Mike Novogratz Has a Theory About How Institutions Enter the Bitcoin Ecosystem

Mike Novogratz wants Bitcoin to be successful. This is no secret, as he owns Galaxy Digital, a company that offers crypto investments to wealthy people. Now he has a theory on how to get more institutions investing in the asset. He believes that targetting to wealthiest of all Americans, the baby boomers are a good idea.

According to the CEO of Galaxy Digital, elderly people tend to shy away from assets that are considered more speculative, which is why they are not so eager to invest in Bitcoin as Millenials, for instance. Now, he wants to change that with his new products, two crypto funds that cater to these specific investors.

A new piece of research made by CoinRadar shows that over 70% of all people with 55 years or more don’t really own Bitcoin or want to do it. As they hold most of the money and the current generation is at least 12 times poorer than them, they are the most interesting investors for companies such as Galaxy Digital.

Novogratz understands that a lot of billionaires are into crypto right now and believes that more Wall Street investors will move into this new market, but to him, the main point is to get baby boomers more interested in Bitcoin.

It is important to understand their realities and how they can be interested in the asset. This way, a whole new way of investments will be open to the company and these two new funds that were created are just the first step for that.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Despite ‘Fraudulent’ Launch Reports, China’s Central Bank Is Still Researching CBDC’s

  • Multiple news reports have released projected timetables on the launch of the digital yuan.
  • The research on the creation of PBoC’s digital yuan has been ongoing for five years.

Despite having a longtime ban against cryptocurrency, the People’s Bank of China recently decided to research the use of digital currency for themselves. While there have been multiple news reports stating that the central bank has already issued digital currency, the PBoC has stated that the claims are “fraudulent.” Instead, the official statement from the bank is that they are “still in the process of research and testing.”

The PBoC added, “The People’s Bank of China has not issued legal digital currency (DC/EP) and has not authorized any asset trading platform to conduct transactions.” Even with this official statement, some news outlets have put out projected launch timetables, which the central bank has stated is “inaccurate.” The bank remarked, “The market transactions ‘DC/EP’ or ‘DCEP’ are illegally set digital currency, and the legal digital currency issuance time is inaccurate.”

No details are directly available from the PBoC regarding a schedule or even a launch date. Warning the public, the PBoC stated that the launch announcements could involve “fraud and pyramid schemes.”

The research regarding the development of digital currency has been an ongoing effort since 2014 for China, and it is “almost ready” for launch, according to head of the digital currency research institute Mu Changchun. Yesterday, Changchun stated that the information of the people will not be controlled by the digital yuan. On the contrary, its launch will offer the people anonymity with their transactions.

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Author: Krystle M

Revolut’s Crypto Trading Bank Aims to Raise $500 Million For A ‘Global Hiring Spree’

  • Revolut offers many digital services from their banking app, including money management tools and slicker apps.
  • CEO and founder Nikolay Storonsky said that the company hopes to increase their staff to 5,000 members by late next year.

Revolut is a major digital banking app in Britain, but it looks like the brand is looking to establish itself in the rest of the world as well. According to a news article with Reuters, the British-based app is hoping to raise a minimum of $500 million with investors next year, which will be used to fund their “spree” of new hires around the world. This process will allow the brand to get into multiple markets around the world, including the United States and Japan.

The app has continually made waves in the financial industry, as the slicker apps, money management tools, and other offers challenge high street banks to get more digitally involved. Nikolay Storonsky, the CEO and founder of the company, spoke with Reuters on Tuesday about the developments. Storonsky stated, “We want to raise at least $500 million in direct equity and potentially, maybe at a later stage, up to $1 billion in convertible [debt].”

He added, “We have done soft marketing with investors and we are continuing doing it, so hopefully in the next several months, we’ll get it done,” in regard to the fundraising efforts. Revolut has had substantially and fasts progress since it was launched only three years ago. Presently, there are over 8 million customers that are involved with the brand.

Now, the goal is to expand partnerships involving Visa and Mastercard and to push for the global expansion that they’ve already launched in the United States and Singapore. Starting with 1,800 employees, Storonsky expressed that the staff will hopefully expand to 5,000 people by the end of next year. He added, “Right now, I would say 60 percent of my time is just spent on hiring.”

Through these hires, Revolut is looking to add technology developers, data scientists, support staff, compliance experts, and senior executives to the company. Right now, there are ongoing discussions with private equity investors and others to add more funding at this stage, hoping to secure investors that will be providing checks worth $50 million to $100 million.

While investors seemingly are willing to fund larger startups, the 35-year old founder states that they are becoming wearier of where they place their funding. He stated that the demand for “good healthy businesses” remains, but the investors set to get involved with them are more focused on the profits that they bring in and the economics. Just a few years ago, the focus was on market domination and growth instead, though Storonsky commented that Revolut’s revenue and growth margins were much bigger than other fintech right now.

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Author: Krystle M

China’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Will Launch In Next 60-90 Days Per HCM Capital Exec

Jack Lee, the founding partner of HCM Capital, has recently affirmed that the central bank digital currency (CBDC) of China is being created and is expected to be launched in the next few months.

According to a recent interview with CNBC, Lee said that the central bank of China will use the new digital currency to have more strength over its capital flows. He also noted that the Chinese government uses serial numbers on banknotes to track cash flows, so this would basically be a more efficient system.

He claims that we’ll see this system, which is being called the Digital Currency Electronic Payment system, pretty soon. The official narrative created by China is that the launch is “near” but no official date has been stated, which means that he may be right about this.

Daniela Stoffel, the state secretary of international finances in Switzerland, was also interviewed by CNBC.

She said,

“The pressure has been on for a while. […] Other governments now realize this is now actually really happening and that the questions and challenges that are implied in an e-currency are now real. I hope this will lend further momentum to decisions on a global basis.”

While there are some concerns about money laundering and other related topics, she claims that the regulators have already understood that they have no choice but to take these systems seriously and that we are about to see a whole new age of digital currencies backed by central banks very soon.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

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

Digital Currency Project Report by Thailand and Hong Kong Is Due to Release in Q1 2020

  • Thailand and Hong Kong have both been researching the potential use of digital currency by their central banks.
  • Senior executive director Edmond Lau of HKMA stated that there presently isn’t a need to issue digital currency for retail use.

Digital currency has been a topic of interest since the industry began, but the concept of implementing national versions of these currencies is becoming more and more appealing. Hong Kong and Thailand have expressed interest in establishing their own digital currency as well, controlled by their central banks. According to reports from The Block, we can expect a combined report from the two countries within the first 3 months of 2020.

The news was announced just this week by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), according to a local media outlet called EJ Insight. This was set up between the two giants in May 2019, allowing them to collectively research the risks and also the benefits of starting their own central bank digital currencies. Previously, the central banks had separately been researching CBDC’s through the LionRock and Inthanon projects.

By joining forces, the banks have been able to research the use of payment-versus-payment (PvP) settlement among the Hong Kong and Thailand banks, using a wholesale CBDC. The EJ Insight report stated that the HKMA has collaborated with the People’s Bank of China in several projects, using their digital currency research institute.

A senior CEO at HKMA, Edmond Lau, noted that the goal of the central bank is to concentrate more on the governmental side, and that there doesn’t appear to be a need for the issuance of this currency for retail users. As The Block summarizes, it also appears that the HKMA is going to use digital currency for their domestic interbank payments, wholesale-level corporate payments, and also securities settlement.

The Inthanon project has been an effort of the BoT since late summer of last year, while the HKMA has continued working on LionRock for the past 2 years.

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Author: Krystle M

Webjet Debuts New Hotel Booking Verification Blockchain based on Microsoft Azure

Webjet, a leading digital travel agent is excited to launch its blockchain platform with an objective of eliminating the existing disparities in hostel booking processes and data. The new project, Rezchain, is an application that will help address overcharges and reservation snafus in hotel booking by tracing data mismatches between booking agents, hostels and customers.

According to the company, such errors occur in about 5% of all hotel bookings. The application will send alerts to the interested parties if any are found. Such errors cause many firms to suffer financial resource losses. Besides the financial exposures, the reconciliation process is painful and time-consuming.

Webjet was launched two decades ago in 1998 as an online travel agent company operating in North America, Southeast Asia and Australia. The company has a project called WebBeds that offers a Business-to-business accommodation online platform.

“Mistakes should be expected from multiple IT systems that speak different languages. Writing off debts remains as the last resort whenever the situation is not clear. That has been a cost of doing business for decades, but the industry does not have to suffer from that anymore,”

said John Guscic, the managing director at Webjet.

Webjet believes it will leverage blockchain technology distributed nature by employing early warning systems via Email and a “virtual handshake”. Rezchain will store information in a shared ledger which will give all parties interested in online booking access to timely information. The application has been built on what we can refer to as a private version of Ethereum.

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Author: Denis Miriti

Russia Outlines Plan to Allow for Confiscation of Cryptocurrencies by the End of 2021

The Russian government is considering enforcing a law to curtail the use of digital assets for criminal activities, local financial news outlet RBC reported on November 7.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, along with other relevant authorities, plan to roll out a legal mechanism that would allow seizure of virtual assets for confiscation by December 31, 2021. This would give police the power to confiscate any user’s bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.

The plan comes in the wake of rising crypto-related illegal activities in the country.

Alena Zelenovskaya, head of criminal and administrative law practice at NSA Amuleks said,

“The trend of a constant increase in the number of crimes using virtual assets, the insecurity of individuals from this type of criminal encroachment, of course, dictate the need to develop mechanisms for legal regulation and control over the circulation of virtual assets.”

As per the new proposal, confiscation of virtual assets will be made possible only by the order of the court. Despite the resolve, how will authorities confiscate something that is completely decentralized is not clear.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency holders either store assets in a wallet or on a crypto exchange. Government will face trouble accessing the crypto wallet because each comes with a private digital key. This means that only the owner of the wallet has the password to unlock it. Additionally, the government will need to prove that the crypto wallet, which is completely anonymous, belongs to the said person.

If the assets are stored on a crypto exchange, the government will be able to block an account only if the exchange complies. Exchanges that operate outside Russian jurisdiction will be free to ignore any such requests.

That aside, for the confiscations to work, the Russian legal system will need to recognize crypto-assets as either commodities or an equivalent to cash. This would mean giving a legal status to crypto which might face heavy resistance from the Bank of Russia.

Though right now it might seem impossible to control something as ‘un-confiscatable’ as crypto, it would be interesting to note how the proposal shapes up and what it does to the backlash against bitcoin in several other countries.

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Author: Sakshi Jain

New Blockchain Alliance By Chinese Authorities Aims to Improve Trade Finance

  • China is almost ready to release their national digital currency, which has been in development for five years.
  • Chinese President Jinping has voiced public support for the progress of blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology is continually finding itself in different use cases, and the municipal Shanghai government is setting out to improve the use of this fintech for global trade. The collaboration is between the authorities and financial institutions, establishing an alliance that will improve the operations for trade finance. According to reports by The Block and Global Times, the members of the alliance presently include (but are not limited to) the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, Shanghai Customs, the People’s Bank of China, and the Bank of Communications.

Ye Jian, a general administration official at Shanghai Customs, stated,

“This is the first blockchain application project in customs. China upholds multilateral trade and constantly improves its business environment by seeking technological innovation.”

There are already multiple free trade zones in China that have applied blockchain technology, allowing them to reduce the cost and speed of operations, while offering digital trading options.

In China, blockchain has been a popular technology, especially considering the public support from President Xi Jinping for it. Jinping stated China should be taking on a leading position in its ongoing development. Following five years of ongoing research and development, China is almost prepared to launch their own government-based digital currency.

As far as blockchain technology, Qi Hong of the China Construction Bank Shanghai branch says that the tech is still in an early phase of experimentation.

He added,

“We now use blockchain in sporadic financial products instead of the whole finance industry chain, and the public doesn’t have a sound understanding of the technology when it comes to financing. But I think the government’s call for blockchain construction will help push the technology’s application in a more comprehensive way.”

Yesterday, Hong Kong established a partnership with mainland China for a blockchain project that will help with trade finance operations.

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Author: Krystle M

EU Will Opt Against Issuing Stablecoins, Instead Choosing to Regulate Existing Stablecoins

  • Stablecoins are digital assets that are pegged directly to a currency or commodity.
  • The EU is expected to approve the new declaration on stablecoins by December 5th.

Stablecoins are one of the most consistent assets of the cryptocurrency industry, and there have already been many countries and companies to come out with their own versions. While the idea of having an asset pegged to an asset is appealing to some, the European Union is notably setting themselves apart. While the EU isn’t launching their own stablecoin, they have decided to look at how to regulate these assets.

A group of individuals within the EU presidency is working to develop their own guidance on regulating stablecoins, according to someone familiar with the matter who spoke with CoinDesk. The story was originally reported by Reuters, and the declaration will specifically state that the EU should regulate stablecoins.

The source told CoinDesk, “This is a rather short declaration that is about the EU position on how to handle those new types of cryptocurrencies,” the source told CoinDesk. “The focus is on how those cryptocurrencies should be regulated.”

This declaration is meant to come in response to the launch of Libra by Facebook. Even with many regulatory concerns, Libra hasn’t slowed or stopped the progress on their goal of launching next year. The governing council for the asset formally signing onto the project in October. While the declaration expresses the need to regulate stablecoins, it doesn’t state that the EU should create its own cryptocurrency in response. Instead, according to the source, the idea of launching a stablecoin is more of an idea that “should be explored,” though there’s no indication right now that the EU is going to explore it.

The source added, “The statement is to highlight the need for a proper regulatory framework for those stablecoins and as a consequence, different ideas should be explored. One of them is the possibility of having something that is managed by the ECB [European Central Bank] and other central banks.”

At this point, a summary on what the final declaration will say isn’t something that the source feels confident in speaking to. However, on November 8th, the statement will be officially finalized before being presented to the finance ministers of the EU. However, the EU is expected to adopt the declaration on December 5th, which is the next meeting of the finance ministers, says the source.

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Author: Krystle M