SBI Holdings Acquires Crypto Trading Platform B2C2 After Taking Minority Stake in July

Japanese financial group SBI Holdings subsidiary SBI Financial Services has acquired the UK-based crypto trading firm B2C2.

The deal’s financial terms were not disclosed, but with this acquisition, which was announced by the companies on Tuesday, it will make SBI the first major financial group to run a digital asset dealing desk.

Founded in 2015, B2C2 helps exchanges, brokerages, and fund managers make large trades in digital assets.

SBI first acquired a minority stake in the crypto firm in July, and its clients have already been using the platform to trade crypto assets. With the latest deal, the companies want to help the mainstream financial firms invest in cryptocurrencies. Yoshitaka Kitao, president and CEO of SBI Holdings said,

“Their (B2C2’s) vision, expertise and offering complement SBI’s, and we look forward to working in partnership as we expand our footprint across the global markets.”

B2C2’s team in Japan will now move into the SBI’s offices as part of the acquisition. Max Boonen, the founder of B2C2, expects the team to grow from the current 50 to 70 people over the coming months.

This is no surprise for the crypto market; in 2020, everyone wants a piece of digital assets as Bitcoin soars to new all-time highs, breaking the crucial $20,000 price; Altcoins are rallying as well.

S&P Dow Jones Indices and Cboe Global Markets have announced the launch of their crypto index in 2021 while several mainstream financial and insurance firms, hedge fund managers, high net worth individuals have been investing in Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation and devaluing fiat currencies around the world.

“A lot of people have been dismissive for a long time,” Boonen said in an interview.

“Bitcoin’s price at an all-time high has put concerns to rest.”

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Author: AnTy

Southeast Asia’s Biggest Bank, DBS, Launches Digital Exchange for Institutions

Southeast Asia’s biggest bank, DBS Group Holdings, is ready to launch an exchange for cryptocurrencies that will provide trading, custody, and tokenization services to institutional and accredited investors.

The Singapore exchange will have a 10% stake in the DBS’s digital exchange.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has given in-principle approval to the new exchange to trade assets from bonds, shares, and private-equity funds, the bank said. DBS Chief Executive Piyush Gupta said,

“I believe that the time is right for this (digital assets) industry to increasingly find partnership and sponsorship from the formal banking sector.”

“There are thousands of different coins today being traded on different exchanges, and increasingly you are beginning to find that they are forming an important part of the asset allocation of wealth and private investors.”

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In Nov. 2017, David Gledhill, chief information officer at DBS, called Bitcoin “a Ponzi scheme.”

The exchange initially supports trading of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), XRP, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) against four fiat currencies: SGD, USD, HKD, and JPY. These four crypto assets account for 70% to 80% of global crypto trading volume, said the bank adding, the trading activity on the exchange would start next week.

The DBS Digital Exchange will also be using blockchain technology to provide a fundraising platform through tokenization, said the bank in a statement. Tokenization involves converting the rights to an underlying asset such as shares of an unlisted company and private equity funds into digital form, which is then eligible for trading. Gupta said,

“We are on the cusp of a massive tokenization and therefore you’ll find tokenization of all kinds of assets around the world and I think more and more exchanges will start dealing with tokenized assets.”

Earlier this week, Standard Chartered also said it would start a crypto custodian for institutional investors in partnership with Northern Trust Corp. The bank has a substantial presence in Singapore.

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Author: AnTy

Australian Payments Firm, Novatti Launches Partnership With Ripple to Leverage RippleNet

Novatti Group Limited, a digital banking and payments company, announced an innovative partnership with Ripple Inc. this last Monday. The partnership aims to foster the integration of RippleNET, Ripple’s global financial network, in Novatti’s platform to enhance the transfer of funds across South East Asia and the world.

According to the statement obtained by BEG, Novatti becomes one of the major partners of Ripple, allowing the company to “gain access to the RippleNET framework, its capabilities, and the hundreds of financial institutions and clients” Ripple is already working with. The digital payments firm will benefit from the distributed technology network RippleNET provides, including instant settlement transfers and other features such as bi-directional messaging, liquidity management, and credit lines.

The partnership further aims to “increase Novatti’s competitiveness” while offering users better and more efficient payment solutions [especially in Australia and Southeast Asia], managing director of Novatti, Peter Cook, said.

Cook further praised Ripple’s partnership with his sights on integrating the innovative blockchain and decentralized solutions RippleNET offers. He further said,

“In particular, we look forward to working with Ripple to provide our customers with access to their exciting alternative financing solutions so that our customers can free-up capital to focus on growing their businesses.”

At launch, the services will only target cross-border transfers across Australia and South East Asia region customers with a plan to strengthen its hold in the Australian market. This is expected to grow Novatti’s potential revenue and customer base in its core payments business, the report further states.

The company recorded its highest quarterly revenue in data collected in September – a total of $3.65 million – representing a 46% year-on-year growth. Moreover, the company welcomed the partnership of UnionPay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, VISA, and Alipay recently. Cook concluded,

“This partnership will fast-track Novatti’s international expansion, particularly in South-East Asia. In doing so, we aim to deliver increased transaction volumes and revenue growth for Novatti’s core payment processing business.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

G7 Finance Ministers Strongly Support Regulating Digital Currencies

Central bankers and finance ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies have “strong support” on the need to regulate digital currencies. The U.S. Treasury Department in a statement after a virtual meeting of the officials on Monday. Steven Mnuchin, the current US Treasury Secretary, tweeted,

“Productive #G7 call this morning. We discussed the effective actions in response to COVID19, strategies to achieve a robust recovery, and cryptocurrencies.”

The official discussed domestic and international responses to achieve a robust global recovery along with the responses to the “evolving landscape of crypto assets and other digital assets and national authorities’ work to prevent their use for malign purposes and illicit activities,” the statement reads.

Facebook’s stablecoin Diem (renamed from Libra just last week), in a statement after the video conference, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said it would take more than renaming the cryptocurrency to address regulators’ concerns regarding its launch in Germany and Europe. He added,

“A wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf.”

“It is clear to me that Germany and Europe cannot and will not accept its entry into the market while the regulatory risks are not adequately addressed.”

“We must do everything possible to make sure the currency monopoly remains in the hands of states.”

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Author: AnTy

Crypto Finance Firm, Amber Group, Partners With BitGo As The Custodian For Institutional Investors

Global crypto finance service provider Amber Group announced BitGo Trust as its qualified custodian for its institutional investors and traders.

Amber Group is a renowned name when it comes to high-frequency trading and crypto financing for institutional investors. The firm is trying to use its industry experience in partnership with the BitGo to expand its offerings. The firm wants to expand its market reach to next-generation cryptocurrency traders as well as high net-worth investors.

Amber says BitGo is the right custodian partner

Amber Group says it chose BitGo for its collaboration because of the company’s user policy controls, compliance tools, and battle-tested institutional-ready custody used in securing customers’ assets.

Another major factor that swayed Amber Group towards BitGo is the benefit of issuance. Last year, BitGo launched the most expansive and comprehensive insurance policy for digital assets, including the $100 million as protection against assets held in custody. It provided a certain level of assurance of digital assets protection that isn’t common in the industry. The assurance of funds protection is one reason why Amber Group choose BitGo as a partner in this new project.

BitGo is offering protection for funds held in its custody via the European marketplace and a syndicate of insurers in the Lloyd’s of London.

The clients who buy Excess Specie Insurance, as it is called, will stand as Dedicated Customer Loss Payee in the insurance policy, which offers an extra level of insurance protection.

The partnership will transform future finance

Chief executive officer of BitGo, Mike Belshe, has commented on the partnership. He said the partnership with Amber couldn’t have come at a better time, as Amber group has a leading edge in crypto innovations. Belshe further stated that the team at Amber was carefully selected, and they are all seasoned professionals, which is why the partnership with the firm is great.

He further reiterated that BitGo would be providing the custody infrastructure, liquidity, and security necessary for the transformation of future finance via the collaboration.

The Chief executive officer of Amber Group, Michael Wu, has also commented on the development. He pointed out,

“As we scale our operations into more jurisdictions, we prioritize partnering with reliable and well-reputable infrastructure providers like BitGo.”

He further said that the Amber group’s daily operations require the successful implementation of rigorous security measures. The company must choose the right partner committed to asset protection more than anything else in the industry.

Amber was founded in 2017 and has grown to become a top crypto-finance service provider, with more than 200 institutional clients worldwide. It has received funds from institutional partners like Coinbase Ventures, Fenbushi Capital, Blockchain.com, Dragonfly Capital, and Polychain Capital.

Amber says it’s committed to bringing professionalism and more transparency to the cryptocurrency market.

Rumor: PayPal Exploring Acquiring Crypto Companies, In Talks with Bitcoin Custodian BitGo

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Author: Ali Raza

Alibaba Founder Jack Ma: Digital Currencies are the Future of Financial System

Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma talked about digital currencies, potentially playing an important role in building the financial system of the future. Ma at the Bund Summit in Shanghai said,

“Digital currency could create value, and we should think about how to establish a new type of financial system through digital currency.”

He said the future vision of a financial system in the next 30 years might have digital currencies at its “very important core.”

“Digital currency may redefine currency.”

Ma criticized global financial regulation during the event. According to him, they stifle innovation and, as such, urged for a system that focuses on development.

“After the Asian financial crisis, the risk control highlighted in the Basel Accords has been” regulators’ priority, he said adding that now the world “only focuses on risk control, not on development, and rarely do they consider opportunities for young people and developing countries.”

Comparing the Basel Accords to a club for the elderly, Ma said they are used to solving financial systems operating for decades. But China is still a “youth” and needs more innovation, he said.

Ma’s speech came just hours after Ant Group set the price of its Shanghai listing. The IPO, which is also planned to be in Hong Kong, is one of the most anticipated and on course to become the “biggest in history,” surpassing Saudi Aramco’s record $29 billion share sale last year by raising $34.1 Billion at aa valuation of $310 Billion.

Ant Group Biggest IPO Record - CNN
Source: CNN

Retired from all his corporate roles, Ma, who is still the face of Alibaba and Ant, said the IPO’s share price had been decided on Friday but didn’t disclose the figure.

At the event, which hundreds of bankers and regulators attended, Ma said the Ant Group offering was a “miracle” because, for the first time, a big tech company set prices outside New York.

“We didn’t dare to think about it five years ago, or even three years ago. But the miracle just happened.”

Ma said China’s financial system is dominated by big state banks and needs an inclusive, sustainable, and green system that uses new technologies like big data, cloud computing, and blockchain.

“Innovation always comes with a risk, there will be no risk-free innovation … the biggest risk is that you try to minimize the risk to zero.”

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Author: AnTy

Ant Group Launches Blockchain-Powered Cross-border Trade Settlement Platform ‘Trusple’

Ant Group, owner of mobile payment app Alipay, launched a blockchain-powered platform for cross-border trade settlements this week. The move came ahead of its IPO, which it plans to list in Hong Kong and on Shanghai’s STAR Market next month simultaneously.

The 16-year old giant, which is backed by e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group, is seeking to raise about $35 billion in the dual IPO to become the world’s largest IPO by surpassing oil giant Saudi Aramco’s billion last December.

Previously known as Ant Financial, Ant was rebranded this year as a tech firm due to tighter financial regulations.

Ant is known for submitting the most number of blockchain patent applications globally, over the past two years. The technology saw a surge in interest after President Xi Jinping said last year that the country should accelerate its development.

Its new platform, “Trusple,” is based on Antchain, the company’s blockchain technology.

On this platform, buyers and sellers upload their orders, which automatically generate smart contracts with information like logistics. The banks then process payments using Antchain.

The users of the platform could also include vendors that sell to other businesses through marketplaces like Alibaba’s overseas e-commerce site, AliExpress.

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Author: AnTy

DCG’s $100 Million Plan to Diminish China’s Dominance on Bitcoin Production

Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group has entered into the bitcoin mining world with the announcement of its new wholly-owned subsidiary, Foundry.

“Digital asset mining and staking provide the backbone of the blockchain technology that will drive that advancement,” noted Silbert, the founder and CEO of DGC. The company runs its own mining operations and provides financing and equipment to crypto startups.

Through its fourth subsidiary, Foundry, which was “quietly” formed in 2019, Silbert will be betting $100 million on the mining sector. Genesis, Grayscale Investments, and CoinDesk are the other three subsidiaries of Digital Currency Group.

Mike Colyer, a former Core Scientific executive, and veteran GE, will be heading the company as the chief executive officer.

With this latest venture, Silbert is looking to bring back some of the bitcoin production to the US from China.

China accounts for more than 65% of the global bitcoin hash rate while the US only accounts for just over 7%, as per the data source from the University of Cambridge.

Silbert believes this is a ripe opportunity for North American crypto firms to capture a considerable share of the world’s mining power.

For cheap power, which is abundant in China during the rainy season, Foundry is launching operations in Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and upstate New York along with British Columbia and Quebec in Canada.

Moreover, the company has already been working with Shenzhen-based bitcoin miner manufacturers MicroBT and Bitmain towards this goal. Jordan Chen, COO of MicroBT said,

“Foundry’s understanding of the mining industry and DCG’s full support have made it a key partner in our expansion across North America in the past year. We plan to continue collaborating with Foundry as we focus on increasing our global market share.”

Although, as Silbert notes, “The mining space is littered with the carcasses of failed mining efforts,” Foundry is poised to success because of the concerned lawmakers and policy groups in Washington, D.C., about China dominating bitcoin production.

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Author: AnTy

Coinbase Withdraws From Blockchain Association Shortly After Binance.US Joins

  • Coinbase withdraws from the blockchain lobbyist group a day after Binance.US, Binance’s American wing, joined the group.

In a report first published by The Block, Coinbase seems to have withdrawn from the Blockchain Association, a blockchain lobbyist group due to “recent decisions” within the group. The withdrawal follows the recent introduction of Binance.US, a crypto exchange rival to Coinbase, to the lobbyist group.

Coinbase, a founding member of the now-23 team association, wrote a letter addressed to the association claiming its resignation immediately. While the letter did not specifically mention the addition of Binance.US as the cause, the tone of the letter gives away pretty much on Coinbase’s view. Criticizing the membership criteria of the association, the letter reads,

“And while we hope the Blockchain Association remains committed to those values, unfortunately, recent weeks have demonstrated to us that the Blockchain Association is not interested in the membership criteria we had worked to establish to underpin the mission of this organization.”

The letter further states the “shift in organizational goals is not in line” with the plans the exchange had while founding the organization “nor the objectives of the association.”

A spokesperson from the exchange claims the recent decisions by the Blockchain Association hastened Coinbase’s departure, further stating,

“We believe that decisions made now have the potential to irreparably impair the credibility of the Association and make it increasingly difficult for it to achieve its goals and those of its members.”

The resignation from the Association will closely be linked to Binance.US joining the platform, despite all parties involved not commenting directly on the subject. In a tweet sent out on Tuesday, Blockchain Association stated they were disappointed to see Coinbase leave the organization “at a critical time for the industry” but defended their membership criteria saying,

“However, we believe that it is important to abide by our established neutral membership criteria + honor majority Board opinion.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Subsidiary to Top Austrian Mobile Network Provider, Launches Crypto Payments for 2500 Merchants

Austrian leading mobile service provider, A1 Telekom Austria Group, announced its subsidiary, A1 Payments, will be accepting digital currency payments like Bitcoin and Ethereum. On Monday, a posted blog stated the firm’s new payment system would allow individuals as well as corporations to transact with thousands of merchants across Austria.

BEG announced A1 Payment’s plans to get into the digital currency payment back in August 2019, with the Head of A1 Business Marketing, Markus Schreiber, saying then:

“With our pilot operation in the A1 shops, we are testing the demand and acceptance of digital currencies in Austria.”

A1 Payments pilot included several cryptocurrencies, including BTC, ETH, Dash, Litecoin (LTC), and XRP. However, the main launch has begun with the inclusion of the first three, and more tokens to be added in the future.

The digital payment system also allows other cashless options for merchants, including bank credit cards and payments via online platforms such as Alipay.

Similar to other crypto payments intermediaries, A1 Payments provide the payment terminal, take care of its maintenance, and the processing of payments. This means that all the trades by crypto users in merchant shops or towards corporations will be settled in EUR. Hence the receiving counterparty does not need any knowledge in digital currencies to accept them.

The Austrian company aims to offer seamless payments across their customers, enabling “companies with only one terminal to accept digital currencies alongside conventional payment methods.”

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Author: Lujan Odera