Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Rolls Out EEA TestNet to Standardize ETH Based Builds

The standard group which controls how finance-based firms as well as other industries can explore the ethereum technology, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), is now introducing a testnet platform as it aims to introduce certification.

According to CoinDesk, the TestNet is poised to be a pre-certification sandbox. It will help in standardization of Ethereum forks to various specifications that were previously introduced by the EEA. the new measures are meant to help the forks to easily interoperate with one other.

The standardization has been necessitated by the fact that there are lots of firms exploring different private types of technology in the enterprise type of Ethereum. The number is also expected to rise as hundreds of firms are expected to join using Besu, the Ethereum hyperledger member, which makes standardization a necessity.

Currently, ethereum-based members as well as protocols are mostly unable to communicate with each other. For instance, Quorum,an Ethereum-based dapp developed by JPMorgan for privacy purposes, is unable to interoperate with Besu.

According to Paul DiMarzio, EEA’s director of community, people during the early days of technology mostly assume the importance of interoperability but later find out that the apps created with such assumptions may not work as expected. DiMarzio explained that the introduction of the testing ground which was developed by Whiteblock Genesis will make the EEA standard program move to the ‘middle stage’.

DiMarzio stated that the new standards will help in certification against the set specifications. This will help in stamping various aspects as EEA certified as well as branded which will serve as a guarantee of interoperability which will get rid of the assumptions. He said,

“We are providing a place where clients can start to get their feet wet in a testing environment and then, towards the end of the year, will provide the actual ability to certify against those specifications. Then we can actually stamp things as being EEA certified and branded and have that guarantee of interoperability as opposed to an assumption.”

Whiteblock CEO, Zack Cole, is set to become the EEA Testing & Certification Working Group chair. Cole explained that the TestNet is expected to exist indefinitely so long as businesses will keep on becoming members of the Ethereum community.

DiMarzio stated that EEA will work closely with the Ethereum Foundation to iron out some of the issues that have delayed the introduction of ethereum 2.0. Which is a public blockchain.

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Author: Daniel W

What Does EU’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5) Mean For Crypto Exchanges?

European cryptocurrency firms are expecting a stricter regime of regulations as the 28 EU states are preparing to adopt the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5).

The AMLD5 will burden small firms and force them to either merge or fold. The Netherlands-based crypto exchange Deribit has already found a solution and is moving to Panama, where the AMLD5 version of regulations is not putting such high barriers and has reduced costs for traders.

AMLD5 Will Make Authorization and Registration of Crypto Firms More Difficult

The current norms on traditional finance are not right for the crypto world, whereas the AML crypto authorization schemes are different from one European country to another. When everything will be regulated under AMLD5, authorization, and registration of crypto firms will turn out to be very complex processes. Malcolm Wright, the AML Working Group’s head at Global Digital Finance and a chief of compliance officer for Diginex had this to say about Europe’s crypto future:

“There almost needs to be a more coordinated approach to make sure it allows the industry to still flourish and offer services to residents in the EU who want to invest in virtual assets products.”

FATF Guidance Includes Crypto-to-Crypto Exchanges

The AMLD5 has been in discussions for about 2 years, not to mention it has received some recommendations made by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in October 2018 and June 2019. While AMLD5 is addressing cash to crypto and the other way around transactions, FATF’s guidance includes crypto-to-crypto transactions too. It also has some requirements on the sharing of traditional to crypto payments data under its famous “travel rule”.

AMLD5 Will Impose Extra-Restrictions on Firms Providing Non-Custodial Wallets

Many are concerned about AMLD5’s extra-restrictive policy for firms that provide non-custodial wallets on a decentralized basis, especially since Germany and the UK are determined to implement this policy. This means Ethereum (ETH)-based finance platform Monolith (former TokenCard) and Wirex, the crypto payment card provider, would find it very difficult to comply with the new regulations.

AMLD5 Postponed in the Netherlands

In Netherlands, there seems to be a lot of confusion over the definition of “license”, not to mention the central bank and the Dutch Ministry of Finance believe an onerous AMLD5 version has been given to crypto players in the country. It seems the January 10 deadline for AMLD5 will be missed in the Netherlands as a result of a “serious disagreement between legislators and industry”.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Bitmain, DMG Blockchain Cancel Texas Mining Agreement Due To ‘Cost and Operational Efficiencies’

One of the world’s biggest Bitcoin mining firms, Bitmain, announced on Thursday the end of their agreement with Canadian based DMG Blockchain Solutions, which took up management of Bitmain’s mining operations in Texas in October 2019.

According to reports from crypto media outlet The Block, a Chinese mining giant, Bitmain, has parted ways with DMG Blockchain solutions, regarding the management of the Texas-based mining firm, which was touted to be expected to produce over 300 MWs at optimal capacity.

In October 2019, during the launch of its Rockdale, Texas mining facility, Bitmain announced a management partnership with DMG Block solutions that would see the DMG managing the operations of the Texas-based farm. The partnership, however, was mutually terminated following conflicts on what was termed as inefficiencies in “cost and operations”.

DMG blockchain solutions based in Vancouver had already installed up to 15000 next-gen miners in the facility before termination of the partnership occurred and would have achieved an estimated mining capacity of around 300 MW.

Bitmain and DMG Blockchain Solutions to collaborate on other projects

The fallout was caused by what DMG Blockchain solutions claimed to be a failure to materialize cost and operational efficiencies. They, however, stated that this would not be the last venture they partner in together. The two still continue partnerships for other projects they were running together notably the DMG Christina lake project.

While Bitmain hasn’t announced a new operator for their 33000 acre Texas mining farm and it is unknown whether the farm is still operational or when it is set to resume operations.

Northern Bitcoin, also notably a big player in the Bitcoin mining industry has partnered with Japanese giants SBI and GMO. The partnership will see the biggest mining operation that will also be based in Rockdale which is famous for the many crypto miners it hosts. This is attributed to the fact that Texas has vast resources to produce cheap electricity for the industries. Northern Bitcoin stated that the farm would produce at an initial capacity of 300 MW but is set to hit the Gigawatt capacity by end of 2020.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Are Chinese Blockchain Venture Capital Firms Back In The Crypto Game?

Most Chinese blockchain-focused venture capital firms deserted the market following the crypto crash of 2018. A large majority are set to return as blockchain adoption in China booms.

Chinese blockchain venture capital firms are set for a resurgence, that will help make up for the tragedies of last year’s crypto crash. This comes after the Chinese government advocated for increased blockchain adoption all over the massive country.

Good results are already being recorded. For instance, in the first half of 2019, Chinese blockchain startups were able to raise no less than $368 million through 71 funding deals. This data comes from 01Caijing, one of the more respected Chinese financial data tracking firms.

Chinese Blockchain Firms Fly High!

Compared to the previous years, Chinese VCs can more easily raise the money needed for their operations and expansion. An example is Kinetic, which began operations in 2016 and is based in Hong Kong. According to reliable reports, it is on track to receive a sum in the 8 figures sometime next month.

Other Chinese crypto firms are also busily expanding and usually getting the funds to do so. The sense of optimism in the Chinese crypto sector is palpable and there is a widespread feeling that right now the only way to go is up. Chinese VC firms are also spreading out and diversifying into areas like bitcoin mining and secondary trading.

A prime example is Fundamental Labs. It boasts an impressive half a billion-dollar blockchain fund that backed the likes of Binance, Coinbase, and Canaan Creative. In May this year, Fundamental Labs plunked down $44 million on bitcoin mining. This amount can potentially boost the total hash rate of the bitcoin network by a minimum of 1,000 peta hashes per second (PH/s).

Not to outdone, Parallel Ventures founded by Yizhou Zhu has poured heavy money into the purchase of bitcoin mining equipment. The amount invested is said to be around $15 million and the purchased equipment is reputed to have a computing power of around 300 PH/s.

The Crash Of 2018

While the new deals and capital inflows/outflows are encouraging, they fail to impress when compared to the deals of 2018. The 71 deals recorded this year represent a 67% drop when measured by dollar value. And what’s more, the number of firms in active operation has dropped and most are cautious about engaging in new investments. The present value of deals has decreased too.

Professionalism By Force

One unintended consequence of the crash is that it forced the surviving firms to be more professional and take proper account of risks. It also compelled them to find a sustainable method of doing business and instilled in them the importance of due diligence in all business transactions.

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Author: Ali Raza

EY (Ernst & Young) Releases New OpsChain Public Finance Manager Blockchain Tool

Ernst & Young (EY), one of the Big Four auditing firms, has recently launched a new blockchain-based product, a platform that was designed to enhance the transparency of the government. According to the reports, the new platform will be called OpsChain Public Finance Manager.

This system is set to enable transparent tracking of public finances and budgets so that all citizens can view it. The service can also be used to match how much money is being spent against outcomes, which can show how effective the policies are.

One of the main goals of this system is that governments will be able to make data-driven policy decisions with more efficiency. With the data gathered by the platform, they can understand the outcome of their decisions better and create better policies.

According to EY’s official statement, blockchain technology can be important when impacting public spending. This way, public managers can focus on what they need and enhance their work by making it more transparent and accountable.

EY is already testing the product in some cities. One of them is Toronto, Canada. The system allows financial transfers between different sectors of the government and the company claims that its experiments were important to increase the transparency of the city.

Heather Taylor, the chief financial officer of Toronto, affirmed that the official os the city is constantly striving to find better technologies to meet the needs of the residents and to help them more effectively.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Japan STO Association Rolled Out BY Six Major Firms Including; SBI, Monex, Nomura, and Rakuten

Six firms related to the brokerage industry, including Rakuten Securities, SBI Securities and the Monex Group, have recently decided to establish an association. Other companies such as Daiwa Securities, Kabu.com Securities and Nomura Securities have joined them to create the Japan Security Token Offering (STO) Association.

The new association is set to be headquartered in Tokyo and to support the launch of other STO-related initiatives. Another goal of the association is to ensure that all companies are working in full compliance with the law and to protect the investors, meaning that it will also work as a self-regulating agency.

Part of the reason why the companies decided to unite is that this kind of offering is getting popular in the country. In this case, it helps to create an organization that will oversee the market and is close to the regulators at all times.

The CEO of SBI Holdings, Yoshitaka Kitao, affirmed that the creation of this organization is a collaboration between these companies and that they will deal with most of the issues in the industry, as well as try to come up with solutions to issue and trade this kind of token legally.

In related news, Coinbase and Kraken, two giants of the U. S. market, are teaming up right now to create their own rating system, which will determine which tokens are securities or not. The initiative is not endorsed by the Security Exchange Commission (SEC), so it does not have any legal effect, though.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Deloitte’s Canteen to Accept Bitcoin Purchases as the Big Four Prepares for Blockchain Operations

Deloitte LLC, one of the Big four accounting firms in the world recently joined the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency wave. The firm gave hints of its intention to accommodate blockchain in operations after it allowed employees to purchase lunch via Bitcoin.

One of the firm’s partners told the Luxembourg Times in an interview that Deloitte would allow Bitcoin lunch purchases in its canteen.

Deloitte’s Future Plans in Blockchain and Bitcoin

The Big four accounting giant was keen to note through one of the partners, Laurent Collet, that it had no intentions of accepting crypto payments in the near future.

However, Deloitte’s interest in leveraging blockchain technology for operations ranging from audit functions to fund management remains a keen topic for the firm. Bitcoin has had its fair share of challenges and criticisms over the past decade, most notably the speed of transactions.

The Satoshi coin takes an average of 8.2 minutes to confirm a transaction, this is much longer than one would expect from digital currencies. Deloitte’s staff might have to wait longer than usual if they opt to pay using BTC form their mobile wallets.

However, a number of developers in the crypto space have dedicated their efforts to solve this challenge; the Lightning network is a good example that solves the inefficiency of using BTC for micropayments.

This ecosystem is a “two layer” designed to integrate central channels that enhance the speed of BTC transactions. As a result, big players like Deloitte have given blockchain and crypto technology a chance to prove its fundamental value in today’s financial services sector.

Why Blockchain But First Bitcoin?

Deloitte has emphasized that its long term goal to have a piece of the pie in Blockchain technology and not digital assets led by BTC.

The firm’s partner, Laurent Collet, said that Deloitte would study blockchain through its resources and see where the tech fits as a solution in the Luxembourg industry. In addition, the uses of blockchain are evident in Deloitte’s functions and would speed up its processes besides removing middlemen.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Harbor Partners With iCap Equity To Tokenize 4 Real Estate Funds Worth $100M On Ethereum Blockchain

A blockchain company called Harbor has recently been working to help other firms to issue security tokens using the blockchain technology. The company has just announced that $100 million USD worth of real estate assets was tokenized and put on the Ethereum blockchain.

This move had the goal of making the securities easier to be traded in the market. At the moment, 1,100 investors hold this money and they wanted to find easier ways to trade these assets freely. This latest tokenization effort was part of a partnership with DRW Holdings’ real estate arm.

According to the CEO of iCap, Chris Christensen, the company was trying to provide a much more liquid experience for its customers for a long time and it was with the help of Harbor that they did it. The CEO of Harbor, Josh Stein, affirmed that the tokens are all backed by real assets and that they are not based solely on promises.

He also added that there was not really a demand for security tokens as investments some time ago. People were not after real investments, they wanted to speculate on a growing market, which was happened in 2017 and why so many tokens failed to deliver.

The funds which are tokenized by the company are often frozen for some time as they are considered to be high-yield investments. This means that people cannot sell them right away, which helps to curb speculation.

Now, there is a growing market for this industry. The company is focused on increasing the access of the companies that already have some interest in these ideas, which will make the market grow even more in the future.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Facebook On Boards New Lobbyist Firms To Push Its Libra Crypto Motions In Senate

Facebook increases lobbyist power with two new firms pushing the crypto’s agenda in Senate pushing the total number to four.

The U.S Congress tough stance on Facebook’s Libra project will soon be changing as the social media giant hires two new lobbyists for the project. According to lobbying reports filed on Sept 5., the Calibra project welcomed William Hollier, president of Hollier Associates LLC and Michael Williams of the Williams Group to help win over the senators against the project.

According to a Bloomberg report, Holler started lobbying for Libra in August to push for its development and registration within the United States. He is a known lobbyist for Microsoft Corp and Independent Community Bankers of America and worked with Idaho representative Senator Mike Crapo. Mike currently heads the Senate banking committee, who called the CEO of Libra David Marcus for questioning earlier in the year.

Williams started lobbying for the cryptocurrency in July according to the disclosure. The former Credit Suisse Securities managing director joins the consortium to help regulators understand the blockchain. Williams also lobbies for Delta Airlines Inc. and American Financial Services Association.

A Wave of Doubt

Despite reports of three members in the 27-member Libra Association being on the verge of leaving due to the regulatory uncertainties, Facebook looks to have everything under control at the moment. The Libra token is expected to launch in early 2020 amidst a wave of doubts from various regulators across the globe.

On Sept 6. Jose Manuel Campa, chair of the European Banking Authority (EBA), called out Libra stating the digital asset is a big law gap. He called for more regulation on the token before its launch next year.

A fortnight ago, Facebook announced the onboarding of Washington lobbyist group, FS Vector, and former Coinbase employee, John Collins to push its blockchain policies.

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Author: Lujan Odera

FIS Global And Boeing Join Hedera Hashgraph’s Governing Council

Many big-name companies are moving into partnerships with blockchain-based firms as the new age technology grows in application and popularity by the day. Many industries consider blockchain technology as the basis for their future operations and ways of doing business.

Hedera Hashgraph is one blockchain company that is attracting the attention of some big-name firms from various industries. Hedera provides a blockchain-based public network for enterprises. The decentralized public network allows any user to create their own cyberspace through which they can perform transactions, create smart contracts, and create a file system among a host of other applications. Each enterprise can create personalized cyberspace through Hedera Hashgraph

Big-name Brands Come on Board

The public network is run by a governing council that is comprised of companies from several different industries. Each of these companies come on board and provide expertise from their field of practice, and this gives Hedera a wide range of applications that it could accommodate.

On the 29th of August, 2019, Hedera announced that FIS Global would be joining the public network’s governing council. The American financial giant becomes the 9th addition to Hedera’s 39 member governing council.

After the announcement of FIS Global’s joining of Hedera’s governing council came that of Boeing. The world’s largest aircraft manufacturer has also joined the blockchain firm’s governing body, becoming the 10th addition to the body.

Some of the other companies that are already on the council include Tata Communications (India), IBM (US), Deutsche Telekom (Germany) and Nomura Holdings (Japan), among other companies on the council. These council members are from different industries and different countries across the world.

Leemon Baird, chief scientist, co-founder and inventor of Hashgraph’s algorithm said that they aim to make sure that the initial members of the council are from different industries and different countries to ensure that there is diversity on the body.

Hedera Hashgraph

The blockchain startup says that have developed a distributed ledger technology which can be used to facilitate micropayments, support smart contracts, and promote the distribution of file storage. Companies that have a private network can connect to Hedera’s public decentralized network and make use of the transaction processing system provided on it. At the network’s launch, Hedera said that their network could process up to 10,000 transactions per second and the file services can take up to 10 transactions per second.

All the council members will be in charge of a node on the Hashgraph network, and they will be responsible for running that node. When the network’s open access is launched in September, each one of the council members will be able to use Hedera Consensus Service, which gives the members access to the public network’s transaction ordering system.

Hedera Token Sale

Hedera plans on distributing its HBAR roles over the course of 15 years. As it stands, the blockchain company has raised $124 million in three rounds of fundraising. Hedera employed a simple agreement for future tokens (SAFT) framework for the three rounds of token sales that have been executed to date.

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Author: Ali Raza