Binance’s Plan to Return to Japan Falls Through The Cracks As Deal With TaoTao Collapses

In a report first made public by Coindesk Japan, Binance exchange’s deal with Japan-based crypto trading exchange, TaoTao, has fallen through. According to the statement, the two companies have called off the strategic alliance that could see Binance services return to the island nation.

The largest global cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, announced in 2019 they will be restricting their services to Japan residents with increased scrutiny from the Financial Service Authority (FSA). In January this year, BEG reported Binance was in a strategic alliance agreement with TaoTao, the crypto exchange wing of Z Corporation. The two latter firms are under Z Holdings, the firm in charge of the Yahoo Japan enterprise.

After nine months of discussions, the deal has been abandoned, however, the statement from TaoTao, released Monday, did not give a clear explanation as to why the deal was abandoned.

Binance announced its restrictions to Japan residents shortly before the discussions with TaoTao began. Trading services to Japan-based clients will continue as normal in the future.

Binance is also facing a possible lawsuit in Japan after the locally-based crypto exchange, Fisco (formerly Zaif), which was hacked in 2018, that claimed over $9 million in crypto stolen was transferred and withdrawn from their platform. Binance has yet to comment on the alleged money laundering claims from Fisco.

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Author: Lujan Odera

ChainLink Partners With Crypto.com to Integrate Price Feeds Into Its DeFi Wallet

  • Crypto.com has revealed that it has inked a deal that will lead to the integration of Chainlink’s price feeds with its decentralized finance (DeFi) wallet product.

On Monday, the wallet and payment card provider based in Hong Kong, stated that Chainlink’s Price Reference Data has been directly integrated with its DeFi wallet which will give its clients ready access for its price feeds.

The addition of Chainlink’s price feeds into Crypto.com’s DeFi wallet is in line with the latter’s expansion program towards booming spaces. According to Eric Anziani, Crypto.com’s chief operating officer, the partnership will add more value to its customers. Anziani explained:

“I would say with the partnership with Chainlink is kind of our first integration with a DeFi protocol, it brings value to our customers in terms of providing transparency in the prices that we’re giving them in our DeFi wallet and also making sure our ecosystem token CRO can be integrated into the external protocol by building a price feed for CRO specifically thanks to the Chainlink architecture.”

According to a press release shared with Bitcoin Exchange Guide, the firm will start with its native token in receiving the decentralized price feed, CRO/ETH but plans are underway for the addition of CRO/USD. Anziani clarified that the firm will kick off with DeFi tokens, however plans are underway to utilize Chainlink’s price feeds for the rest of the tokens within its ecosystem.

Anziani also explained that the expansion is not intended to take advantage of the current hype, but is driven by the basic belief that each person is entitled to have the control of their money, identity as well as data and the blockchain tech-based firms should lead towards this achievement.

Speaking on the recent controversy surrounding top exchanges listing the much-hyped SUSHI token, Anziani explained that his firm’s clients trust that Crypto.com has solid due diligence protocols before a new asset is listed which informed the firm’s decision not to list it.

Crypto.com rolled on its wallet at the start of this year touting it as a user friendly wallet to capitalize on the buzz around DeFi space.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

After US Secret Service, Coinbase Strikes a Deal with IRS to Sell its Data

Coinbase has now struck a deal with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for its Coinbase Analytics blockchain software.

According to the public records, available on the government database, the contract was signed on July 14 for $124,950 and will be effective from next week on July 23. It will last for a year with an option to renew for another year.

According to the IRS: “Virtual currency transactions are taxable by law just like transactions in any other property,” and taxpayers need to report such transactions on their tax returns.

“Virtual Currency is a digital representation of value that functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and/or a store of value,” reads its website.

Last month it became public knowledge that the IRS and DEA were looking to buy the software license from Coinbase, which “allows for the analysis and tracking of cryptocurrency flows across multiple blockchains that criminals are currently using.”

The analytics platform was the result of Coinbase’s controversial acquisition of Neutrino. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong recently said, “did not go very well honestly, and we had to cycle out some team members” but added that they “were able to rebuild the team, and set up this functionality in-house.”

The company has emphasized on numerous occasions that the software just compiles “publicly available data,” and they organize it to “make it more useful.”

The latest contract is signed just a week after the US Secret Service went into an agreement with Coinbase for its analytics software. Following the news, Armstrong said this software helps them,

“build relationships with law enforcement, which is important for the industry, especially if you want more fiat in the world to flow into crypto over time.”

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Author: AnTy

Russian Bank, Sberbank, Announces $100M Contract To Buy 5000 Blockchain-Enabled ATMs

Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank announced a $100 million deal to set up nearly five thousand blockchain-enabled ATMs across the country.

The initiative is aiming at reducing the contact with bank cards and cash through integration with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Huawei Pay and Mir Pay. However, the partnership will not include any crypto payments on the platform.

A local Russian news release, Izvestia, confirmed Sberbank’s launch of over 5000 automated teller machines (ATMs) across the country. The measures employed by the blockchain-friendly bank are expected to combat the spread of the current CoronaVirus pandemic.

The machines are expected to hold at least $14,500 USD with enhanced blockchain capabilities, vandalism resistant manufacturing and employ video cards for facial recognition. As per the report, the bank forked out a total of $108 million on the project to reduce the contact on the screen on the ATMs by allowing users to directly connect through their smartphones.

The bank is on the forefront in adoption of blockchain technology in the Russian financial industry but has strongly opposed any implementation of cryptocurrencies into their own systems.

In November 2019, Sberbank became the first bank to be awarded a distributed ledger technology (DLT) patent for an operational engine using DLT and a Repurchase Agreement (repo) dealing with a smart contract solution.

Russia’s Involvement in Blockchain and Crypto

The government-affiliated bank is heavily invested in blockchain. Having collaborated with the government and the Russian Economic Ministry in setting plans to open regulatory sandboxes for blockchain developments in the country.

The proposed project, if implemented, is expected to open up experimental testing in the driverless automobile industry, use of data without prior consent as well as diagnostics.

However, the government aims to toughen its laws surrounding any activity in the cryptocurrency industry including trading, investing, buying and selling of digital assets within the country. Earlier this week, Russian lawmakers proposed a draconian bill that fines any ownership and usage of crypto at up to 1 million for individuals or 2 million for businesses or seven years jail time.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Libra to Become a Reality in India? Facebook Invests $5.7 Billion in Jio Platform

In its biggest deal since WhatsApp, Facebook Inc. will invest $5.7 billion in Jio Platforms. The Tech giant will buy about 10% of the digital assets controlled by Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani to become the largest minority shareholders in the company.

This is the US company’s attempt to gain a broader foothold in WhatsApp’s biggest global market and connect the platform with e-commerce venture JioMart, which would rival Amazon and Walmart in the country.

Jio Platforms of Reliance Industries brings Jio’s digital apps, ecosystems, and wireless platform together under one umbrella. This partnership will allow Facebook to expand in India which is rapidly embracing online payment and e-commerce. Zuckerberg said in a Facebook video,

“India is a special place for us.”

“We’re also committing to work together on some critical projects that we think are going to open up a lot of opportunities for commerce in India.”

The companies will start working with Indian regulators to seek approval now that the deal is formally announced. Back in 2019, Facebook ran into opposition from Indian regulators when it tried to launch a payments feature inside WhatsApp regarding encrypted content regulation.

India Supports Tech-Issued Digital Currency

Facebook has about 250 million users in India while Whatsapp has more than 400 million. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also been aiming to introduce a digital currency in the country.

Zuckerberg has long been looking at the market for his so-called cryptocurrency project, Libra. Now, this big step might aid him in finally introducing his stablecoin to the South Asian country’s half a billion internet users.

The good thing for the tech giant is unlike the developed markets, emerging markets have confidence in tech-issued digital currency.

Developed-Markets
Source: OMFIF Report

Recently, the Supreme Court of India also lifted the restrictions put by the Reserve Bank of India on banks and financial institutions that prevented them from providing services to crypto exchanges and businesses.

India’s crypto community is welcoming this new partnership as Nischal Shetty, founder of Binance acquired crypto exchange WazirX said,

“Clear signs of Crypto emerging as a popular technology in India. Facebook investing $5.7B in Jio is great news for Indian Crypto ecosystem. FB has Libra. Jio has been working on Blockchain Crypto tech. Libra may become a reality in India.”

CryptoKanoon
Source: cryptokanoon

Facebook has also been making changes to the whitepaper of Libra as it continues to run into regulatory hurdles. Last week, the Libra Association announced that the stablecoin will be backed by individual national currencies.

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Author: AnTy

Tech Giant Huawei And Chinese Govt Partner To Propel 5G, AI, and Blockchain Adoption

The government of Nanshan District in Shenzhen China has put down a deal with Huawei, a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT). According to the deal, the two sides have established a strategic cooperation partnership, agreeing to speed up blockchain adoption.

According to a twitter post from news source ‘The Global Times‘, the agreement was penned on Friday with a common interest to seek the application of blockchain. It was also an agreement to help boost artificial intelligence and other new technologies like 5G and big data. All this is expected to boost Shenzhen City which is already the country’s technology backbone into a globally recognized hub.

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) recently coupled with Huawei to commence examination of its digital currency. The two are as well collaborating with the country’s biggest commercial banks as well as major telecommunications operators to roll out its digital currency.

Glimmer of hope

Of the total 100% global bitcoin mining share, at 66%, China owns more than half. This would be expected to reflect their positive attitude towards cryptocurrency. This is not the case as Bitcoin has been banned in China since September 2017.

Last year in October however, the President of China Xi Jinping gave hope to all cryptocurrency enthusiasts by urging them to take hold of any opportunity presented forward by blockchain technology.

New York-based research firm CB insights that analyzes data on private companies wrote that in 2019, China was responsible for 22% of all VC deals (compared to a small two percent in 2015). The firm also confirmed in its freshly published report that venture capitalists had rapidly started to pour money into blockchain-related Chinese startups.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Jack Dorsey Keeps Title As Twitter’s CEO After $2 Billion Deal With Elliott Management

The investment management company Elliot Management has closed a deal with Twitter so that Jack Dorsey remains the social media network’s CEO.

The deal closure is $2 billion in share buyback and has Elliot gaining a seat on the board of directors at Twitter, says an NBC report from March 9. The agreement also has the private equity company Silver Lake on board to make a $1 billion investment in the social media network for a board seat, while a 3rd board member still remains to be designated. Dorsey commented this about the deal:

“Silver Lake’s investment in Twitter is a strong vote of confidence in our work and our path forward. They are one of the most respected voices in technology and finance and we are fortunate to have them as our new partner and as a member of our Board.”

Dorsey’s Plans Are Raising Concerns…

Elliot Management’s founder and billionaire investor Paul Singer started in late February to make genuine efforts in order to remove Dorsey from the seat of Twitter’s CEO. What seems to be behind his move is Dorsey’s time being split between Twitter and the crypto payment company Square, both firms valued at $5 billion. Dorsey’s wish to move to Africa also had a said in all this.

…But He Has Support

After news on Dorsey’s potential removal have been released, many of the most important players in the crypto industry have started expressing their support for the Twitter exec. Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum and Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO who’s known for endorsing the crypto space lately, have said they don’t want Dorsey to step down from his position as Twitter’s CEO. Buterin, trying to question a new potential CEO competence, had this to say:

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Author: Oana Ularu

Uzbekistan Gov’t And Cardano’s Emurgo Partner On Blockchain Task Force For STO Regulations

Emurgo, Cardano’s blockchain commercial wing, has inked a partnership deal with the Uzbekistan government to help with setting up a task force which will come up with regulations to guide security token offerings (STOs as well as the operations of the exchanges (STXs), Cointelegraph reports.

In a press statement released on Jan. 20, Emurgo stated the strategic partnership also brings together the Uzbekistan government though the National Agency of Project Management, Kobea Group as well Infinity Blockchain Holdings. The task force is expected to come up with a legal framework to guide how STOs and STXs will operate in Uzbekistan.

The partnership will see Emurgo and Kobea offer advisory services on matters infrastructure in relation to digital asset banking as well as blockchain education including other aspects.

Emurgo is also set to explore the potential the prospects that Cardano’s third-generation blockchain has within the country. In addition, the blockchain education will include integrating blockchain platform in the country’s university education in efforts to churn out the next blockchain experts in the country.

Emurgo will also look at how the country’s traditional equities can be tokenized via STO in efforts to enhance transparency and security in the financial sector.

The announcement comes just days after National Agency of Project Management (NAPM) said it was prioritizing the formation of the country’s crypto mining pool in efforts to consolidate capacities of both the local and international miners.

The move aims at ensuring that crypto mining is economically efficient, enhance transparency as well as security in the industry. This will also enhance efficient use of energy and attract additional investment.

Despite the formation of the taskforce, it is still unclear of the government’s stand on the use of cryptos. The government restricted the citizens from buying cryptocurrencies in December 2019. The move caught many by surprise as the nation has shown a lenient stance when it comes to cryptocurrencies. In 2018, the government had committed to regulate and develop a licencing procedure for crypto exchanges, ICOs as well as mining operations.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Government of Lesotho Signs a Deal with Apollo Cryptocurrency Platform

The tiny country of Lesotho has entered into a deal with a crypto-related company Apollo in a bid to deliver blockchain solutions in the country. Both parties have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will guide them in delivering blockchain and cryptocurrency solutions to government departments. The collaboration targets state departments and functions in the areas of poverty alleviation, education, employment, and the private sector.

During the signing of the deal, the Ministry of Communication, Science, and Technology represented the government of Lesotho. The official announcement was relayed to both local and international news aggregators.

Lesotho to Adopt Apollo Cryptocurrency

With the two parties signing the MOU, the government of Lesotho is set to adopt the Apollo cryptocurrency, which supports decentralized file storage and a voting system. The platform aims to initiate a marketplace that “will allow users to buy, sell, and trade physical and crypto assets using the Apollo currency.”

Steve McCullah is the Director of Business Development at Apollo. He revealed that the company currently runs offices in the U.S., Europe, and plans to establish a new office in Sandton South Africa, which will serve its African clients.

“Although the exact contents of the MOU are currently confidential, we can say that we are working to design a major government platform. If this platform is implemented it would revolutionize the way government functions,” McCullah said.

Deal Focuses on Improving Public Life and Private Sector Growth

According to the announcement, the core objectives of the MOU focus on enhancing growth in the public sector and in government operations especially when it comes to solving social issues. Besides, the project will:

“create new wealth in the private sector by harnessing Apollo fintech solutions, design and implement new government systems, reduce financial crime, maximize the commercialization of the nation’s mineral wealth, [and] eradicate challenges like unemployment, poverty, and educational constraint.”

The announcement further revealed that the initiative aims to harness operations in the Lesotho import and export sectors, which include diamonds, garments, electricity, water, and workers’ remittances.

McCullah further stated that the government of Lesotho decided to engage Apollo for the initiative, based on its ability to deliver blockchain solutions. He said that blockchain technology is the most secure technology to create state systems, but the technology still faces challenges that outweigh its benefits.

Apollo will provide Lesotho with the ability to develop systems that improve efficiency and simplify operations in any state department and function.

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Author: Tokoni Uti

Legend of Mir Developer Starts Agreement With Linka Blockchain Payments Company

The developer of the Legend of Mir series, Wemade Tree, has recently signed a new deal with Linkam a blockchain payments company. According to the document signed by the parties, the blockchain gaming platform created by Wemade Tree will start to use Linka for payments.

According to the gaming company, seems that the goal of this new partnership is to make it easier for the clients to pay for services and products using the blockchain technology. The CEO of Wemade Tree, Suk Hwan Kim, affirmed that the users should have a seamless experience and that this effort was made in order to enable that.

Linka is a big company. It may not have years and years of existence, but it was founded by people who worked on companies such as Visa, American Express, Samsung, IBM and Shinhan Card.

The new platform is set to allow users to spend cash, credit cards and Link points, which are used as payment on the ecosystem. With the Linka Wallet, the clients of Wemade Tree can also use, send, receive and withdraw tokens.

Wemade Tree was created back in 2000. It is publicly traded in Korea and it has developed several online games, which are its niche, especially massively-multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).

Being so focused on the online world, the company was quick to start using the blockchain. Last year, it was one of the first companies to use the Klaytn services, for instance, which were created by the Korean giant Kakao. This year, it is expanding and using Linka’s services as well.

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Author: Gabriel Machado