CF Benchmarks Awarded FCA Licence To Become The First Crypto Index Provider In Europe

The firm that provides Bitcoin index services to Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) CF Benchmarks has been awarded a crypto index provider license by U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This makes CF Benchmarks the first firm to be authorized as a benchmark administrator in line with the European Benchmarks Regulation (EU BMR).

On Friday the UK’s FCA granted CF Benchmarks to be an administrator which means that financial companies can commence utilizing CF’s indices for any financial product being offered across the European market once the BMR comes into effect in 2020.

CF Benchmark’s CEO Sui Chung expressed gratitude after receiving the license, saying it was a major victory for crypto companies based in the EU zone. He explained that the use and provision of indices are highly regulated in EU and firms using such benchmark must ensure it originates from a regulated benchmark provider.

Chung stated that the regulatory scope for benchmarks within the EU zone for financial-based companies is very broad saying that banks, as well as asset managers, utilize the indices on various aspects. For instance, a fund manager wishing to give an exchange-traded fund (ETF) which tracks an index is required to track a licensed index.

Chung explained that the financial industry can now have access to regulated benchmarks from a highly competent team that will help in enhancing innovation as well as the adoption of virtual assets across the European Union. Speaking to Finance Magnates, Chung also stated that reliable, as well as trusted indices, are important for the development of the crypto market since they will help in bringing in more investors, both individuals, and institutions, to the market.

According to CoinDesk as the crypto industry becomes more popular, crypto indices are also becoming more important, especially from the traditional financial houses and other indices providers are likely to get the nod in the EU zone in the near future.

CF Benchmark was previously referred to as Crypto Facilities and is the current index provider of CME CF Bitcoin Reference rate. The firm was purchased at an undisclosed figure by a major US crypto exchange firm Kraken at the start of the year.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

$2 Bln (200,000 BTC) Lost In Mt. Gox Bitcoin Hack Can Be Recovered For A 75% Fee Claims Russian Law Firm

Prominent law firm from Russia Zheleznikov and Partners claims that a proposed legal action in the country can recover the funds lost in the Mt. Gox hack. They claim that they can recover an estimated 170,000 to 200,000 Bitcoins from the Russian parties who received the stolen tokens. The value of these tokens will touch $1.7 billion to $2 billion based on the current market rate, as of press time.

To start off with, they have to initiate a criminal case in Russia relating to Mt Gox. Without a criminal case being started in Russia, this information is not being brought together. To initiate a case, they have to present victims of the theft to the police. But there are numerous complications. Some of the complications will be dealt with in the new law amendment coming into force in October 2019, which would assist in recognizing cryptos as assets.

Andy Pag, a former BBC journalist and now an employee of the law firm states:

“If our assumptions of those connections are correct, the [thieves] will ultimately come forward and plead guilty, and to reduce the punishment, they will offer to recover a part of the funds. If they don’t, they will be deemed guilty by law enforcement, and then there will be a chance to sue them for damages based on the criminal case.”

The report also retailed that the law firm is asking the creditors for 50 to 75% from the recovered amount, along with hourly fees for their legal work. The company, however, will accept payments only in case of any successful recovery.

Pag is interested in the saga, as he was one of the many people who had funds on Mt. Gox when it suddenly shut down in 2014.

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Author: Sritanshu Sinha

Power Ledger Blockchain Energy Trading Platform To Try P2P Energy Trading In Australia

In collaboration with the Shire of Wongan-Ballidu in Western Australia, blockchain-based energy trading firm Power Ledger has launched a trial of its blockchain-based power management technology in rural areas.

The blockchain startup will run this project in collaboration with Innovations Central Midlands WA, BSC Solar, Sonnen and CleanTech Energy. Starting with a trial at commercial sites in the Shire of Wongan-Ballidu and Moora, the company plans to expand its reach to other regional shires in WA.

David Martin, managing director and co-founder of Power Ledger says:

“The current energy system relies on large-scale power stations pushing energy to some consumers located hundreds of kilometres away. This requires an even further energy push when trying to reach regional areas such as Wongan Hills or Moora.”

Power Ledger’s platform will facilitate P2P energy trading between participants that include shire offices, CRC/Visitor Centre, a swimming pool, medical center, sports center, local farmer, mulch company, bakery, and two agricultural machinery dealerships.

While solar power is an attractive proposition for small communities, a significant part of the energy potential goes wasted. The current model offers no compensation to commercial sites that feedback their excess energy to the grid.

Regarding this, Martin says:

“We now have the ability to generate power from our rooftops, from renewable sources — and the existing energy system needs to transition or face an increasing crisis of relevance. If successful, which we believe it will be, this could REVOLUTIONIZE the way rural energy systems operate.”

Power Ledger has active projects in Western Australia metropolitan areas and in several countries around the world including Austria, Thailand, Japan and the United States.

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Author: Sritanshu Sinha

Gemini Introduces New Settlement Product, Gemini Clearing, For OTC Trading

Crypto exchange firm, Gemini, has announced its newest offering, Gemini Clearing that will allow over-the-counter trading for its users. In a blog post, the crypto exchange announced that the new service will be accessible by everyone both retail traders as well as institutional investors.

Gemini follows other exchanges in the industry such as Huobi and Coinbase in introducing OTC trading services for all its customers.

As per the blog post, Gemini Clearing will be exclusively an off-exchange service for crypto trading. The post states that Gemini clients will be able to negotiate and agree on OTC trades and once the agreement is in place, the funds will be sent to their Gemini accounts.

Additionally, the service will allow third parties to broker the deal or two clients can arrange for the trades. The firm said that it is going to come up with various measures which will drastically reduce counterparty risk which will also make sure that the trades will be settled within the set timeline.

According to Gemini, the new OTC service will also enhance privacy since the trade details will be kept private and will not be published. This means that the trade details will only be available to the individuals or institutions involved.

To deal with fraudsters and to ensure compliance with the government requirements, all the individuals or institutions using the new service will be required to adhere with the set company KYC and anti-money laundering (AML) guidelines.

In other news, the company also announced that Noah Perlman will join the exchange as Chief Compliance Officer with the firm insisting that compliance is one of its core pillars.

Perlman is an experienced financial crime expert and previously worked as the Head of Financial Crimes at Morgan Stanley.

Coitelegraph reports that Off-exchange has been on the rise in the recent past with Kraken reporting that trading on its OTC service has increased by about 20 percent this year.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Hyperion Technologies Buys Off Vanbex Despite Criminal Investigations Into Its $22 Million ICO

Canadian-based blockchain firm, Vanbex has confirmed selling its IP to Hyperion Technologies, a Canadian crypto brokerage firm, CoinDesk reports.

According to Lisa Cheng, Vanbex co-founder, the buy off means that the products, as well as business models under Vanbex, will continue to operate under Hyperion Technologies.

Hyperion Technologies CEO, Michael Zavet, praised the acquisition saying that it was a strategic business move that will allow his company to have a large market share.

According to the press statement issued, the FUEL token that was given during an ICO which is also subject to criminal investigations will be utilized to clear transaction fees, API integration as well pay for various services offered by both Hyperion Technologies and Vanbex.

After the announcement, some Vanbex investors questioned the move seeking clarification on what will happen to the token from the firm’s CEO Kevin Hobbs. In Vanbex’s Telegram account, some investors sought to know if the deal was legally binding saying that Hyperion Technologies should continue using the FUEL token.

However, CoinDesk reports that Hyperion Technologies, as well as Vanbex, did not respond to their queries on the fate of FUEL token.

As per the press release, Vanbex will now become a blockchain consulting firm and will help Hyperion Technologies to grow in the industry.

Months ago, Vanbex revealed that it was planning to sell some of its assets to sort out the negative publicity that was affecting the company.

The press release indicated that Cheng is poised to become the firm’s new CEO while Hobbs will lead the consulting business.

Vanbex has been under criminal investigation by Canadian police since May 2018 shortly after the Canadian tax agency started a tax probe. The Canadian government agencies have frozen Hobbs and Cheng bank accounts and their properties were confiscated in March. According to government agencies, Vanbex’s founders misused the $22 million that was raised during the ICO and did not deliver the product to the investors. The founders have denied the allegations and are fighting to clear their names in the Canadian courts.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

BlockEx Is Acquired By UK Manager as Current CEO Leaves

The crypto firm BlockEx has been recently acquired by a United Kingdom asset manager. After the takeover, the current CEO of the company, Adam Leonard, is leaving. He was instrumental during the acquisition and negotiated the deal for over six months.

Leonard has been a part of the company since 2014 and it has over two full decades of experience in the financial sector. He is a specialist in business administration and in the blockchain technology.

BlockEx was created o manage digital assets during their whole lifecycle. The main idea was to offer a service that would support investors during all the process of buying, managing and selling cryptos.

The company started to get into financial trouble because of the bear market. It had a pretty successful Initial Coin Offering (ICO) back in January 2018 but the plunge in the prices affected it a lot. Most of the assets acquired during the sale of the tokens turned to dust as the prices went down and the company started to enter a dire financial situation.

One of the main reasons why the company lost so much money was because most of its assets were cryptos. Some assets lost over 90% of their value last year, so the company was hit very heavily. A consortium that would pay over $9 million GBP to the company also failed to deliver on its promises, so the problem only got worse.

Despite all the issues, the CEO remained upbeat. He tried to calm the shareholders and decided to sell the company. Now, Leonard’s job is done with the company and he is set to move towards new challenges.

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Author: Nirmala Velupillai

A Petition Starts Asking the Ripple Company to Stop Dumping XRP Gains Momentum

The XRP holders are very insecure about the behavior of Ripple, as the blockchain firm allegedly keeps on manipulating the market, claims the investors. A recent donation of 1 billion by Ripple to Coil has raised eyebrows among XRP holders.

Even though Ripple has an indirect influence on XRP with its developments but on the other side, Ripple also holds the majority of XRP’s and with Ripple dumping the XRP coins in a large number hasn’t amazed investors.

Just weeks ago, XRP touched the lowest price mark of $0.252 since late 2017. This shows that Ripple has had an impact on XRP in a negative way. The co-founder of Multicoin Capital hedge fund, Kyle Samani, in his interview with Bloomberg stated that the rise in Ripple’s quarterly XRP sales had led the digital asset to a bearish trend.

Similarly, veteran crypto analyst, Peter Brant recently mentioned that XRP price would dip up to $0.20. Brant, with all his experience and observation, predicted the upcoming price of XRP could further go down, as Ripple goes on to sell XRP. Also, in a series of tweets, he claimed that Ripple has been manipulating the market price of XRP. He used the word ‘manipulating’ because the way Ripple has controlled XRP price with the significant market whales, XRP sales, and donations.

A petition asking Ripple to stop the dumping of the XRP crypto has been published on Change.org. The hypothesis is that Ripple is placing on the market billions of XRP, causing the price to fall.

Now the petition has gathered momentum with over 2k investors signing it and asking the fintech firm to quit dumping their XRP holding onto the market.

The aim of the petition is to collect ten thousand signatures to support the cause and stop the price from falling, although there is no mention of how this could be done, or what they would actually do once the 10k signatures have been collected.

Despite the low market prices, the XRP community is very much hopeful about the future of the digital asset.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Seed CX Has Started Testing Physically-Settled Swap Contracts With Bitcoin

Seed CX, a Bitcoin (BTC) derivatives firm, has recently decided to start the tests with its new margin swap products. According to the company’s press release, the matching platform os swapping products can already be tested by the clients via the Seed SEF platform.

The CEO of Seed CX, Edward Woodford, affirmed that this initial period of testing will be used in order to allow people to get in touch with the offerings and determine what is working or not to deliver a great product later. He affirms that the product will probably be officially launched within the next three months.

From the technological point of view, the company is ready for the launch and only requires the predicted time for testing. The only possible reason for delays can be regulators, which can be considerably more unpredictable.

Brian Liston, the president of the crypto derivatives company, affirmed that all Bitcoin of the new platform will be physically-settled and that the company is pretty excited to have such an interesting offering for investors. According to him, these are the final steps in order to get the product ready and out of the door, but some more beta testing is required first.

Seed CX Will Have Competition

Seed CX may be getting its products ready, but the company is far from being the only one to do it. Several other companies are focusing on the same niche. Blade (which was backed by Coinbase), ErisX and LedgerX are all getting ready to offer similar products.

Most of them are still getting services ready, too, so the ones to take the lead will probably get an edge on the competition.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

South Korean Firm to Fork Ripple and Develop a New ‘ChainZ’ Social Value Coin Donations Platform

  • Korean firm — SK C&C — is currently in the process of building its very own donations platform.
  • The holding company currently provides its services to a number of firms operating within domains such as IT, logistics, finance and media.

As per an all-new report released by S.Korean media outlet Cosun yesterday, local holding company SK C&C has announced its decision to create a new donations platform that will be built atop a Ripple blockchain fork.

In addition to this, it should also be pointed out that this new platform will support a stablecoin whose value is pegged to the Korean Won (using a 1:1 ratio).

As things stand, the platform in question is still in its planning phase and according to the head of SK C&C — Lee Sun-min — there are still a few regulatory/infrastructure related barriers that need to be ironed out before the service can go live. In regards to this entire development, Sun-min was quoted as saying:

“Since SK is a company, we cannot pursue profits in won stablecoins. Regulatory issues are not solved, too […] It’s hard to build a platform ecosystem […] Not just a single company can do it. We are currently looking for a company to build a platform ecosystem.”

The platform will reportedly be called ‘ChainZ’ and it will make use of a won-pegged stablecoin called Social Value Coin (SVC) to facilitate user donations.

ChainZ will also make use of a utility token called Social Value Power (SVP) to reward its benefactors. These SVP tokens can later be redeemed at a number of local merchant outlets.

As things stand, SK C&C draws in an annual revenue of $53.8 billion.

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Author: Shiraz J

New Crypto Anonymity-Identity Wallet to be Launched by Civic and BitGo by Q4

New Crypto Anonymity-Identity Wallet to be Launched by Civic and BitGo by Q4

According to a recent press release, decentralized identity firm, Civic, and a blockchain security firm, BitGo, have announced plans to release a new wallet sometime in the last quarter of 2019.

The new “Civic Wallet” will make use of Multisignature Technology from BitGo and will also support cryptocurrency as well as identity data while ensuring compatibility with mobile gadgets.

The Civic Wallet

Developed in conjunction with Identity.com and Civic Pay, the wallet will only hold very little data from users which will be used strictly to fulfill Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements or for account recovery.

Using multisig security technology from BitGo, the wallet boasts of significant privacy and security levels as whatever information being held will only be used for the above, ensuring that BitGo has no access to it. This is to give consumers more control of their private data.

“Once they have a Civic Wallet, users are able to selectively share parts of their verified identity with third parties, for example, purchasing age-restricted products anonymously.”

The importance of this technology was also highlighted by BitGo Co-Founder and CEO, Mike Belshe. Belshe explains that it’s now easy for users to recover their accounts in the event that they lose the mobile device that holds the private key for the wallet.

The Civic Wallet has a backup protocol that can aid the user in the quick restoration of all their data and digital funds without losing anything. Belshe iterates that this was not very common before now.

At the moment, access to the Civic Wallet is somewhat controlled and can only be accessed when a person is referred by someone else in the consumer’s network or also through a pre-registration process.

The CEO and co-founder of Civic, Vinny Lingham, has said that the team is “building a new financial and identity ecosystem” also explaining that with efforts like this, more people have further seamless ways to enter the blockchain industry and with more access as well.

According to an unnamed member of the Civic team, the wallet will be launched with at least the minimum required features including support for “a handful of currencies familiar to the digital community”. Expectedly, it will also allow users to do handle crypto as usual, supporting sending, receiving and storage.

Furthermore, the team expects that the wallet will be reasonably appealing even for people who aren’t exactly versed in the crypto world. This will be ensured through its ease of use and also the fact that there will be some interesting features just like people have with their traditional financial institutions. Some of these features include account recovery – as earlier stated – and also others like privacy controls and specific daily transaction limits. This is expected to also work as a security measure in the case of a breach or outright theft.

All identities will also be verified using blockchain technology. This will be done using a feature from Identity.com, a startup which is now a part of Civic after it was acquired in July 2018 from former owners, Inflection.

Non-Crypto Blockchain Wallets

The possibility of deploying blockchain wallets for other uses has been highlighted in the auto industry by Daimler AG.

The German multinational corporation based in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, has entered an official partnership with Riddle & Code – a European provider for blockchain interface solutions – for the creation of a car hardware wallet.

These blockchain car wallets will be used for many scenarios in the auto industry including sharing of secure traffic data, care-sharing, self-driving vehicles, e.t.c.

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Author: Tolu