Two Industry Giants, Messenger LINE and Nomura Holdings, Form New Blockchain Alliance

On October Fourth, the Line Group Companies LINE and LVC Corporation announced their alliance with Nomura Holdings. This alliance was made on the basis of collective intent between these companies. This intent is to explore the massive opportunities within the field of blockchain.

At the beginning of this year, the group had already signed a memorandum of understanding between them. Even then, they already showed their intent to develop into this new form of technology.

As per the partnership terms, Nomura had invested in LINE’s subsidiary, LVC.

This is a move that’s been seen around the globe, as an old, practiced financial firm joins up with an up-and-coming tech firm to try and reach the new generation of this growing world. A generation that’s very likely only going to remember physical currency as something from their childhood as blockchains slowly rise into greater prominence

The Players at the Board

Nomura is a heavyweight financial institute. Their company motto is,

“We help to enrich society through our expertise in capital markets.”

The firm is always aiming to be the most trusted partner for their clients as well as their future ones

LINE started out as a messaging platform but is striving to become something far higher than that. They’re pushing a self-contained ideology in their improvements, trying to have their users seamlessly and effortlessly connect with their peers, finances, brands, and companies. Their corporate slogan is “Close the Distance,” something they’ve been trying to achieve dutifully.

LVC, LINE’s subsidiary focusing heavily on blockchain technology. These are the guys driving forward LINE’s concept of the Token Economy. They created the LINE tokens currently in use with the android users and has recently added the BITMAX exchange to their projects. This new exchange will allow users on LINE to trade in the major forms of cryptocurrency.

Past Exploits

This isn’t the first time Line and Nomura partnered up to achieve a mutual goal. Back in May of 2018, Nomura Holdings and Line Corp partnered up to provide online securities trading to their respective consumer bases. This was a bid to attract a younger audience to these kinds of financial investments.

Nomura holdings had announced that they would own 49%, while Line, owned by the South Korean Naver Corp, will own that tantalizing 51%. This makes Line the majority shareholder, thus making them the lead decision-makers between these two giants within this new venture.

Rather interestingly, both firms stated that they wouldn’t be financially affected by this venture.

Line and Libra

LINE is neither the biggest nor the first to want to develop its blockchain. Libra, a cryptocurrency in the process of development by the social media giant Facebook, is making waves across Europe as its development continues. Germany and France have both expressed their desire to limit cryptocurrency use within their country, with Switzerland continuing to support it like the 700 other blockchains.

In the end, cryptocurrencies can very likely replace the world’s way of moving funds, and the implication and effects of such a global investment are entirely unknown.

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Author: Ali Raza

Ripple-Powered MoneyTap Adds Two New Banks, Now Totals 30

SBI Holdings’ MoneyTap now welcomes Daiwa Securities Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank as its shareholders, bringing the total ally of financial institutions to 30.

Established in March, this smartphone application is powered by the blockchain technology of Ripple that allows customers of the bank consortium to settle transactions instantly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Back in 2018, when the idea was first introduced, Ripple stated that MoneyTap will be the “first mobile app of its kind to be developed and used by multiple, different banks in the country.” Planned to start with just three members of the Japan bank consortium, SBI Net Sumishin Bank, Suruga Bank, and Resona Bank, this number surged 10x in a few months.

The list of partner banks include:

SBI Holdings, Keiyo Bank, Ashikaga Bank, Awa Bank, Atago Bank, Kita Nippon Bank, Kiraboshi Bank, Gunma Bank, Sanin Joint Bank, Shiga Bank, Shimane Bank, Shimizu Bank, Shinsei Bank, Sumishin SBI Net Bank, Suruga Bank , Seven Bank, Sendai Bank, Third Bank, Chiku Bank, Toho Bank, Towa Bank, Tochigi Bank, Hiroshima Bank, Fukui Bank, Fukuoka Chuo Bank, Fukushima Bank, Hokuriku Bank, Michinoku Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Daiwa Securities Group Head office, one other bank.

The Japan consortium, led by SBI Ripple Asia is comprised of 61 banks that cover over 80% of all banking assets in Japan.

The idea has been that MoneyTap will provide on-demand payments to the vast majority of the country through this consortium.

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Author: AnTy

Arcane Research: BTC Prices Might Have Been Manipulated Before CME’s Bitcoin Future Settlement Dates

According to the latest research by Arcane group, Bitcoin prices have fallen on average by 2% before the settlement date of CME’s bitcoin futures contract, reported Kryptografen.

CME bitcoin futures contract was launched back in 2017 for institutional investors on Wall Street. The contract expires monthly, and several reports pointed towards the peculiar price drop towards the end of its expiry date every month. The research found out, in the last 20 months the prices have fallen constantly in 15 months.

The market manipulation theory gains even more weight for the fact that these contracts are settled in US Dollars rather than bitcoin. The future contracts are majorly traded by institutional investors, thus investment is also quite significant which makes it much easier to sway the market movement.

Average Bitcoin price fall on a daily basis shows great deviation before settlement dates

A fall in prices benefits the investor as they need to pay less in dollars. Thus, according to the theory, these Wall Street investors go long on ‘physical’ bitcoin which they can hold and go short on futures contracts. By following this strategy they become resistant to market fluctuation.

If the price of bitcoin rises, they have to pay a higher settlement on their futures contracts, however, those losses are counterfeited by the gain on ‘physical’ bitcoin they hold. On the other hand, they can sell off their ‘physical’ bitcoin towards the settlement date which would trigger a fall in prices in the spot market, and then they can profit on the settlement contract as well by paying a small price.

The research found out that during the period between January 2018 and September 2019, on any given random day, bitcoin prices have fallen on average by only 0.06%, however, if we specifically look at a day near the contract settlement date, the average fall is a significant 2.27%. The research notes that,

“To avoid losing important price movement, while not including too much irrelevant noise, the interval being checked is set to 1.5 days. As the settlement is at 4 pm in London last Friday of the month, the price movements are checked this day, as well as the day before the settlement. This then implies the last 40 hours before the settlement time. Including only the last 24 hours before settlement means that much of the day before a settlement is excluded, and a slightly broader interval appears to be more suitable. All figures for returns in the analysis are calculated for intervals of 1.5 days, for a correct comparison basis. Analysis of intervals in addition to micro-dynamics on the various spot exchanges prior to settlement is a natural extension of this analysis.”

The prices have fallen mostly when the market sentiment was bullish

Another interesting thing to note is that Bitcoin prices have fallen most in the months when the market sentiment was bullish and the average daily return as high as 4%.

The research mentioned that statistically, the probability of such a consistent fall in prices (15 out of 20) is less than 2%. The report also noted that they did not take into consideration several factors which would provide a clearer pattern in prices, and thus further analyses are required. The research report said,

“One should look more closely at the micro-dynamics in the various spot markets around settlement and signing of new futures contracts, and compare this with the value of outstanding contracts/contracts being settled.”

“In addition, qualitative studies, where you directly contact those who sign and trade the bitcoin futures contracts at CME, could be of great value in order to shed light on the situation.”

Looking at these observations and hypothesis, the fall in prices right before settlement dates on such a consistent basis can’t be a mere coincidence. Thus, further studies into the issue might reveal many other factors related to these market manipulation.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Coincheck Owner Monex Will Pay Dividends In Bitcoin For the First Time

The Monex Group, a Japanse financial company which owns the crypto exchange Coincheck, have taken another step towards the crypto world. Now, the company is set to pay out the dividends of its profit to the shareholders with Bitcoin.

This will be an additional benefit, not the whole payment. The original payment will still be made using fiat currency, but investors who have any shares after September 30, 2019, will be able to take benefits that will be paid in Bitcoin. Each shareholder who has a Coincheck account will get around $4.65 USD worth of BTC.

With this program, all investors who have accounts will get their money, independently, based on how many shares they have. If they open the accounts until the dividends are paid, they will receive money. Without doing this, however, they will lose out on this opportunity.

However, the company has not explained whether it will continue to pay its investors with crypto next year or not, so this may be a one-time-only benefit.

The company has also announced that it would introduce something called Monex Points. This system would be used to grant shareholders with additional benefits when using the brokerage accounts of the company. One point will be the equivalent to a single yen.

In related news, the company also announced some staff changes. For instance, Yuya Asamura, currently working as the manager for strategic planning, has been promoted to the position of executive director. Naoyuki Kainuma will also become the new CEO of the Monex Group.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Huobi Will Open New Local Fiat-to-Crypto Exchange In Argentina

The Huobi Group, which owns one of the most important crypto exchanges in Asia, is set to expand its business. Now, the company wants to launch another exchange in Argentina in order to create a fiat-to-crypto gateway in the Latin American country.

According to the company’s press release, Huobi Argentina will use Huobi Cloud, a service that will let the user trade assets with other Huobi platforms using an over the counter (OTC) desk. Another important selling point is that users can use the local fiat currency to buy tokens.

At the moment, they can already do it, but only via the OTC desk. After the launch, they will be able to do it with credit cards, wire transfers and even using some local payment options.

The CEO of Huobi Argentina, Carlos Banfi, affirmed that this could also lead global investment to look at Argentina. He considers the country to be one of the most promising markets for the blockchain and affirmed that it is a national consensus that people need to “break free” from the Argentinian Peso (ARS), so cryptos are bound to grow in the country soon.

Huobi is actually pretty confident about this expansion. Recently, the company also promised to launch an exchange in Thailand as well. The announcement of the platform in Argentina comes only a few months after the CEO of Binance, one of the main competitors of Huobi, has shown some interest in launching its platform in the country.

In this market, the companies that expand first will have several advantages when compared to the others, so it is a good move to do this.

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Author: Craig A

Alfa-Bank and X5 Retail Group Utilize Waves Blockchain To Release Bank-as-a-Service Platform

Alfa-Bank has recently started a partnership with the X5 Retail Group in order to launch a new blockchain-based platform that will be used for liquidity. This new platform is going to be called Distributed Treasury and Cash Management (DTCM) and its main goal will be to enable the bank to let clients manage payments, deposits and loans with a liquidity pool.

This new service is being marketed as a bridge between corporations and the Bank-as-a-Service (BaaS) of the company.

Denis Dodon, the director of innovation and development of the institution, affirmed that the main difference between the company’s product and what other companies are offering right now is that they do not only give clients a channel to send orders but help them to completely change the logic of how the process works.

The new model is expected to give window for more customization. With the Waves blockchain, they can employ smart contracts and use the technology for a diversity of situations.

Svetlana Demyashkevich, the CFO of the X5 Retail Group, has recently affirmed that the partnership will be the benchmark for future interactions between clients and banks and that the Alfa-Bank has made a huge step forward.

She also affirmed that her company is set to use the new technology to optimize how the process of trading is done. With the help of this technology, communication and payments will be considerably simpler. Among other benefits shown by the CFO were the unified treasury application provided by the bank and how improved data management can be used to cut risks and costs.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Japanese Crypto Exchange Coincheck May Launch IEO with Intention of Helping Raise Funds for Tokens

Coincheck, a major crypto exchange based in Japan and owned by the Monex Group, is considering the launch of an Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) platform. According to the company, the group is still considering the possibilities, but it was hinted that the launch may actually happen.

IEO platforms are getting more popular recently, mostly due to the level of success that Binance reached with its own IEO platform. The word ICO got a bad rep after so many ICOs failed after 2017. Many investors now see them as highly unregulated and risky, because of this, the IEOs are getting traction.

They are deemed to be more reliable than Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) by many experts. Companies such as Huobi, Bitfinex, Gate.io and others are already using this new model. Coincheck is paying attention and will possibly start to invest in this field as well.

According to the company, the ideal clients for a possible platform would be the ones that do not have any tokens yet but already have a real business. Now, the company is considering the local rules in order to determine whether this ICO can be a good idea.

Coincheck was one of the largest exchanges in Japan, but it was hacked and it lost nearly everything. Since then, the company is trying a new start. This year, it was greenlighted by the Japanese regulators to open up shop again and the launch of IEOs, which are still not that popular in Japan, might give the company the necessary boost.

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Author: Daniel W

R3 Plans Expansion as Company Announces New Office In Dublin by 2020

The blockchain consortium R3 is amid a big expansion. This week, the group revealed that it plans to open up a new office in Dublin, which will be inaugurated in 2020. The announcement comes on the heels of the last one, that the company would double the size of its London office.

According to R3, this new office will be focused on serving as a tech hub. It was also affirmed that the local team would team up with the already existing London team on some occasions.

This is all a part of the company’s expansion move. In order to increase its popularity around the whole world, R3 is on a hiring spree. Dublin is an obvious choice as no one is actually sure what will happen to London post-Brexit.

The CEO of R3 David Rutter affirmed that not only the city is connected to London but it also because there are several experts in the blockchain there. This could help in order to find the talent that will make the office be successful.

The Enterprise Blockchain Sector Is Becoming Important

The time in which blockchains were only used by random people on the internet is long over. The age of blockchains for enterprises has just started and it is shown to be incredibly successful. While still a very new sector, some of the largest companies in the world are investing in it as they prepare for the future.

According to Rutter, R3 is the kind of company that will be active in diverse ecosystems and starts partnerships that will help enterprises all over the world to make the most of their blockchain applications.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

South Korea’s SK Group Set to Launch a Donation Blockchain with Two Native Cryptocurrencies

Two tokens set to be launched by the third largest Korean conglomerate, SK Group, after local dailies report the development of a business blockchain. The conglomerate will launch the Social Value Coin (SVC) and the Social Value Power (SVP)

Local reports from South Korea confirm that SK Group, one of the largest conglomerates is planning to launch a new blockchain based platform for donations. The announcement further confirmed the launch of two tokens to facilitate the blockchain in development.

In a blockchain conference held in the country, a spokesperson from the IT subsidiary of the conglomerate, SK Corporation C&C, confirmed the plans to build its blockchain in the coming days. While the release date is yet to be announced, the report states the blockchain will utilize Ripple’s XCurrent solution.

Ripple from Ripple Labs will offer an efficient, instant and cheap system to transact anywhere across the globe. Consumers using the blockchain designed will have a direct, cheap and P2P transaction system for remittances and completely do away with middlemen.

The architecture will be open source and open to outside developers, with transaction terms customized by the counterparties. It will be centralized and will not depend on mining.

SK Group To Launch Two Donation Stable Tokens

The ‘SK Group’ blockchain will integrate two native token – each with its unique value to the network. The main token on the blockchain, the Social Value Coin (SVC), is a stable coin backed by Korean won in a ratio of 1:1, much like Tether and the dollar. The coin will be used mainly to make donations and make payments across the network.

The spinoff token, Social Value Power (SVP), is an incentive to making donations using the SVC token. The report states the payouts/distribution of SVP will be at a ratio of 1 SPV for every 1000 SVC tokens donated.

Late last year, the SK Group agreed to a deal with ConsenSys to build a business blockchain hub that will further development of blockchains in the company. The partnership is growing strong as reports indicate the conglomerate released $8.2 million USD in a fund managed by the blockchain firm.

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Author: Lujan Odera

German Financial Watchdog (BaFin) Approves Fundament’s $280 Million Token Offering

German-Financial-Watchdog-BaFin-Approves-Fundaments-280-Million-Token-Offering

Germany-based end-to-end security issuance solution for asset tokenization, Fundament Group has received approval from the country’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (BaFin) to distribute real estate bond within the country.

The regulatory approval reportedly will enable the startup company to issue a proposed €250 million ($280 million) bond, that will be backed by a portfolio of properties in major cities across Germany.

Fundament will distribute ownership to investors via a token based on the Ethereum blockchain, thus marking the country’s first-ever real estate backed security token regulated by BaFin. The other approved STO was for a lending startup, Bitbond.

Fundament Group is a German firm that specialises in the tokenization of assets. It is based in Berlin, the group mainly invests in commercial real estate and has holdings in Berlin, Hamburg, Rostock, Jena and Fulda.

The Fundament Real Estate Token upon issuance will inject liquidity into traditionally illiquid real estate investments. Hence, investors can now quickly liquidate investments anytime, on designated secondary markets.

Notably, Fundament’s solution builds a tradable asset class backed by real estate projects since the token is set to be marketable worldwide and independently of banks.

Fundament Group co-founder Florian Glatz said the company was excited to be the first one to get approval from BaFin and was looking forward to start the sales process. He said:

“As the first company to receive approval from the German Financial Market Authority for a blockchain-based real estate bond, we are excited to enter the sales process for the Real Estate Security Token, while already preparing the tokenization of other highly attractive assets.”

Fundament Group brings together a team of experienced experts from different fields such as real estate developers, lawyers, financial and political advisors. The company hopes to offer a linkage between the traditional capital market and virtual blockchain-based financing.

The adoption of this technology will allow investors globally to access the German real estate market through the tokenized bonds. In addition, provisions will be made for investors to decide whether to make deposits and withdrawals in Euros, Dollar, Bitcoin, or Ether.

According to Glatz, IDknow will be used to verify the customer’s identity to ensure the company complies with know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) requirements. Glatz explained that the process will consume at least three minutes on average before one is allowed to buy tokens.

Fundament is one of several firms attempting to tokenize real estate holdings. Although many in the crypto-sphere have argued that most assets are likely to be tokenized, the property is more likely than others to go through the process. This is because unlike various asset classes, real estate has traditionally been hard to trade. Breaking it up into tokens means that this can be done much more easily.

Tokenization is taking root in Europe and as CoinDesk reports, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) published prospective regulatory guidelines and policies to enable smooth security token offerings in the country.

Do you think the approval of Fundamental’s real estate bond will encourage other blockchain-based companies to come up with similar projects? Let us know in the comments section.

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Author: Joseph Kibe