed cryptocurrencies. He was keen to note that Bitcoin is not his cup of tea and doesn’t want to make headlines in line with the flagship cryptocurrency. This is not the first time the JP Morgan CEO has come at Bitcoin; back in 2017, Dimon called BTC a fraud, attracting a backlash from the crypto community.

Nonetheless, he highlighted that blockchain would be a critical tech ‘in helping people move money around the world cheaper.’ JP Morgan already runs its dollar-backed coin and has been developing solutions around blockchain tech. Dimon echoed that,

“We have the JP Morgan Coin, which is a dollar-backed blockchain. You can move the money, split it into pieces … We believe in cryptocurrencies properly regulated and properly backed. Bitcoin is different, and that’s not my cup of tea.”

Meanwhile, BTC continues its bullish trend, although the market seems to have consolidated between $17,500-17,900. Interestingly, financial institutions, including JP Morgan bank, are among the stakeholders that have recently signaled BTC’s fundamentally bullish trend in the coming decade.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

After Kraken, Avanti Granted the License to Become a Crypto Bank by Wyoming State Regulator

The first one was Kraken, and now another crypto bank is here. The Wyoming State Banking Board granted Avanti Bank & Trust a bank charter with 8-0 votes that give it the same powers as national banks. With this, Avanti can now provide custody service for digital assets as a qualified custodian and deposit customer funds that are 100% backed by reserves.

Avanti is also planning to launch its tokenized US dollar called Avit, for which a patent is pending. The stablecoin is planned to be issued on both Liquid, a Bitcoin sidechain, and Ethereum initially, with other blockchains to follow in the future based on customer demand and network security.

The crypto bank will start providing commercial accounts in early 2021, followed by other accounts with a high minimum balance. Caitlin Long, Avanti’s founder, and CEO said,

“Avanti’s mission is to provide a compliant bridge between the traditional and digital asset financial systems, with the strictest level of institutional custody standards.”

“Wyoming has the only U.S. regulator with a bank supervisory and regulatory program for digital assets that is near completion.”

As a bank, Avanti will fully comply with the Bank Secrecy Act, anti-money laundering, and OFAC-related laws, rules, and regulations.

Also Read: Kraken Gets Approval in Wyoming to Become America’s First Crypto Bank

More Reading: Kraken’s Crypto Bank Is “An Accident Waiting to Happen,” says Bank Policy Institute

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Author: AnTy

Cashaa’s New Joint Venture, UNICAS, to Roll Out 22 Physical Crypto Banks in India

U.K. based cryptocurrency firm, Cashaa partners with India’s banking service provider, United Multistate Credit Cooperative Society, as the latter, introduces banking transactions using cryptocurrencies to 22 physical locations in northern India. According to a blog post on Medium, the two financial firms will operate under a joint venture, UNICAS, to launch the products in December this year.

The UNICAS venture will allow users to invest in cryptocurrency, real estate, gold, and other physical assets directly, buy crypto using cash at any of the 22 physical locations, and take up loans against their digital assets. Cashaa plans to open over 100 physical locations across India in 2021, currently stationed across three states – Delhi, Rajasthan, and Gujarat, with a combined population of over 140 million.

The Indian based bank will provide the physical locations and licenses necessary to operate in the country while Cashaa joins in with experience in the crypto space. Mr. Dinesh Kukreja, Managing Director of United Multistate Credit Co. Operative Society, will lead UNICAS as the joint venture’s chief executive.

“We are the first regulated financial institution in the world with physical branches where users can access crypto products,” Kukreja, CEO, UNICAS.

Kukreja stated the project would allow the company to “scale and offer customized financial and crypto products for the local Indian markets.” The banking location will be reconstructed as crypto launches, allowing crypto transactions using the rupee and asking for loans using your crypto assets.

At launch, the banks will allow transactions, buying, and selling of six cryptocurrencies, including – Bitcoin (BTC), Cashaa (CAS), Ethereum (ETH), Binance (BNB), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), EOS, Litecoin (LTC), and Ripple (XRP).

However, there still is the dark cloud of regulation from the Indian government following the Supreme Court’s ruling – overturning the blanket ban of cryptocurrencies imposed by the Royal Bank of India (RBI). Kumar Gaurav, Founder & CEO of Cashaa, said the confused nature of the government could be the reason “most Indians are not aware or are miss guided about cryptocurrency as an online product.”

“They tend to trust what they see or what the government recognizes and recommends,” he continued. “Also, India is still largely a cash-based economy despite a Demonetization drive. With UNICAS Crypto lounges we intend to address both issues which are slowing the process of cryptocurrency adoption in India.”

The joint venture aims at rapidly expanding its reach across India – targeting over 100 branches serving cryptocurrency customers in 2021. With the traditional finance world merging with the innovative crypto industry, Kukreja aims the partnership will “bring enormous transformation to both Indian fintech and the crypto industry.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Crypto Business Banking Startup, Multis, Raises $2.2M Backed by Coinbase & Y Combinator

Multis, a French-based business banking startup, has raised $2.2 million in its seed fund round that attracted industry giants, including Coinbase Ventures, Digital Currency Group, Y Combinator, and White Star Capital. The firm’s operational niche is building business bank accounts that allow clients to send, receive, and manage cryptocurrencies.

According to Multis Co-founder and CEO, Thibaut Sahaghian, crypto management is pretty complicated for prospectus companies that may wish to leverage digital payments,

“It’s very complicated to manage crypto as a company. As soon as you want to hold crypto or start paying employees and contractors, it’s a giant mess.”

However, Multis, which runs software as a service (SaaS) product suited for corporate teams, solves this challenge through its crypto-oriented business bank account. The Multis bank accounts leverage a multi-sig wallet based on Ethereum blockchain; this design allows the addition of other team members and the setting of fundamental guidelines.

Notably, Multis does not control clients’ keys, which means that the firm has no authority to block transactions or review the same. Sahaghian noted that their approach as a non-custodial crypto service provider eliminates a considerable amount of regulatory risk,

“From a regulatory point of view, it’s been very useful because we don’t hold assets and we can’t review and block transactions.”

The Multis business bank accounts also support stablecoins such as DAI and USDC; this means that clients can eliminate crypto volatility by holding their assets in the form of ERC-20 stablecoins. In addition to this, Multis provides an avenue to yield DeFi returns through Compound protocol.

Currently, a good part of Multis clients fall in the blockchain and crypto space, but the firm is looking to expand this market share with the integration of EUR and USD accounts via IBANs and cards. The firm has since expressed optimism in providing centralized management for crypto transactions; TechCrunch highlighted,

“Multis could act as a bridge between fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies. Companies with offices in multiple countries could use it to save money on intercompany fees.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

OCC Needs to Provide Regulation Clarity to Protect Users and Businesses

The chair of Senate’s powerful committee in charge of banking, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), has asked the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to update his committee on its recent Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in regards to crypto services.

In a letter dated September 1 and addressed to Brian Brooks, acting comptroller at OCC, Sen. Crapo says that it is vital to provide an update to the committee in regards to the office’s recent announcement that national banks, as well as federal savings associations, can provide crypto custody services.

The federal banking regulator had in June last year invited the public to provide their opinion in regards to how cryptocurrencies are used or treated within the financial industry.

The invitation saw about 90 banks, crypto firms, academia, as well as other organizations in the industry respond. Some major US banks stated that they were open to offering crypto services if there are clear regulations.

Crapo is asking the OCC to give the committee an update. “Provide the committee with an update on its findings and the next steps the OCC intends to take with this technology,” Crapo’s letter reads.

Crapo also urges the OCC to come up with clear and precise rules that will help the industry to grow rather than trampling its development.

“The U.S. should develop clear rules of the road that protect businesses and consumers without stifling future innovation,” the letter states.

Crapo explains that the crypto space is providing products as well as services that are diverse in the finance industry, which are not only inevitable but also beneficial. In this regard, Crapo urges the OCC to ensure that the regulations should allow the US to lead in its development.

Previously, Crapo, as the chair of the Banking Committee, has headed various Senate hearings on blockchain and cryptocurrency-related topics. A key area of focus for the committee has been the Facebook-led Libra project, which Crapo has raised concerns on whether the global stablecoin project should observe the US regulations.

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Author: Joseph Kibe