Blockchain Music Platform Audius Becomes TikTok’s First Streaming Partner

Audius has partnered with TikTok on the app’s new “TikTok Sounds” library feature. According to an announcement released today, Audius users would now be able to share tracks to the popular app directly.

Users Could Win AUDIO Tokens

The partnership between Audius and Tiktok would help artists reach a larger audience. With Audius being a TikTok partner for the Sound Kit functionality, songs on the Audius platform can now be transferred seamlessly into the video-sharing app. With the feature, artists who have songs on Audius can also make them available for TikTok users.

To promote this feature, Audius allows users to win 50 AUDIO tokens, the native utility assets of the Audius platform. TikTok users stand the chance of winning this prize when they use an Audius track in their videos.

Audius’s partnership with TikTok is important because of the massive audience the social media app has. TikTok reportedly has a billion active users. It had 732 million global monthly active users as of October 2020, and that figure has likely climbed up since then.

The TikTok and Audius partnership comes after the social media app banned cryptocurrency-based promotional content on its platform. Tiktok updated its branded content policy last month, prohibiting users from posting any promotional content on cryptocurrency and forex.

The AUDIO token is currently trading at $3.26, up 93.96% in the last 24 hours.

Audius Pushing Initiatives For Artists

Audius is a decentralized music-sharing and streaming protocol that facilitates direct transactions between listeners and creators. The platform gives everyone the freedom to distribute, monetize, and stream any audio content.

Although the network is a streaming platform based on the Ethereum and Solana blockchains, it focuses more on pushing music than crypto, as seen in its recent partnerships. The new initiative with TikTok appears to be more about music rather than pushing cryptocurrency or decentralized finance (DeFi).

According to co-founder and chief product officer Forrest Browning in a Rolling Stone interview, roughly 95% of Audius users have no idea that blockchain is even involved.

Last month, Audius announced a partnership with Metaplex and Solana foundation to use the Solana Creator Fund to attract new artists to its platform. The $5 million fund is focused on helping creators launch new works in frontier categories like music streaming, NFTs, and The Metaverse.

Founded in 2008, Audius currently has about 5 million monthly active users, according to an announcement released earlier this month. The platform boasts of over 100,000 musicians, including Skrillex and deadmau5.

Audius allocates AUDIO tokens to musicians based on the number of streams they generate. The platform also makes it possible for creators to set their rules regarding monetization instead of paying them directly. Creators use the AUDIO tokens for yield earning through staking.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Open Wireless Network, Helium, is Coming to a Phone Near You

Helium Network has partnered with FreedomFi, a connectivity company that manufactures open-source 5G devices. This is an important milestone for the network’s path to 5G.

By voting to pass HIP 27, the community has come together to make the Helium Network “the first consumer-owned 5G network in the world.” Basically, if you have a phone that supports 5G, you would soon be able to connect through hotspots powered by the Helium. Ryan Watkins of Messari commented,

“In just 21 months, Helium has built a global wireless network for IoT devices whose infrastructure is entirely community-owned and operated.”

“Their next step is replicating this success and deploying a similarly community-owned and operated 5G wireless network. Web 3 is coming.”

Founded in 2013, Helium Network, also known as the People’s Network, is a decentralized open wireless network built on a new blockchain. Relying on Proof of Coverage and a new consensus algorithm (HoneyBadger BFT), Helium is used to route data for long-range, lower power IoT devices.

The network is live with over 28,000 hotspots in over 3,800 cities worldwide with a backorder of 200k.

FreedomFi meanwhile has announced the presale waitlist of the inaugural batch of its Gateways, a connectivity device that pairs with 5G antennas and is compatible with the Helium Network.

This year, the project expects the Helium 5G network to be available in selected cities in the US and then expand into other countries as early as next year.

Hosts will also be able to earn a variable amount of HNT, depending on radio power, location, and amount of data traffic passing through their Hotspot.

The native token is currently trading at $17.54, down 16.4% from its ATH of 20.85 earlier this month.

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Author: AnTy

Tanla & Microsoft Launches Blockchain-based Communication Platform on Azure

Tanla Platforms Limited and Microsoft have partnered to launch a blockchain-based communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) dubbed ‘Wisely.’ This communication channel touts a secure, trusted, and private edge-to-edge network targeting enterprises and their supply chains. The Wisely CPaaS is built on Microsoft Azure, hence leveraging the underlying fundamentals of this cloud ecosystem.

Wisely derives some of the functionalities including Microsoft Azure PostgresSQL Database, Databricks, Cosmos DB, Kubernetes Service, and other embedded services. The platform also uses AI/ML to increase the value proposition of its product and cut associated costs over time. Being a blockchain-based network Wisely provides a single truth source by making all the data visible to participating stakeholders. Tanla’s CEO & Chairman, Uday Reddy, said that the new tech is a game-changer for enterprise communication,

“We’re excited to launch Wisely, our new global platform powered by Microsoft. It is a gamechanger for enterprises, mobile carriers, OTT players, marketers, and industry regulators.”

The Wisely marketplace is designed to create a trustworthy communication network where enterprises can connect and access the omnichannel capabilities. This edge-to-edge encrypted platform allows enterprises to collaborate with suppliers, meeting the ever-changing communication needs. Enterprises have an option to onboard their own suppliers or chose from an existing channel. So far, wisely has secured three cryptography and blockchain-oriented patents from the U.S Patents and Trademark office. Microsoft Corporate VP of Cross-Industry solutions, Omar Abbosh, commented on the potential disruption of this milestone,

“Disruption isn’t part of the journey; it is the journey. Leading and thriving requires a commitment to perpetual transformation, and the cloud is where and how this happens. Data security and privacy is an important component, and Wisely leverages the flexibility and reliability of Microsoft Azure to provide another great business communication option for our enterprise customers.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Circle Secures Major Partnership With Visa to Provide Seamless USDC Payments

Payment processor VISA is improving its presence in the crypto space. The firm has partnered with Circle Internet Financial to facilitate USDC payments for select VISA users.

Easy Payments for Individuals and Businesses

VISA’s partnership with USDC will initially start with selected users, the firm’s Head of Crypto Cuy Sheffield explained on Twitter. The end game is to help users make seamless USDC transactions.

Businesses will also be able to make cross-border payments using their USDC balances.

USDC’s operator Circle would also join the Fast Track program, VISA’s launchpad initiative that allows businesses to leverage its network’s speed to get up and running quickly. VISA estimates that Circle will graduate from the program sometime next year, following which the former will issue a credit card that allows businesses to send and receive USDC-based payments directly.

Speaking on the initiative, Sheffield, said that the firm is looking to become a “network of networks.” He added:

“We see significant potential for stablecoins like USDC to help our clients enable new payment flows and are committed to helping them become integrated into the payments ecosystem in a secure and convenient way”

VISA Strengthens Crypto Ties

The news follows another significant partnership from VISA. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that the credit card manufacturer had partnered with BlockFi, one of the top crypto loans and savings providers, to launch a Bitcoin rewards card.

As the report explained, the new credit card will reward buyers with Bitcoin, instead of cashback rewards, airline miles, or other conventional channels. Cardholders can get up to 1.5 percent of their purchases in Bitcoin.

The cards will carry a $200 annual maintenance fee, and they will be issued by the Evolve Bank & Trust. It is expected to be available to the public in early 2021, although BlockFi users can sign up for it before then. Like the Circle partnership, this is also a part of VISA’s Fast track program.

The payment processor appears to be gearing up for more crypto partnerships, especially since regulators have put a snag on its acquisition of financial services firm Plaid. Last Thursday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint against VISA, alleging that it was committing antitrust violations in its Plaid acquisition.

In part, the complaint alleged that VISA was looking to purchase Plaid as an “insurance policy” to neutralize any threats to its U.S. debit business. The DOJ added that the acquisition could see VISA easily eliminate nascent competitive risks that could help customers at the detriment of its market share.

VISA announced its blockbuster $5.3 billion Plaid acquisition in January. Since then, however, the latter had been embroiled in several lawsuits over its misuse of data. With the DOJ complaint not putting a hold on things, this deal looks dead in the water.

A few of the other Crypto to VISA connection in recent months includes ZenGo, Binance, Coinbase, and Paxful. This list also included crypto lender Cred, which filed for bankruptcy last month.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

BlockFi Partners with Visa to Launch Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card in 2021

Cryptocurrency startup BlockFi has partnered with payment processor giant Visa to launch a credit card that rewards purchases with BTC rather than cash or airline miles.

The card is expected to be made available in early 2021, and initially, the service will be offered only in the US.

The company has already launched the waitlist for the “world’s first” Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card.

To be issued by Evolve Bank & Trust, the users of the Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card will receive 1.5% on an accrual basis on every transaction made through the card. This will then be converted to Bitcoin and placed into the account of the BlockFi every month.

If a user spent more than $3,000 the first time, a lump sum of $250 in the digital asset would be credited. The card also comes with a $200 annual fee.

“We’re excited to add credit cards to our suite of products and expand Bitcoin’s accessibility to a broader set of consumers,” said Zac Prince, chief executive officer and founder at BlockFi.

Bitcoin has rallied more than 160% in 2020, having surged to a new all-time high.

Earlier this year, Visa also joined startup Fold to offer a debit card that earns rewards in cryptocurrency. In February, Visa and Coinbase announced a debit card that allows users to spend BTC.

Besides announcing a Bitcoin reward credit card, BlockFi also reported another “record-breaking month of interest payouts.”

BlockFi’s clients earned more than 10 million in interest in November, including over 300 in BTC, 3500 in ETH, and 2 million in stablecoins.

BEG and BlockFi have teamed up to offer new users a bonus signing up and start earning by putting your crypto to work.

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Author: AnTy

BitMex Onboards Eventus Systems For Trade Surveillance & Risk Management

BitMEX, one of Bitcoin’s top crypto exchanges, has partnered with the blockchain compliance centered firm Eventus Systems to make its platform AML compliant. Eventus Systems would also help in trade surveillance and risk management.

The partnership enables the crypto exchange step to become more compliant, keep an eye on fraudulent transactions, and monitor any unauthorized trading activity.

Malcolm Wright, chief compliance officer at 100x Group, BitMEX’s parent company, commented on their association with Eventus Systems and how it would help the digital asset exchange, he said,

“The selection of Eventus to support our critical trade surveillance and AML functions is an important part of our plans to mature our compliance capabilities, with a vision of leading the industry on best practice crypto-asset compliance.”

BitMEX trying to Mend its Ways After CFTC Charges

BitMEX exchange was recently in hot water after the financial watchdog CFTC filed a civil lawsuit against the exchange for money laundering and illegally operating in the US, just one month ago.

The exchange also has dealt with the U.S. Attorney for the District of New York filing of a criminal indictment against the owners Arthur Hayes, Ben Delo, and Samuel Reed for violating the Bank Secrecy Act. The feds went on arrest the BitMEX CTO Samuel Reed.

While the BitMEX exchange is acting fast to mend its issues, it is yet to be seen whether it can bounce back to its glory days after several civil lawsuits and the indictment against the owners.

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Author: Silvia A

Japanese Exchange, FXCoin, to Debut Volatility-Resistant XRP Remittance Solution with SBI

The Japan-based crypto exchange, FXCoin, has partnered with several financial heavyweights to develop a crypto-based remittance solution that is not affected by the market’s high volatility. Some of the players that will work with FXCoin on this product include SBI holdings, which already backs the exchange, having participated in its third-party share allotment.

FXCoin was launched back in 2018 by ex-dealers at Deutsche Bank but only received a trading license from the Japan Financial Services Agency (FSA) in December 2019. The exchange started accepting BTC accounts in April and later launched trading services. However, their cutting edge product is now an XRP built remittance solution that seeks to maximize crypto utility.

According to Nikkei, which first reported the new milestone by FXCoin, the pilot solution is set for debut later in the month. This price volatility-resistant solution will enable FXCoin users to efficiently calculate their transaction costs to avoid losses attributed to market swings. Notably, remittance prospects include domestic companies in Japan that transact globally.

The exchange had already signaled an intention to scale in crypto remittance solutions according to sentiments shared by Yasuo Matsuda, a senior strategist at FXCoin,

“Until now, crypto assets have been used mainly for speculative purposes due to the magnitude of price movements …

To establish the Swap market and expand the usage for actual demand, to do so, we will proceed with the demonstration experiment of domestic remittance and overseas remittance through XRP, and finally, global cash management, corporate finance, and trade.”

Nikkei was keen to note that the use case for crypto remittance solutions is in demand and will probably pick up if the FXCoin solution or one from its peer competitors proves to be successful. As it stands, SBI already leverages Ripple’s tech to provide a remittance solution dubbed ‘SBI Remit’ for Thai nationals in Japan. Other initiatives include a blockchain-based payment and remittance app ‘MoneyTap,’ which it co-launched with Ripple.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

P2P Marketplace Paxful Launches Visa Crypto Debit Card with BlockCard in the US

Paxful, the Peer-to-peer digital asset marketplace, has partnered with the Ternio-powered crypto Fintech platform, BlockCard, to roll out a Visa debit card the U.S. This move comes amid the increasing demand for more crypto utility, apart from the prevalent speculative narrative where most coin hodlers depend on a price surge to realize value from their digital assets.

The Visa card rolled out by Paxful and BlockCard will enable U.S clients to convert their crypto assets to dollars for instant purchases. Other functions will include a checking account and the ability to withdraw one’s crypto funds from any ATM across the world. Notably, Paxful users who leverage this card will make purchases from over 45 million outlets.

According to the launch announcement by Paxful, the Visa debit cards will initially be available in the U.S. However, plans are underway to further scale outreach into more jurisdictions where the firm operates. With the minimum balance set at $10, the Visa card initiative by Paxful aims to bank the unbanked and increase alternatives for the underbanked.

Paxful’s CEO, Ray Youseff, emphasized the importance of onboarding more people into financial ecosystems as well as exposure to the underlying products,

“Access to reliable and affordable financial products is indispensable … Whether looking to invest in education, start a business, or simply manage the financial demands of everyday life; there should be a viable option for everyone across the globe.”

Ternio, on the other hand, is assured of its commitment to linking traditional finance and crypto through the firm’s CEO Daniel Gouldman. He noted that the firm is “committed to providing interoperability between cryptocurrencies and the traditional banking system.”

Recent News: Paxful, Exits Venezuela; Due to Regulatory Risks From US Sanctions

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Reserve Bank of Australia And ConsenSys Partner On CBDC Research & Development

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) recently announced they have partnered with several financial institutions to research the potential of distributed ledger technology for a CBDC.

Based on the announcement, the partnering financial institutions include software firm ConsenSys, financial services company Perpetual, National Australia Bank, and the Commonwealth Bank.

The financial institutions will research the benefits of using distributed ledger technology on central bank wholesale digital currencies.

The RBA also said the partnering group would be investigating the development of a proof of concept when issuing tokenized CBDC’s.

Partnership on wholesale market participation

The collaboration will be focused on a wholesale market participant who might be utilizing the digital currency for tokenized syndicate loans via a DLT platform. They will also investigate the effect of security settlements between payments and delivery using cross-chain atomic swaps.

According to Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Michele Bullock, the project will seek to determine the impact of CBDC on innovation, risk management, and efficiency in financial market transactions. Findings may point to how CBDCs will be handled in the future within the Australian financial market.

He also stressed the need to work with industry partners to explore the market to achieve the same goals. He pointed out,

“While the use of a CBDC is still open in these markets, we look forward to working with industry partners.”

The project will be exploring various areas to place a future role for CBDCs in the Australian financial market.

Australia making a U-turn to support CBDC

This project may signify the Australian’s financial authority to pursue more interest in CBDCs. The country’s reserve bank has set various policies that seem to be working against the growth of CBDC in the country. However, the recent partnership to get more involved in CBDC research shows the bank’s willingness to keep things open to CBDCs.

Earlier last month, RBA announced that it would continue to deploy resources towards the research on CBDC, even though the financial institution insists the country has no basis for issuing one in September.

The bank has also pointed to the success of the country’s effective real-time platform for new payments, which has been considered an alternative to issuing a CBDC.

The bank has also revealed that it is set to offer fiat banknotes access if Australians still show the same interest in using them.

The results of the research to be published next year.

The Reserve bank will publish the report next year, once the project has concluded, according to the report on the development.

The RBA also revealed that the partnership might result in other potential automation and programmable financial assets features. Bullock added that the RBA would enable the research team to carry out their exploration. The result of the research is expected to be published during the first half of next year.

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Author: Ali Raza

Mastercard And GrainChain Launch Blockchain Food Traceability Platform

Mastercard announced yesterday that it has partnered with agricultural-based blockchain outfit GrainChain to create digital records of commodities. The two firms will harness their resources to create digital records throughout supply chains in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America.

The GrainChain, best known for its blockchain solution that targets the Honduras coffee industry, is backed by Overstock’s Medici Ventures. The service offered by GrainChain enables traceability and settlements in the country where its coffee industry employs 20% of the population.

According to the announcement, the new partnership will use a platform known as Provenance, where users can forensically track the commodities using blockchain technology to authenticate the produce. The idea is to help farmers and brands protect their reputation as well as consumers.

The platform will offer end-to-end visibility for customers

GrainChain marketing director, Tom DeRosa, voiced his satisfaction about the partnership. According to him, “Our partnership with Mastercard is for provenance and traceability.”

He further said the main purpose of the partnership with the card payment giant is to offer reliable end-to-end visibility for customers and the capability to authenticate its origin. GrainChain has chosen Mastercard as an industry-agnostic platform because it has the best technology in the market to scale globally, he reiterated.

Founder and chief executive officer of GrainChain, Luis Macias, also commented on the development, claiming that the collaboration will improve the country’s supply chain and the continent at large.

He further stated no reliable real-time accountability, transparency, and profitability with streamlined global trade. As a result, the country’s retail suppliers are hindered from taking their operations to the next level.

While commenting on the partnership, Vice President of Mastercard’s Innovation and Startup Engagement, Deborah Barta, said the partnership is essential for the digital identity of goods. She said,

“The traceability market is a global industry, and the digital identity of products and goods is even more critical today.”

At first, GrainChain began with Hyperledger Fabric for its blockchain technology. Earlier this year, it switched to Symbionts Assembly to provide a better and more efficient service. GrainChain revealed that the new technology had improved services, and the collaboration with Mastercard will be beneficial for mission-critical use cases in the financial service sector.

GrainChain also revealed its satisfaction and joy with Symbiont’s Assembly and the massive role in the financial services.

Mastercard gets deeply involved in blockchain

On a similar note, with the current level of partnerships between Mastercard and some blockchain-based firms, it seems the card payment giant has finally embraced blockchain and distributed ledger technology. Mastercard has also collaborated with other firms like this in the past. The most recent is its collaboration with Envisible to incorporate Wholechain, Envisible’s food traceability system, into its Provenance platform.

Mastercard has also announced it will soon roll out a central bank digital currency (CBDC) testing platform. With the launch of the platform, it will enable central banks to test roll-out strategies. The card payment giant is also involved in other digital identity solutions projects, which shows its strong support for blockchain technology.

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Author: Ali Raza