Australian ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Firm Looking to Allow Users to Trade Crypto on Customer Demand

Australian ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Firm Looking to Allow Users to Trade Crypto on Customer Demand

Zip Co Ltd, an Australian buy now, pay later (BNPL) firm, explores the option to allow its users to trade cryptocurrencies.

Trading in crypto using Zip digital wallets was one of most requested new product features from users, said co-founder Peter Gray on Thursday.

Zip said it would likely launch the new service in the US first and then in the next 12 months in Australia. The US is driving its fourth-quarter growth and is set to soon become its biggest market by volume.

The company’s fourth-quarter volumes and revenue doubled, with transaction volumes hitting A$1.76 billion ($1.29 billion) in the June quarter and volume at its US unit quadrupled.

Zip’s Australian user base is mature, with about 30% of adults having a BNPL account.

This attempt by Zip to go into crypto is also propelled by the company’s established competitors like Afterpay and Klarna expanding into more countries and planning new offerings like a banking app. The BNPL sector is also attracting the giants like PayPal and even Apple.

“We know our younger generation of customers seek additional products and services that are relevant to them,” Gray told Reuters. The company itself is also looking at expansion in Europe and the Middle East.

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Author: AnTy

Ripple Getting Rich on XRP Price Jump & Selling the Surging MoneyGram Shares

A year later, Ripple is selling about one-third of its stake in the payments company MoneyGram.

San Francisco-based fintech startup is selling up to 4 million shares, which means roughly 33.3% of its stake, as per the filing with the US SEC on Friday.

In Nov. 2019, Ripple had made a $50 million investment in MoneyGram.

After the sale, Ripple would still own nearly 4.45% of MoneyGram, with the ownership of 3.22 million shares.

Ripple also has the warrant to buy up to 5.95 million additional shares at the predetermined price, which brings its stake at MoneyGram at around 11%.

In June 2019, when the initial investment was originally announced, Ripple bought MoneyGram’s shares at $4.10 each, which was at a “significant premium” to the market share price of $3.18 at the time.

However, currently, MoneyGram shares are trading at $7.42, rallying almost 175% in the past two months, which could profit Ripple.

The news of Ripple taking off some profits from cashing out its stake in MoneyGram came not long after it was revealed that Ripple gave yet another $9 million to the company in Q3 2020 for using its digital asset XRP.

Besides selling the stake in MoneyGram, Ripple, which still has the dominant ownership of XRP, is also benefiting from the huge surge in the price of the digital asset.

Recently, the company started buying back XRP as well — $46 million worth of XRP in Q3 2020.

The third-largest cryptocurrency is currently trading above $0.60, back on the rise today after falling under $0.50 on Thursday.

Before the big drop along with the rest of the crypto market, XRP went as high as $0.78, last seen in Sept. 2018. Now, on the weekend, the digital asset seems to be making another attempt at $1 as the cryptocurrency market enjoys the greens.

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Author: AnTy

Cambodia’s Central Bank Rolls Out Blockchain Payment System Whitepaper; It’s Not A CBDC

After three years of development, the Cambodian national digital currency may be out later this month, according to a recently released whitepaper.

The permissioned blockchain-based payments system differs from the central bank digital currencies, also known as CBDCs, being offered by several states, including China and Russia, the paper states.

Cambodia Launches “Project Bakong” Blockchain

The Kingdom has taken massive steps in introducing blockchain systems into its economy since the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) set up a commission to look into distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) in the latter half of 2016. Project Bakong is permissioned, based on the Hyperledger Iroha, a business-oriented DLT platform.

A year later, the commission drafted a solution in different sectors of the economy that a quasi-digital currency may be useful under the auspice of “Project Bakong.”

According to the white paper, the project allows the country to transition from a heavily dollarized financial system to a real-time funds transfer system across the population, offering interbank transfers too.

“The implementation of Bakong would connect all financial institutions and payment service providers under a single payment platform which will allow for fund transfers to be processed on a real-time basis without the need of a centralized clearinghouse.”

Notwithstanding, the platform will also offer Cambodians a P2P platform that allows retail transfers and payment options as quickly as sending an email. The system is mobile-based to ensure reach and accessibility to open up the digital finance ecosystem to Cambodians, lifting them from extreme poverty levels.

‘Not a CBDC’

Despite NBC’s blockchain payment system being compared to CBDCs developed by China, Sweden, and the U.S., Cambodia’s system is quite different. While the CBDCs are developed and issued by the central bank, the quasi-digital currency will need to be “exchanged” for Khmer Riel, the official currency of Cambodia.

The paper describes the development of a blockchain payments system as a detour from the long-running use of the dollar. Given the relatively young population, the turn to digital payment systems may well be the key turning point, with over 5 million citizens already having e-wallets to transact digitally.

The paper states the platform was set to launch in early 2020 but is yet to. NBC announced in the fall of 2019 that the payment system could also take on international payments in the future.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Lottery Winner in Illinois Uses Half of His Prize, Worth $250,000 to Buy Bitcoin (BTC)

A resident of Illinois won half a million dollars in a state lottery and later claimed that he invested half of it in Bitcoin. The story went public recently when the Redditor Joxnlol who won the lottery posted an image of himself with the check. He affirmed that he invested half of the prize in BTC. This netted him returns of 65% so far.

According to the investor, he will maintain the investment for at least a whole year. By setting aside some of the money for emergencies and, curiously, for tattoos, he used the other half for living expenses until his profit goes up. Unfortunately, his $500,000 USD was reduced to around $357,000 USD after he had to pay taxes on the price, so only $178,500 USD was invested in BTC.

He stated,

“I don’t intend to touch any of it for at least another year. I set aside money for emergencies, I set aside money for myself, and I set aside money for tattoos. The only major purchases I’ve done is […] bought a new car for myself and put a downpayment on a house.”

Joxnlol also affirmed that he was using the Robinhood app to keep his funds. According to him, there were security risks in using a centralized method, but he was not keen on using a cold storage wallet as he deemed that the risks were considerably higher for him.

The Redditor was criticized for showing his face online and some people affirmed that he should have invested 100% of the money in BTC, but the reception of the post was generally positive.

In related news, the number of people who use cryptocurrencies in the United States has recently been doubled. In 2018, only 7.95% of the Americans owned crypto in some form, while now 14.4% of them do it. With the rise in the popularity of crypto, the numbers will probably get a lot higher in the near future.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Bakkt Announces Physically-delivered Bitcoin Futures Launch on Sep 23

Finally, the long-awaited Bakkt is launching next month, on September 23rd.

A year later since Bakkt first shared this idea, it is all set to launch the custody and physically delivered daily and monthly bitcoin futures contracts.

Kelly Loeffller, CEO of Bakkt shared in the medium post that they have received the green light from the CFTC via self-certification process.

User acceptance testing has already begun.

In addition, Bakkt warehouse — that will custody Bitcoin for physically delivered future — has gotten approval by the New York State Department of Financial Services to create a qualified custodian Bakkt Trust Company.

Bakkt’s bitcoin futures will be exchange-traded on ICE Futures US and cleared on ICE Clear US, both federally regulated by CFTC.

These contracts will be further covered by the existing guaranty fund at ICE Clear US. Additional $35 million is contributed to this fund.

Bakkt Warehouse that will provide regulated, secure custody of Bitcoin is protected by $125 million in insurance.

To build a trusted ecosystem, the platform will be employing an institutional compliance and anti-money laundering program. It further involves a guaranty fund contribution and insurance and settlement prices that are distinct from unregulated spot prices.

Loeffller said all the concerns related to market quality and regulation, operational risks, lack of liquidity, and issues with reliability and fees will be addressed with a transparent offering.

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Author: AnTy