Contour Trade Finance Platform Backed by HSBC Launches; Reducing LC Processing Time by 90%

Contour, a blockchain-based trade finance platform, has gone live after a successful beta testing phase. The trade finance platform aims to optimize the traditional financial system by digitizing them and putting them on a blockchain. The trade finance platform is backed by 8 major banks, including HSBC, Citi, ING, Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, CTBC, Standard Chartered, and SEB.

The platform was launched back in 2017 as Voltron built on top of the R3s Corda Platform. The platform promise to ease up the slow bureaucratic process for several institutions and companies via a global blockchain network. HSBC tweeted about the official launch of the platform and said,

“We’re excited to announce the world’s first global, decentralized, digital trade finance platform using #Blockchain technology has gone live this week to coincide with #Sibos2020:”

However, it is also important to note that the network is a private blockchain that would be exclusively available for partner companies for data sharing. Thus, even though HSBC’s tweet calls the platform a decentralized network, it is not centralized in the traditional sense.

How Would Contour Optimize Traditional Trade Finance?

After its launch, the first goal for Contour would be to optimize the letter of credit (LC) process among parties, which, on average, takes 10 days to process currently. With Contour’s blockchain system, the time consumed for processing would be reduced by 1/10th, taking around 24 hours.

Contour would develop a rulebook and membership agreement system, which would allow for the reduction of processing time by 90%.

Carl Wegner, the CEO of the platform, explained how the rulebook would help in optimizing the process and said,

“The rulebook is really important. Rather than having to string together four or five different legal agreements between the buyer, seller, buyer’s banks, and seller’s banks, which was very onerous, we now have a rulebook which makes it very easy for everybody to sign up and know what their roles and responsibilities are.”

With the official launch of the platform, all the existing members would migrate to the main net. However, it is unclear how many other members are on the platform apart from the official partners.

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Author: James W

40% Of Hedera Hashgraph Council Nodes Drops Offline, HBAR Price Down 54% In Last 30 Days

  • 4 of Hedera Hashgraph’s nodes have gone offline without any warning, indicating the network is perhaps more centralized than it was believed to be.

The closing of 4 nodes out of a total of 10 allows Sybill attacks to happen in an open network. Hedera Hashgraph is known to run public nodes, yet the Council Nodes are the ones that decide resources and software updates for the network. Hedera Hashgraph’s nodes should be run by the project’s largest platforms, like Boeing, IBM, Deutsche Telekom, and others.

Hedera Hashgraph Was the Big Sensation of 2019

Since it was a sensation in 2019, Hedera Hashgraph got immediately listed on Binance. Its CEO and co-founder, Mance Harmon, presented the project’s traditional business structure and organized a token sale that gained a lot of hype and many important buyers in the pre-sale periods.

The HBAR Token Failed

Soon after the exchange’s launch, the HBAR token began to unravel itself. The news on the node shutdown has caused the asset to go down by 9% once more, reaching the $0.011 value, after the initial $0.40 trading levels. HBAR has been made available for early buyers, last time on December 31, making retail token holders become reluctant bagholders.

Hedera Hashgraph had an attempt to manage the price slide of the token by offering ICO buyers who haven’t invested too much in HBAR future rewards if they held onto their pre-launch tokens and gave up on getting active HBAR. This is how the HBAR price is expected to change in 2020, according to distribution:

Every distribution almost coincides with immediate selling and causes the price to go down without any hope of stopping. Binance is the main liquidity source as it liquidates HBAR:

hedera-hashgraph hbar charts

hedera-hashgraph hbar charts

hedera-hashgraph hbar charts

Hedera Hashgraph Among the Biggest ICO’s in 2019

Hedera Hashgraph is a project that became one of the biggest ICOs in 2019. It has raised an impressive sum of $100 million in spite of having its token sales mostly frozen. However, its community soon discovered the technology behind it is not enough, also that misleading tokenomics were presented to insider buyers, which lead to crypto players who were enthusiastic about the project to suffer losses.

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Author: Oana Ularu

OneCoin Website Ceases Operations As Authorities Zero In On the Scammers

The infamous crypto Ponzi scheme OneCoin website has gone offline several months following US government officials indicted one of the key suspects involved in the scam, Cointelegraph reports. According to MLM scam monitor, OneCoin did not return live results from Nov.30.

After investigations, an official from EurlD which hosts the registry’s domain revealed that the website has been offline following the ongoing criminal proceeding brought forward against OneCoin.

A written response from EurlD explained that the domain name is being investigated. The statement directed the interested people to go to their WHOIS to check the current condition of the company’s domain name.

This development is the most recent in a number of disclosures lately in the efforts to take down the OneCoin scam. The ponzi scheme was in operation for various years and stole money from investors to the tune of more than $4 billion.

Last month the investigators in collaboration with the prosecutors indicted a lawyer with close ties with OneCoin’s co-founder Ruja Ignatova. The prosecutors alleged that the lawyer was vital in helping Ignatova to launder the proceeds of the scam worth about $400 million.

OneCoin’s operations became suspicious in 2015 after Cointelegraph came up with an expose based on the research done by BehindMLM.

Following the expose, various governmental authorities across the world have warned their citizens against the scheme that promised innocent investors with huge returns for very few investments.

While Ruja Igantova remains on the run, her brother, Konstantin Ignatov, a fellow co-founder of the company, agreed that he was guilty for money laundering as well as fraud and could be jailed to about 90 prison years.

In the recent past, there have been cases of fraudulent crypto projects. Just this month, the developer of HEX cryptocurrency, Richard Hart, faced massive accusations and suspicions of a scam after he promised investors of free tokens including Bitcoin. HEX says it the inaugural blockchain paying high interest to its investors. Similarly, Chinese based IDAX crypto exchange closed its operations saying that its CEO had vanished with the keys to its cold wallets raising suspicion of fraudulent schemes.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Bitcoin QR Generator Crypto Scams Running Rampant On Google; Hampering BTC Adoption

Bitcoin trading has gone up this year as bulls have returned to the market with renewed interest in the leading cryptocurrency. The cryptocurrency has surged past $10,000 this year, and the price rise seems to be continuing into the later parts of the year.

Bitcoin Not Living Up To its Full Potential Due To Negative Perception

Despite the run that Bitcoin is on, researchers suggest that the crypto asset is not growing at the rate that it actually should be. Many people associate cryptocurrencies with scams, theft, and fraud, and this negative perception is hampering the advancement of Bitcoin. Several governments and regulators have created unfriendly policies for the crypto industry because of the fears that citizens within their jurisdictions will fall victim to crypto related scams. Billions of dollars have been lost to scammers who used cryptocurrency schemes, and the effects of these have been detrimental to the progress of Bitcoin.

QR Code Scams on the Rise

Recent research suggests that 80% of the results that come up when one searches for a “Bitcoin QR generator” lead to a fraudulent website. QR code generators are used by Bitcoin traders to create QR codes for wallet addresses to enable easy and quick transfer of cryptocurrency from one holder to another. However, most of the code generators that are popping up on Google give a user a QR code which leads to a Bitcoin wallet address of a scammer, and several people have lost their funds to this scam.

According to Tal Be’ery from ZenGo, the fake websites create a QR code that you which carries an address belonging to the scammers instead of the address requested by a user. All payments made end up in the scammers’ wallet. Be’ery went on to say that the scammers use a blockchain explorer API to generate the QR code for their address.

The research available shows that over $20,000 has been lost to QR scams in recent times, and researchers say that this figure is just the tip of the iceberg. The chances are high that there are more people who have lost their Bitcoin to scammers who use this method. These scammers are constantly changing the QR codes and the address they use, which makes it difficult to identify them and blacklist the addresses.

Be’ery said that QR are not humanly readable, and this makes it easy for scammers to use them to defraud crypto users. Over the first six months of 2019, it is estimated that the total amount of cryptocurrency stolen by scammers and hackers is worth over $4 billion. Most of the stolen loot was accessed directly from crypto exchanges by hackers, but scams also contributed significantly to this amount.

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Author: Ali Raza

Tron’s Marcus Zhao Touches on New Anonymous Transactions Being Finalized on TRX Network

Trons-Marcus-Zhao-Anonymous-Transactions-Are-Almost-Finished

Marcus Zhao, the technical director of the Public Chain Division of Tron (TRX), has gone to Twitter in order to announce that the anonymous transactions are near from being complete in the Tron network.

According to him, the next step was to improve the testnet until they are able to launch the changes on the mainnet of the system. He asked for feedback from the users, too, and provided a link that could be used if they wanted to help out in testing the network. This way, the users can see the changes by themselves before they are implemented for good.

The Reaction

Most of the people on Twitter were very excited about the news. However, they were far from being the only voices who had opinions about how Tron should deal with the upgrade.

A user named @vcorem, for instance, affirmed that this was simply too much work in order to improve a feature such as this one. They first created the virtual machine, then implemented the ZK-Snarks protocol on it and then decided to emulate the UTXO model to make these transactions. So much work for something that is not really that much unique, in his opinion.

Opinions on this were divided as there were other users who had a much more positive view of the system. Some affirmed that such a system would be very useful and that other ecosystems are already doing it, so there is a trend towards anonymity

The fact is that this kind of transaction is really getting popular. There are several old-school tokens using it today such as Monero (XMR) or Zcash (ZEC), but many other projects involving anonymity are being created today. Litecoin, for instance, is also set to start an anonymous option for its users.

Unfortunately, authorities from all over the world frown upon anonymous tokens as they believe that they can be used for crimes. It seems that a battle between the believers in a world with anonymous transactions are going to have to face this problem before they are able to reach their goals and see more private tokens.

At the time of this report, Tron is trading 4.3% up today (and 7.2% up this week) and it is priced at $0.0295 USD per token with a market cap of 1.97 billion UD, being the 10th largest cryptocurrency in the world.

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Author: Gabriel Machado