ASIC Bitcoin Miner Manufacturer, Ebang, to Launch Crypto Exchange Outside China

  • Ebang International Holdings to launch an offshore crypto exchange that can potentially double their income to $200 Million. This, alongside their new consultancy venture which, will supplement their dwindling revenue by 40% in 2020 will work to reduce their overreliance in the ever-volatile cryptocurrency.al

News has now surfaced that Bitcoin equipment manufacturer; Ebang International Holdings intend to unveil a crypto exchange to operate outside China’s jurisdiction. This is in an attempt to generate more revenue for the firm.

The BTC rig manufacturer could see a revenue increment of up to 40% by the end of this year emanating from their new consultancy business that involves managing datacenters for clients. Chief Financial Officer, Chen Lei in an interview with a media outlet remarked at the potential of doubling their earnings to $200 Million with the launch of the crypto exchange. This timeline could potentially be stretched to 2022.

Dwindling Fortunes

Notably, their 2019 revenue of $109 Million was significantly dwarfed by an excess of $300 Million they generated in 2018. Generally translating to net losses in both 2018 and 2019. This is due to their overreliance in the ever-volatile BTC which, has plummeted significantly well below $4000 before stabilizing. The BTC is currently trading at $9154.21 enjoying a market volume of $15911378811 as per this writing.

The Hangzhou-based ASIC rigs manufacturer filed a $100 Million IPO with SEC this year, April. Their share price after, however, shrunk by almost 4% after June 26th IPO to fall below the projected $4. Most of the funds from the IPO would go into the production of next-gen rigs and their overseas expansion campaign.

According to Mr. Chen, almost 10% of the total revenue generated would go to facilitate transaction fees as they seek to set up a regulatory compliant exchange outside China. This was partly due to ongoing purge on crypto activities in China as they march towards realizing their own CBDC, the digital Yuan.

However, it is yet to be seen how the escalating rows between Beijing and Washington will affect Ebang’s access to US capital markets.

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

BIS Annual Report Reveals Increased Activity in CBDC; Emphasis on Policy Not Competition

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Annual Economic report has revealed that Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) are gaining popularity and could play an essential role in the digital innovation era.

Covered in a particular chapter ‘Central banks and payments in the digital era,’ the report paints a picture of the ongoing activity in this space. Notably, the COVID-19 pandemic and Libra proposal are some of the factors that significantly accelerated research and development on CBDC’s.

The Switzerland headquartered organization has since encouraged central banks to consider CBDC’s noting the underlying opportunity in digital policy creation:

“One option at the frontier of policy opportunities is the issuance of CBDCs, which could amount to a sea change.”

The Push Factors

According to the BIS report, COVID-19 has accelerated the shift towards digital ecosystems, not sparing payment networks. The report highlights that there has been a sharp decline in cash transactions leading to a surge in e-commerce services.

Consequently, financial watchdogs are also embracing the new ‘normal’ hence the efforts towards CBDC’s in recent months.

As the U.S issued stimulus checks at the height of the pandemic, the vulnerabilities of its payment ecosystem were highly exposed. The BIS report points out that social inequalities attributed to payment ecosystems can, therefore, be solved with CBDC frameworks:

“The crisis has amplified calls for greater access to digital payments by vulnerable groups and for more inclusive, lower-cost payment services going forward.”

Another factor was Libra’s announcement back in 2019; the Facebook-led project sounded a warning for regulators globally as per the report. Before this, most had taken a laid-back approach with minimal activity in research. However, the Libra proposal has awakened a CBDC frenzy within a year.

Focus is on Policy, Not Competition

While private stablecoin proposals may have spurred the move towards CBDC’s, the organization said that regulators are focused on the policy as opposed to competition.

“CBDC issuance is not so much a reaction to cryptocurrencies and private sector ‘stablecoin’ proposals, but rather a focused technological effort by central banks to pursue several public policy objectives at once.”

At the moment, China is the most advanced jurisdiction in a CBDC integration. The Asian superpower rolled out a pilot for the digital yuan as soon as it emerged from the COVID lockdown. The PBoC backed digital currency is expected to equip China’s watchdogs with access to digital payment ecosystems.

With most of the population already using Alipay and WeChat, a migration towards digital monetary policy might not be complicated. Other nations that have signaled they will embrace a CBDC include Italy and France, which are both ready for a digital Euro.

Read Original/a>
Author: Edwin Munyui

Online Payment Giant, PayPal, Kick-Starts Research Into Buying & Selling Crypto

The international payment service, Paypal, has announced plans for a direct sales solution of cryptocurrency for its more than 325 million users.

This report is according to a few people that are familiar with Paypal’s activity. For the moment, Paypal is primarily known as an alternative payment provider worldwide, allowing users to make and take payments globally. Paypal’s previous relationship with cryptocurrencies offers users a means of withdrawing funds from crypto exchanges like Coinbase.

According to one of the individuals familiar with this activity, Paypal’s crypto service would allow users to buy and sell crypto directly through its platform. The source goes on to explain how Paypal would make use of a dedicated soft wallet.

While this announcement comes with a lot of speculation, it remains unclear as to how many, or even what cryptocurrencies would be available for users.

The timeline for development may be shorter than we think, another source claims. The user confirmed that Paypal would be looking at other exchanges for sourcing liquidity as well as crypto assets. All of this currently has a timeline of fewer than three months.

At this moment in time, Paypal has refused to comment. Major exchanges like Coinbase and Bitstamp also join the international payments provider in declining to comment.

While Paypal has had little direct experience with crypto-assets, it has had a long working relationship with the California-based Coinbase. For example, Paypal worked with Coinbase to offer instant fiat withdrawals back in 2018 for customers in the United States. In 2019, this was followed by the expansion of these withdrawals to both the European Union and Canada.

Crypto Trading and Fintech – A Winning Combination

While the market is experiencing some understandable uncertainty, fintech companies that expand into the crypto space are capitalizing well. For example, Jack Dorsey’s Square, the digital payments provider, introduced support Bitcoin purchases in mid-2018. As a result of this, Square’s Cash App reported more than $305 million in new revenues from BTC.

Revolut, meanwhile, rolled out support for crypto-assets off the back of a partnership with Bitstamp back in 2017. This was followed up by a successful raising of $500 million in seed capital in February this year – bringing its total market valuation to $5.5bn. Last, but not least is Robinhood, which was previously tipped to be behind the boom in equities day trading. Robinhood began offering access to cryptocurrencies back in February 2018.

What these companies do prove conclusively, and consistently, is that introducing access to cryptocurrencies is an effective way of bolstering user numbers, and earning some additional popularity.

Paypal is Staffing up

Paypal has begun 2020 on a very bullish note with a large number of new job openings. These are seen as a strong ramp-up for its brand new Blockchain Research Group. The giveaway comes from the posting of eight engineering positions across San Jose in California and Singapore.

In the wake of Facebook’s turbulent and ill-fated venture with Libra last year, and Paypal’s short-lived partnership with it, the company appears to be going its own way on blockchain and cryptos.

Read Original/a>
Author: James Fox

Ripple-Partner, MoneyGram, Sees 107% Growth in Customer Transactions YoY: Q1 2020 Report

MoneyGram International Inc. (MASDAQ:MIG) peaked at $4.03 on June 10, 2020, representing a sharp 20% increase since the markets opened on Monday. The rise comes in light of the recent release of positive reports on the company’s financial health and customer growth in Q1 2020.

MoneyGram registers 100% YoY growth in customer transactions

In a press release, MoneyGram reports a year-over-year (YoY) growth of over 100 percent in customer transactions on its platforms in Q1 2020. At the end of last year, the international remittance money processor received a $20 million funding from the Ripple Inc. to boost its payment solutions. The funding completes its $50 million offerings for a 15% stake in MoneyGram to run its pilot program for testing the digital token XRP.

In Q1 2020, the company registered expansionary customer transaction growth rates of 57% despite the challenging COVID-10 global pandemic. Ripple Inc. denies any part in MoneyGram’s exploding numbers but remains heavily invested in the company. In February 2020, Ripple disbursed an $11.3 million funding (in XRP) in “money development fees” calling it an incentive program. Alex Holmes MoneyGram Chairman and CEO said,

“I’m excited to report that our strong digital growth continued to accelerate in May, highlighting yet again the incredible progress we’ve made as an organization to focus on our strategy to lead the industry in digitizing the movement of money.”

“May was a good month”

MoneyGram’s online platform was the best performing platform, registering a 107% YoY growth rate as of May 2020. This was mainly driven by the launch of their mobile device application –contributing to over 80% of the online transactions. Kamila Chytil, Chief Operating Officer at MoneyGram said,

“We’ve built a modern, mobile, API-driven company that is resonating with millions of consumers across the globe.”

The account deposit and mobile wallet transactions also experience an 80 percent YoY growth but the past month was more impressive registering a monthly growth rate of 156%.

The growth of MoneyGram’s transaction also stems from the deep roots of the company in 200 countries (70 countries enjoying the digital services). MoneyGram recently announced a partnership with Federal Bank in India to facilitate instant transactions in the country. There was also speculation that MoneyGram may be acquired by Western Union, but there hasn’t been an official word from either company.

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

Western Union Testing and Considering Using Ripple (XRP) for Cross-border: Credit Suisse Research

According to the research by investment bank Credit Suisse, the international money transfer service provider, Western Union is currently testing and considering the usage of Ripple (XRP). The report from late January 2020 reads,

“Western Union: Testing and considering use of Ripple (XRP) for cross-border (Ripple has made a $50mm investment in Western Union competitor, MoneyGram).”

Although mentioned XRP, it is possible, the firm doesn’t explicitly mean using the digital asset rather using it as a ticker for Ripple. Out of its list of more than 300 customers, Ripple has only a handful of them actually using XRP.

Also, it was recently revealed that the San Francisco-based company is paying compensation to its partners to utilize its digital currency.

MoneyGram is one such partner with which Ripple is in a two-year agreement to use XRP via On-Demand Liquidity (ODL previously called xRapid). Besides the $50 million investment from Ripple, MGI hopes to improve its working capital, which is reducing the need for funds in foreign banks.

Another partner of Ripple, Transferwise, is also evaluating various technologies including Ripple but “have yet to find a solution that enables them to improve on their current speed, costs, etc.”

Now, Western Union is also evaluating Ripple, despite being initially less bullish on the company. In June last year, CEO Hikmet Ersek said the trials revealed Western Union is five times cheaper than Ripple but trials continue.

Unlikely to gain C2B payments adoption in medium term

The research states cross-border B2B is the “most meaningful” medium-term use for crypto payment platforms like Ripple that have the potential to reduce settlement times, from days to seconds, and provide savings with low bps, but large absolute dollars, states the financial service provider.

Cross-border B2B payments, it says, are an “actual pain point,” a problem that needs to be solved.

From the crypto space, various companies besides Ripple are working towards solving this issue. JP Morgan’s USD backed stablecoin, JPM Coin is one such solution for use in B2B payments, securities transactions, and treasury applications.

IBM is another one involved through its IBM World Wire cross-border solution that uses Ripple’s competitor Stellar protocol along with a multi-digital asset approach such as stable coins and central bank coins.

R3 offers Corda Settler which partnered with SWIFT on standards and Global Payments Innovation (Swift GPI). It also supports XRP but is intended to support multiple options.

However, the report says cryptocurrencies are “unlikely to gain C2B payments adoption at least for the medium term.”

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Govt’s May Accelerate Digital Payment And CBDC Research Due to COVID-19: BIS

Bank of International Statements (BIS) recently released a research report on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic to the overall payment system. According to the research, the virus is causing fear and uncertainty as physical cash sees a dip in usage in favor of digital payments. Additionally, the report from BIS states there may be an acceleration in the development of government-backed digital currencies such as central banks CBDCs.

Public fears cash over COVID-19 pandemic

In the third bulletin of BIS titled, “COVID-19, Cash, and the Future of Payments” the bank highlighted the growing fear of the use of physical cash, despite scientific evidence of low chances of contracting Coronavirus through cash. This growing fear may set in a rush across governments in the quest to develop CBDCs and other digital forms of payments, the report further states.

“Looking ahead, developments could speed up the shift toward digital payments. […]The pandemic may amplify calls to defend the role of cash – but also calls for central bank digital currencies.”

However, with half of the world lacking these digital payments, a sudden shift to such payment systems may set a divide especially in these times of the pandemic. The researchers said,

“If cash is not generally accepted as a means of payment, this could open a ‘payments divide’ between those with access to digital payments and those without.

This could open a divide in access to payments instruments, which could negatively impact unbanked and older consumers.”

A broader look into digital payments

Governments across the world including Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe have started embracing digital payments on mobile phones and digital currencies. The U.S government stimulus bill proposed a digital ecosystem to disburse the funds to millions of Americans.

Argentinian governor, Jorge Capitanich of Chaco province, urged the use of digital payment systems across his state to phase out the use of physical fiat money during an internet call with the President, Alberto Fernández

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

Intermex Walks Back Announcement, They Won’t Be Using Ripple In Core Markets Like Mexico

International Money Exchange (Intermex), one of the most prominent remittance companies in the world, made the announcement that it won’t be using Ripple its cryptocurrency XRP for its core markets like Mexico.

The news comes quite a big surprise, seeing that in early 2020, Intermex closed a partnership with Ripple. The company’s executives conducted a conference in order to respond to the question of how Ripple and XRP will be used in the future.

Intermex Focuses Mostly on Latin America

The partnership between Intermex and Ripple was announced at the beginning of last month. Many speculated that Intermex, which focuses mostly on Latin America, will integrate XRP into their services in Mexico and other countries in the area for faster remittance payments. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case. This is what Intermex’s CEO, Robert Lisy said about the matter specifically:

“Ripple will not be an answer for places like Mexico. We’re very proud about the relationships we have there . . . we have very tight relationships that strategically setting plans and objectives with those players. And so you won’t really see us leveraging Ripple in our core markets.

I think it will bring us more growth in newer markets in places where we’re exploring going into ancillary products.”

Ripple’s Supporters Are Frustrated

Ripple supporters from Latin America are frustrated seeing that Intermex has rapidly grown as a company after they went public back in 2018. In 2019, it had moved over $16 billion, and not to mention, expanded its services to Africa and Canada. This means the future looks bright for Ripple’s RippleNet and XRP while things are moving ahead, but not yet for South America.

The Remittance Market is Flooded by Cryptocurrency

Intermex and other similar companies are wise to try and explore the use of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, as they can be revolutionary for international transfers in terms of speed and cost.

According to estimates, 15% of remittances from all over the world involve crypto, not to mention a rise in this percentage is expected in the upcoming years, even if crypto for remittances takes place mostly in the developing world, where people are looking for an alternative to national fiats, which are more and more unstable.

Crypto enthusiasts have been long saying that blockchain assets like Bitcoin (BTC) are going to close remittance companies. This doesn’t mean Intermex and its competitors shouldn’t look for other alternatives too.

Read Original/a>
Author: Oana Ularu

Leading French Bank, BNP Paribas, is Blocking Transfers to Coinbase Crypto Exchange

International French banking giant, BNP Paribas, is allegedly blocking funds transferred to Coinbase crypto exchange. According to one of the bank’s clients, this action began just recently given they could use BNP Paribas as an intermediary at the beginning of March.

Speaking to news site Cointelegraph, the client preferred to stay anonymous but shed light on this development in detail. Most notably, was a response they got from the BNP Paribas customer service in regards to Coinbase’s transfer issue. The bank, through one of its representatives, said that it was considered an illegal operation. It further cited privacy coin, Monero, crypto scams, and malware as the reasons for cutting financial interactions with Coinbase.

Reports, however, indicate that Coinbase is the only crypto exchange suffering the BNP Paribas wrath. The anonymous client also highlighted that they did not receive any prior warnings from the bank relating to the matter.

The move by BNP is not an unprecedented one within the volatile crypto market. Popular banks like JP Morgan and Citi have in the past implemented limits to crypto operations; the most significant one yet is the credit card ban for digital asset purchases back in 2018.

Bulgarian banks also took similar measures during the 2017 bull run which saw Bitcoin hit the highs of $20,000. They basically terminated some accounts that were run by crypto exchanges.

Read Original/a>
Author: Edwin Munyui

BIS Latest Report Discusses How Payment Are Evolving With Tokenization and CBDC’s

Bank of International Settlements (BIS) researchers focusing on the payments’ future, reveals their latest quarterly report released on Sunday.

The paper has 138 pages and looks at what’s on the horizon in the financial sector, especially since tokenization, central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and cross-border payments are starting to be more and more in trend.

Conclusions on Tokenization

According to BIS, the tokenization of securities on distributed ledgers can streamline the settlement cycle and become too efficient for some investors to bear with it, seeing traders are used with slow settlement cycles, liquidity management concerns and intermediaries. The report also says DLT and smart contracts are still to be proven when it comes to settlement and clearing, reading further that:

“The ability of tokenized systems to interoperate with account-based systems will be key to their success.”

What About CBDCs?

Another one of the big stories circulating in the world of banking is that of CBDCs, so BIS didn’t hesitate to address it too. It clarifies that there’s no use to develop digital money if it wouldn’t bring any advantages and while the existing payment systems work, saying retailers wouldn’t want to use a system that’s not in demand, whereas most consumers find cash or credit cards much more convenient.

Trying to answer the question of how decentralized a CBDC system would be, the research says decentralization indeed eliminates the risk of the entire system’s failure, but it brings about new vulnerabilities. Here’s what the report reads exactly:

“The key vulnerability of a conventional architecture is the failure of the top node, for example via a targeted hacking attack. The key vulnerability of DLT is the consensus mechanism, which may be put under pressure, for example, by a denial-of-service type of attack.”

Meanwhile, some banks have publicly stated they don’t see DLT as the salvation that’s rumored to be, whereas others are pushing forward with trials on DLT-based CBDCs.

BIS Report on Payments

Agustin Carstens, the General Manager at BIS, said the impact of a completely different and brand-new backend payment infrastructure needs to be considered. Central banks have been put into working mode by Facebook’s Libra, so it’s not yet clear if stablecoins are going to bring the financial doom foreseen by some or not. BIS deemed the matter as unanswered and enduring, saying there’s a need for an international response. It brought its Innovation Hub into discussion, saying it may provide the looked-for global response.

The Innovation Hub will collaborate with monetary policy makers and bankers at developing frameworks on digital innovations. According to BIS, it has spokes in Hong Kong, Switzerland and Singapore, not to mention a good position for developing policies across different networks.

Read Original/a>
Author: Oana Ularu

Fidelity International Buys 5.6% Stake In A Hong Kong Based OSL Crypto Exchange Operator

Fidelity International, an off-shoot of renowned US-based financial asset manager Fidelity Investments, has decided to purchase a 5.6% stake in crypto exchange OSL that operates in Hong Kong.

According to public disclosure documents, Fidelity international purchased 17 million shares from BC Group which owns OSL crypto exchange. According to the deal, each share was valued at HK$6.50 (US$0.83) which translates to $14 million worth of investment which is 5.6% stake in the crypto firm.

According to CoinDesk, the current investment is one of the $36 million share placement which BC Group revealed last month. The firm which listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange revealed that the transactions were finished on Feb. 12, however the investors’ names were not revealed until today.

The round also attracted major global investors such as Eternity Investment Limited which is based in Hong Kong that mostly deals with jewelry products.

According to BC Group CFO, Steve Zhang, the current placement by global renowned investors is evidence that the digital asset industry is becoming of age. He added that this only confirms what the majority of crypto enthusiasts believe that mass adoption of crypto and digital assets is inevitable. He also explained that global financial companies are rapidly investing in firms which have developed institutional quality infrastructure and are compliant with the set regulatory standards.

OSL is one of the biggest cryptocurrencies exchanges within Asia which focuses on both institutional as well as individual investors offering services like trading, custody and brokerage. Recently, the firm applied for Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission licence as per digital asset framework category.

Hugh Madden, BC Group’s CEO, expressed his gratitude that equity investors that are world-class are rapidly taking part in the ever-growing virtual asset sector. He added that the firm is optimistic of reaching new heights after the coming on-board of leading institutional investors.

From its disclosures, Fidelity International claims that it is managing customer assets valued at $418.8 billion with its clientele coming from all over the world.

Read Original/a>
Author: Joseph Kibe