Ripple Getting Rich on XRP Price Jump & Selling the Surging MoneyGram Shares

A year later, Ripple is selling about one-third of its stake in the payments company MoneyGram.

San Francisco-based fintech startup is selling up to 4 million shares, which means roughly 33.3% of its stake, as per the filing with the US SEC on Friday.

In Nov. 2019, Ripple had made a $50 million investment in MoneyGram.

After the sale, Ripple would still own nearly 4.45% of MoneyGram, with the ownership of 3.22 million shares.

Ripple also has the warrant to buy up to 5.95 million additional shares at the predetermined price, which brings its stake at MoneyGram at around 11%.

In June 2019, when the initial investment was originally announced, Ripple bought MoneyGram’s shares at $4.10 each, which was at a “significant premium” to the market share price of $3.18 at the time.

However, currently, MoneyGram shares are trading at $7.42, rallying almost 175% in the past two months, which could profit Ripple.

The news of Ripple taking off some profits from cashing out its stake in MoneyGram came not long after it was revealed that Ripple gave yet another $9 million to the company in Q3 2020 for using its digital asset XRP.

Besides selling the stake in MoneyGram, Ripple, which still has the dominant ownership of XRP, is also benefiting from the huge surge in the price of the digital asset.

Recently, the company started buying back XRP as well — $46 million worth of XRP in Q3 2020.

The third-largest cryptocurrency is currently trading above $0.60, back on the rise today after falling under $0.50 on Thursday.

Before the big drop along with the rest of the crypto market, XRP went as high as $0.78, last seen in Sept. 2018. Now, on the weekend, the digital asset seems to be making another attempt at $1 as the cryptocurrency market enjoys the greens.

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Author: AnTy

Crypto.com Becomes One of the First to Acquire Provisional Licenses from Maltese Authorities

Foremost cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com has achieved another regulatory milestone. The company has bagged a preliminary approval from the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) that governs how fintech companies operate on the island.

New Territories to Conquer

The two approvals are the Financial Institution License and a Class 3 Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) License, according to an official blog post from Crypto.com.

The Financial Institution License empowers Crypto.com to issue electronic money and act as a payment service, while the VFA means it could offer crypto custody services for customers in Malta. The exchange can also execute orders on behalf of Maltese traders and deal on its own account.

It’s worth noting that Crypto.com is yet to receive these licenses. An in-principle license means that the exchange will need to meet some conditions before getting full regulatory approval.

Kris Marszalek, the crypto firm’s co-founder, and CEO explained that the approval was in line with their objective to comply with regulators in the regions they operate. He added,

“Being one of the first cryptocurrency platforms to receive in-principle approval for a Class 3 VFA License and a Financial Institution License is an important milestone and we look forward to securing licenses in more markets throughout 2021.”

Hope for “Blockchain Island” Again

Widely referred to as “Blockchain island,” Malta has been taking significant steps to ensure effective oversight of its crypto industry. In 2018, the MFSA adopted the Digital Innovation Framework with a view on developing a robust regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies and blockchain innovation.

The framework included three acts – the Innovative Technological Arrangement and Services Act, the Digital Innovation Authority Act, and the Virtual Financial Asset (VFA) Act.

Many in the crypto industry saw the VFA to be the most important of all. It required businesses to seek approval with the MFSA before trading digital assets, launching Initial Coin Offerings (IOCs), or providing custody or brokerage services in Malta.

The Act also introduced VFA Agents – so-called “gatekeepers” that provide support and advisory services to crypto firms. The MFSA approved 14 VFA agents in May 2019, although not much was heard from the country since then – especially concerning approval for companies under the VFA framework.

Soon enough, businesses got antsy about Malta and its crypto environment.

In addition to the slow approval processes, reports surfaced that local banks were declining service to blockchain and crypto firms, explaining that opening accounts for the companies was “beyond their risk appetite.”

Silvio Schembri, Malta’s Minister of Economy, told the Times of Malta that banks were reluctant to serve crypto companies because they were waiting for the MFSA to approve licenses.

The MFSA also drew some controversy when it joined several other European regulators in adopting the European Union’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5).

It is unclear how Crypto.com’s development will impact industry insiders’ view of Malta going forward. However, considering that most have griped about the MFSA’s license regime, this could be an encouraging move.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

First UK Public Listed Company, Mode Global Holdings, Converts 10% of Cash Reserves into Bitcoin

What started with public listed company MicroStrategy has now become a movement as more and more companies continue to join the ranks.

This month, after Square, now comes the London stock exchange-listed company Mode Global Holdings that is making an investment into Bitcoin.

In its press release, Mode announces it to be “the first publicly listed company in the UK” to make a “significant purchase of Bitcoin as part of its treasury investment strategy.”

The company allocates 10% of its cash reserves into Bitcoin and adopts the leading digital asset as a “treasury reserve asset” as part of its long-term goal to protect its investors’ assets from currency debasement.

However, the company didn’t disclose how much Bitcoin it is exactly planning to buy. While as per the company’s cash balance, by the end of June, the allocation only amounts to less than 7 BTC, the company raised £7.5 million on IPO (pre expenses), which puts it at about 75 BTC.

“As Mode Global Holdings is a PLC, the allocation should be transparent on the balance sheet, so it’s odd that specific amount is withheld at this stage,” noted Jason Deane, an analyst at Quantum Economics.

Bitcoin is the Way to Diversify

With the UK’s interest rates falling to a record low of 0.1%, the company was looking to diversify, which brought them to Bitcoin.

According to Mode, it always recognized Bitcoins’ potential as a reliable store of value and an attractive investment because of its safe-haven status and asymmetric risk/reward attributes. Jonathan Rowland, Executive Chairman at Mode said,

“This decision to allocate part of our cash reserves to Bitcoin is a further step in our mission to build a truly digital financial services business, combining the best of digital assets, payments, loyalty, and investment.”

Rowland sees Bitcoin as a vehicle for “financial empowerment,” in which his confidence only increased after facing the challenges of COVID-19. He said,

“Today’s allocation is executed through a modern, forward-looking but prudent treasury management strategy.”

The company further shared that their mission is to bring transparency and credibility to the digital asset space. It has also built a mobile app to buy, sell, and hold Bitcoin.

Also Read: BTC Price & PYPL Stocks Rejoice as PayPal Announces Support for Bitcoin, Ether, BCH & LTC

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Author: AnTy

Coinbase Releases Mission Protocol to Help Other Companies Adopt Similar Approach

A San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange saw several of its employees taking the severance packages and leaving the company after Coinbase clamped down on talking politics and activism at work.

It wants to help other companies set a similar apolitical mission, and for this, it has released a Mission Protocol Code of Conduct.

According to Coinbase, mission focus means being political about only the mission and putting aside those out of the project’s scope.

“Projects and organizations are full of diverse opinions, individuals, and areas of engagement. However, what brings everyone together is the pursuit of a goal that is bigger than any single individual. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Coinbase has released its v1.0 version Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License and welcomes anyone to adopt its Mission Protocol by adding a copy of it to the company’s source code repository.

As per the official website, it is open to working with companies to set their mission and help ensure that a company is “on the right track to producing social good through its mission.”

Also Read: Coinbase Turned Over Info on 1,914 Users; 96.6% Were Criminal-based Law Enforcement Requests

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Author: AnTy

World’s Largest Custodian Pursues DeFi Project to Change its Brand Name

BNY Mellon, the world’s largest custodian and asset services company with nearly $2 trillion in assets under management (AUM), asks the decentralized assets management project Melon Protocol to change its brand name.

“BNY Mellon has deployed a team of lawyers to pursue taking the Melon name away from our community,” shared the project on Twitter.

As such, they are now hunting for a new name, adding, “our community & values extends beyond a name, so we’ll focus efforts on taking their outdated business model & democratizing it so that ANYONE can be a fund manager.”

This isn’t the first time BNY Mellon has targeted the project. Two years back, they sent a cease and desist letter to Melonport, the Zug-based startup that built the Melon Protocol, allowing asset managers to create their own tokenized investment vehicles.

Started as a private company, in February 2019, it delivered v1.0 of the protocol and handed the control over to Melon Council DAO.

The investment company at that time also declared concerns regarding trademark applications by Melonport and announced that they would file an opposition against MELON CHAIN, MELON PROTOCOL, MELON FUND, and MELON MAIL trademark registrations.

Built on Ethereum, its DeFi protocol has $1.8 million of total funds locked (TVL), down from a peak of $2.5 million last month.

It’s token MLN, trading at $24.44, has a market cap of just over $13 million.

On Friday, Coinbase Custody announced deposit and withdrawal support for the token, yet another addition to the San Francisco-based crypto exchange’s DeFi steak that has them listing many other DeFi tokens in the past couple of months.

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Author: AnTy

Ripple Launches ‘Line of Credit’ Beta on RippleNet, Allows ODL Customers to Borrow XRP

Ripple is introducing another use case for its digital asset XRP.

The company launched a new beta service on RippleNet called ‘Line of Credit’ to allow its customers to use On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) to borrow from Ripple to initiate cross-border payments using XRP.

“XRP is the key behind what only RippleNet can offer,” said Asheesh Birla, GM of RippleNet.

For now, the price of XRP hasn’t reacted to the news much enthusiastically, currently trading at $0.256, along with the green market.

By removing one of the “biggest” barriers, limited access to working capital, to growth, Ripple intends to help small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and FinTechs to keep on growing without freeing up already limited capital, which involves additional overhead and is a slow, burdensome, and inefficient process.

This capital can then invest in the business to expand into new markets and reach new customers.

Ripple’s latest solution will be providing its customers with upfront access to capital for every market through one credit arrangement.

With no hidden fees, those customers who use ODL on RippleNet can purchase XRP from Ripple on credit, for which they are charged one fee on the amount borrowed.

As per Ripple, this service has already been piloted by RippleNet 300+ customers, although it didn’t provide any specific names.

“Early customer feedback on the Line of Credit beta shows that the service is helping money transfer service businesses make global transactions even more affordable for their customers,” Birla said.

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Author: AnTy

Ripple Looks For Options In Europe & Asia As the US Lags Behind In Clear Crypto Laws

  • Ripple Inc. could be leaving the United States, Executive Chairman at the company, Chris Larsen, stated on Tuesday.
  • The digital payments firm is looking for options to relocate, including Singapore, Japan, the U.K, or a friendlier country to crypto as the U.S. struggles with regulation policies in the field.

In an interview with Fortune Magazine’s Jeff John Roberts during the online LA Blockchain Summit on October 6th, Ripple Inc.’s executive chairman and founder, Chris Larsen, spoke of possible relocation. The U.S. to “crypto-friendlier nations.” As one of the largest crypto firms in the country, Ripple feels undone by the lack of regulation or policies in place and is looking at options in Europe and Asia.

Over the past few years, the payments firm has faced increased scrutiny from U.S. government authorities, especially the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). The securities authority has, in the past, raised claims that XRP is a security claiming Ripple should apply for a securities license – a claim Ripple has vehemently denied.

While the pursuit from the SEC could be welcome, a lack of regulation or laws governing crypto payments or blockchain innovation is key in Ripple’s decision to move from the U.S. Speaking on the issue, Larsen said,

“The message is blockchain, and digital currencies are not welcome in the U.S. You want to be in this business, you probably should be going somewhere else. To be honest with you, we’re even looking at relocating our headquarters to a much more-friendly jurisdiction.”

Larsen also said that while the move from the U.S would not completely overrule jurisdiction from the authorities, Ripple would “feel relief” to have another country be the company’s chief regulator. Circle did just this last year.

The move has raised support from some of the top cryptocurrency influencers, including TechCrunch, Crunch Base, and XRP Capital founder, Michael Arrington, who tweeted the lack of crypto regulation in the U.S. a “disaster.” Supporting the tweet, Ripple CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, wrote,

”Strongest internet companies built in the US, in part b/c of regulatory clarity. We have that opposite with blockchain + digital assets. Responsible players like Ripple aren’t looking to avoid rules; we want to operate in a jurisdiction where the rules are clear.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

RockX to Provide $500K Funding to Projects Building on Polkadot; $20 Million in Total

RockX, a digital asset development company, has announced a $20 million investment program for the Polkadot ecosystem over the next five years. The $20 million investment boost will be capped at $500,000 worth of native DOT token per project. In return, the RockX company would receive equity in the project or tokens worth the same value.

Alex Lam, the co-founder of RockX, who also runs a Bitcoin mining farm by the name of RockMiner, revealed that the funding for the Polkadot project was launched after receiving financial aid from several investors who like to remain anonymous. Lam revealed that most of these investors are big-time DOT token holders and Ethereum proponents. Lam said,

“They are guys who have been in the Ethereum community since 2015, and have supported the Ethereum ecosystem in the past via investments and building projects.”

The co-founder of RockX also said that his company would also offer technical support to the Polkadot ecosystem. RockX is currently running a node for Polkadot, Cosmos, Solana, Oasis, and Terra.

Investors Won’t Influence Any Projects

RockX co-founder revealed that despite the investment that these anonymous investors are making, they would have no say in which projects get the grant and how much they would receive. The RockX team would solely make the decision.

Apart from the $500k maximum cap for each project, RockX could also grant a ‘no-string-attached’ kind of funding to independent projects as well.

The $20 million investment grant also comes just weeks after Polkadot established its treasury. Although the investment grant has nothing to do with the treasury, both of them share a similar goal of boosting and expanding the Polkadot ecosystem while helping projects to grow and build decentralized useful products for mass consumption.

Signum Capital, one of the largest crypto funds in South East Asia and an investor in the RockX project, was all praises for RockX and its latest initiative. John Ng Pangilinan, the Managing Partner for Signum Capital, said,

“RockX is taking a step further to help blockchains grow by leveraging its technical capabilities and investor networks. This will set up a new collaborative model for the industry.”

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Author: Silvia A

Blockchain Capital Becomes the 27th Member to Join the Facebook-Backed Libra Association

  • Blockchain Capital, an investment company that was among the first ones to finance crypto-based projects, has joined Libra Association, the governance body spearheading the Facebook-led Libra blockchain project.

In a press statement shared with Bitcoin Exchange Guide, Libra Association stated that one of the giant venture capital firms in the industry has become its latest member. The association further added that Blockchain Capital will advise on various aspects in regards to its payment system.

Blockchain capital is also set to offer its various experts as well as different industry figures for use by the association, Libra’s chief of policy and communication Dante Disparte stated.

The Libra Association now has 30 members who are working together to design a “more equitable payment system” with Libra.

Blockchain Capital’s co-founder and managing partner, Bart Stephens stated that his company believes that modern technology can be used to enhance financial access in the world. He said:

“Leveraging blockchain technology to improve financial access and promote innovation has been at the core of Blockchain Capital’s portfolio strategy.”

Blockchain Capital was started in 2013 and has so far invested in more than 80 companies within the blockchain and crypto industry inclusive of Ripple and Coinbase.

The Libra Association was started in June 2018 following Facebook’s release of a white paper for its intended stablecoin project dubbed Libra. At that time, the association included various global firms as founding members such as Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, eBay, Stripe, Uber, Andreessen Horowitz as well as Coinbase. However, most of them have departed the association following regulatory pressure and scrutiny from the authorities.

Libra Association has added various firms this year such as Shopify and Checkout.com in efforts to revitalize the association. However, the firm is still miles away from its target of 100 members.

The association which is based in Switzerland has also been active in appointing top executives and on Thursday, the firm announced the appointment of ex HSBC CEO as the chief of its operating firm, Libra Networks LLC. The association had also previously announced the appointment of Stuart Levey, HSBC’s ex legal officer as its CEO.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Jack Dorsey’s Square Launches COPA to Ensure Bitcoin & Crypto Remain ‘Free and Open’

Bitcoin proponent Jack Dorsey’s payment company Square, which first ventured into crypto in 2018, is now inviting cryptocurrency firms to join its Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA) to ensure the industry remains open-source. Dorsey wrote,

“Square is putting all of our crypto patents into a new non-profit org we’re calling the Crypto Open Patent Alliance, which will maintain a shared patent library to help the crypto community defend against patent aggressors and trolls. Join us!”

On Thursday, the announcement was made, and COPA was launched. In its “fight to keep bitcoin and crypto free and open,” the new initiative is introduced, which ensures new ideas don’t get tied up by patent litigation.

Free to Pursue Crypto’s Future

To tackle the concern of “patent lockup” stifling innovation and adoption, Square asked the crypto community to do “what it is so famous for and come together for the greater good.” The official website reads,

“We believe there needs to be a global native currency for the internet,” and everyone should be able to “participate in cryptocurrencies and have access to its underlying innovation.”

A separate entity from Square, COPA, has a two-prong approach, including a pledge that no member asserts their patents on foundational crypto technology ever except defensively, and creating a shared patent library where members pool their crypto patents and allow each other to use them. Square Crypto said,

“As more companies join and the shared patent library grows, the freer we’ll all be to pursue crypto’s future.”

In the US, the number of blockchain and crypto-related patents already doubled between 2016 to 2017. Even Microsoft filed a patent last year for a mining system powered by human activity.

The Native Currency of Internet but “Intuitive”

Dorsey is known for his bitcoin support, who believes it could be the “native currency of the Internet.”

In an interview with Reuters this week, Dorsey re-emphasized on it, saying, like the internet, bitcoin is consensus-driven. He said,

“I think the internet warrants a […] native currency and […] Bitcoin is probably the best manifestation of that thus far. I can’t see that changing given all the people who want the same thing and build it for that potential.”

But for the leading digital asset to interact with money and change the way most people think of it, it must be “intuitive.”

The main main point here is that bitcoin is expensive to use and that people must understand why they use it and access it in a way that is similar to dealing with cash. Dorsey said,

“We have to build the coin in such a way that it is as intuitive as fast and as efficient as what exists today and obviously goes beyond that.”

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Author: AnTy