Ripple Inks Partnership With South Korean Payment Provider, GME Remittance

Ripple Labs Inc has announced a partnership with GME Remittance, one of the leading companies in South Korea.

GME Remittance Joins RippleNet

The partnership would enable GME Remittance to use Ripple’s global financial network, RippleNet, to enable faster remittance payments to Thailand.

GME Remittance aims to connect with RippleNet customers to expand into additional remittance corridors across the region and globally.The collaboration was established through SBI Ripple Asia, a joint venture between SBI Holdings and Ripple.

By joining RippleNet, GME Remittance is now connected to Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), Thailand’s oldest bank and Ripple’s long-time partner.

According to the COO of GME Remittance, Subash Chandra Poudel, Ripple was chosen as a partner because of the benefits RippleNet offers.

Poudel said the team is already benefiting from RippleNet’s privileges. For instance, RippleNet tracks transactions at every step of the process, and this he said makes it easy to send money across borders with speed and transparency.

Emi Yoshikawa, Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Operations at Ripple, believes that partnerships with providers like GME Remittance would help deliver good customer experiences while accelerating their expansion into new markets.

With this move, GME Remittance joins an existing list of Korean financial institutions and money transfer companies who have pitched their tent with Ripple.

Ripple Increasing Adoption Of Services In Asian Region

Ripple has been particular about expanding and increasing the adoption of its services this year. To this end, the San Francisco-based firm has formed several partnerships, especially in the Asia Pacific region.

According to Ripple, the region is one of its fastest-growing areas, with transactions growing 130% year-over-year.

Last month, Ripple announced a collaboration with Japan’s SBI Remit and Philippines-based firm The partnership was formed to launch RippleNet’s first live On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) service implementation in Japan.

Ripple has also made other moves to expand its ODL service in the Asian region, like acquiring a 40% stake in cross-border payments firm Tranglo.

Since this partnership with Ripple, Tranglo has continued to expand its services significantly. The company recently received approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to provide account issuance, domestic money transfer, and e-money issuance services.

Through the latest approvals, Tranglo will be able to enhance its payment function in different countries, including the Philippines, Indonesia, and others.

Ripple has also previously partnered with fintech company Novatti Group to expand the reach of its ODL service. Novatti was brought in to deploy the ODL Service via RippleNet to make instant, cross-border payments. The collaboration was also focused on improving remittances between Australia and the Philippines through Filipino-owned remittance service provider iRemit.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Fast-food Restaurant Chain Quiznos Starts Accepting Bitcoin In Partnership With Bakkt

Fast-food Restaurant Chain Quiznos Starts Accepting Bitcoin In Partnership With Bakkt

Sandwich Shop Quiznos has teamed up with digital asset marketplace Bakkt Holdings to allow their customers to pay with the cryptocurrency.

Quiznos will be using Bakkt App, the digital wallet service of Bakkt, to roll out the new crypto payment options in the coming weeks at several of its selected locations across Denver, including “the high-traffic Denver airport location.”

Partnering with Bakkt will allow them to accept BTC directly at the point of sale and enable quick and seamless transactions, said Mark Lohmann, President of REGO Restaurant Group, which owns Quiznos, in a statement.

“As we continue our digital transformation journey and respond to mobile and millennial consumer demand for alternative and cryptocurrency payment options, we are excited to offer yet another accessible way for customers to buy a meal.”

Customers will have to download the Bakkt App, buy BTC, and use it to purchase their Quiznos meal. They will also get $15 worth of BTC as a reward.

While starting with just a few locations, if the pilot performs well, this new capability can potentially be expanded to additional Quiznos locations across the country as well.

Through this partnership, “we are… bringing bitcoin utility to the mainstream consumer market,” said Sheela Zemlin, Chief Revenue Officer at Bakkt.

The crypto firm launched its consumer app recently, and at the end of March, the Bakkt App was released for iOS and Android. Initially, it supported about 200 different brands, including Best Buy, Starbucks, Fiserv, and others.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Depot Deploys Over 700 Crypto ATMs Across Circle K Stores

Bitcoin ATM operator Bitcoin Depot has inked a long-term partnership deal with the Convenience store chain Circle K. This deal would see Bitcoin Depot deploy Bitcoin ATMs across Circle K’s stores in the US and Canada.

Bitcoin Depot Expanding Crypto ATM Service

The crypto ATM distributor announced its expansion plans via an official press release. So far, over 700 Bitcoin ATMs have been installed at Circle K convenience stores across 30 US states as part of the new partnership.

Generally, Bitcoin Depot has more than 3,500 crypto ATMs in operation across the US and Canada. With these ATMs located across the countries, users can exchange cash for cryptocurrency easily. Users have immediate access to Bitcoin and over 30 other cryptocurrencies.

The partnership with Circle K marks the first time a major retail chain would deploy Bitcoin ATMs within its stores.

CEO of Bitcoin Depot, Brandon Mintz, said the expansion could provide underserved communities with financial access services and attract more people to the crypto space.

“Circle K understands that cryptocurrency will be a growing part of the future economy and payments landscape. By adding Bitcoin ATMs to the company’s stores, Circle K can attract new customers to their stores, offer financial access to underserved communities, and set themselves apart from other retailers with this new technology.”

Bitcoin Depot announced that it was suspending its services across specific locations due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the company has since returned and restored services to all areas while expanding its product suites.

Crypto ATMs On The Rise

The number of crypto ATMs across the globe has grown significantly in recent years from barely 500 ATMs in 2015, according to data site Statista. According to CoinATMRadar, there are almost 24,000 crypto ATMs in 75 countries. However, the US takes the lead with more than 20,000 crypto ATMs in the country.

Bitcoin ATMs are simple to use due to their easy setup. It requires only cash and a phone number to buy Bitcoin.

As the adoption of cryptocurrency rises, more people could end up using Bitcoin ATMs to make their first purchase. Last month Bitcoin Depot reported that the number of global ATMs has increased by 155% over the previous 12 months.

Fellow Crypto ATM operator, Coinme claims to have about 20,000 crypto ATM locations to buy and sell Bitcoin using cash through partnerships with Coinstar and MoneyGram [which could be acquired by the Stellar Foundation]. The MoneyGram partnership was signed in May this year.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Software Provider Temenos Enables Crypto Trading for Banks

Banking software provider Temenos has announced a partnership with online digital asset firm Taurus to enable access to cryptocurrency for financial institutions.

Per its press release, the integration would make it easier for banks to offer cryptocurrency trading to their clients via Taurus’ platform.

Temenos Leveraging Taurus Blockchain Expertise

This will see Temenos’ banking clients exposed to a plethora of blockchain solutions like Taurus-CAPITAL (tokenization and lifecycle management), Taurus-PROTECT (hot, warm, cold digital asset custody), and Taurus-EXPLORER (API-based blockchain connectivity to ten blockchain protocols).

All this will now be accessible through the Temenos MarketPlace.

Temenos notes that Taurus was selected after a thorough review and evaluation process to help banks seamlessly integrate all forms of digital assets across cryptocurrencies, tokenized assets, and digital currencies.

Taurus will be integrated with Temenos’ next-generation core banking software called Temenos Transact.

Speaking on the occasion, Managing Partner at Taurus Sebastien Dessimoz noted that there had been an increase in demand for digital assets since 2020.

According to Dessimoz, Taurus’ blockchain expertise would aid Temenos clients in managing any digital asset and creating digital products easily.

Geneva-based Taurus received a securities license from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) to launch the regulated crypto marketplace dubbed the Taurus Digital Exchange (TDX).

Taurus said that TDX would enable investors and banks to trade tokenized securities, private assets, real estate, art, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and cryptocurrencies.

Taurus is a seasoned blockchain company as it offers services for cryptocurrencies, including staking and decentralized finance (DeFi), tokenized assets, and digital assets, all within its platform.

Taurus Integrates Aave

Taurus has continued to grow its product suite. In March 2021, the Swiss digital asset provider added DeFi protocol Aave to its asset infrastructure. The integration would enable banks and exchanges to deposit and borrow cryptocurrencies like Ether.

Aave, a DeFi protocol catering to both institutional and retail users, facilitates borrowing and lending of digital assets has experienced exponential growth alongside the broader crypto market.

Banks are gradually warming up to decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols like Aave, as the amount of funds locked up in DeFi protocols rises above the $80 billion mark, per DeFi Pulse.

In a research paper published earlier this month by Netherlands-based ING Bank, it was agreed that both centralized and decentralized financial systems need to co-exist to achieve success. The paper states:

“Although DeFi currently appears to be a domain on its own, we envision that centralized and decentralized financial services will converge at some stage as both have unique capabilities that are beneficial to the other. There is, however, the challenge for centralized institutions of making sure that their assets stay within countries that are white-listed.”

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Investment Bank Cowen to Custody Crypto for Institutions, Signs Partnership With PolySign

Investment Bank Cowen to Custody Crypto for Institutions, Signs Partnership With PolySign

Renowned investment bank Cowen Inc is set to make its foray into the cryptocurrency market.

The firm would offer hedge funds and other asset managers crypto custody service through a partnership with fintech company PolySign Inc, per an official announcement.

Cowen Leads PolySign’s Funding Round

Cowen said that its digital asset investment division would provide crypto custody services to institutional clients, helping them seamlessly secure, access, and leverage Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in their portfolios.

As part of the partnership, the bank invested $25 million into PolySign, which is a part of the $53 million funding raised for the firm recently. Other investors include, Race Capital, Sandia Holdings, and PilotRock Investments.

The custody solutions for the digital assets will be provided by Standard Custody & Trust Company, a subsidiary of PolySign. Standard recently received a trust company charter from the New York State Department of Financial Services.

The CEO of Cowen, Jeffrey Solomon, noted that the heightened demand for crypto assets had intensified the importance of custody service, especially since there is a lack of clear regulations for asset managers. Solomon added,

“The demand is clearly here. We’re going to be able to help a lot of our institutional clients get over the hump and start trading digital assets in the not-too-distant future.”

Founded in 1918 and headquartered in New York, Cowen holds almost $12 billion in assets under management. It is a diversified financial services firm that offers investment banking services, equity, and credit research services.

Cowen also offers sales and trading, prime brokerage, global clearing, commission management services, and actively managed alternative investment products.

Surging Crypto Prices Luring Investment Firms To Take A Closer Look At Crypto

The recent surging crypto prices seem to be luring hedge funds and investment managers into entering the market. Due to the high demand for crypto, wall street banks want to help their clients gain access to digital assets.

Prime examples of investment banks with unveiled plans to help their clients get exposure to the crypto markets are Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

However, Goldman and Morgan’s offerings differ from Cowen’s because they only offer indirect access to crypto through futures trading and mutual funds respectively. On the other hand, Cowen plans to actually provide custody for the underlying assets, which no major Wall Street firm has tried before.

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has also been winning in the crypto custody business. As of May 11, the exchange had reported about $30 billion worth of assets under management. Gemini works with the likes of BlockFi, CoinList, and WealthSimple.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Facebook’s Diem Announces Silvergate Partnership, Will Move Operation Back To US

Facebook’s Diem Announces Silvergate Partnership, Will Move Operation Back To US

Diem Association, a group backed by Facebook, has disclosed its intentions to move operations from Switzerland to the United States. The group, which has been trying to secure a payment system license with Swiss bank watchdog, FINMA, said it has abandoned that plan and withdrawn its application. Diem has now set up a U.S unit.

Diem Partners with Silvergate Bank

In an official blog post detailing its relocation plan, Diem also announced a new strategic partnership with Silvergate Bank.

According to the group, moving its operations to the US is an integral part of its plan to issue the Diem USD stablecoin. By bringing the project into the US regulatory perimeter, Diem will run its blockchain-based payment system from the country easily.

The partnership with the crypto-friendly bank Silvergate to launch the US dollar-pegged stablecoin would be run by Diem Networks US.

Silvergate will become the exclusive issuer of the Diem USD stablecoin and manage the Diem USD reserve.

Diem Networks will be registered as a money services business with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). It would also be in charge of the Diem Payments Network (DPN).

The DPN is a permissioned blockchain-based payment system that would facilitate the real-time transfer of Diem stablecoins among approved network participants.

Speaking on the partnership with Silvergate, Stuart Levey, chief executive officer of Diem, expressed optimism about the collaboration and how it would take the blockchain-based payment system to the next level. Levey said,

“We are committed to a payment system that is safe for consumers and businesses, makes payments faster and cheaper, and takes advantage of blockchain technology to bring the benefits of the financial system to more people around the world. We look forward to working with Silvergate to realize this shared vision.”

Alan Lane, chief executive officer of Silvergate, also commented that the bank is excited and inspired by Diem’s technology and commitment to building a regulatory compliant payment system.

The Rebranded Diem Moving Forward

The Diem Association was formerly known as Libra Association when it was first announced in June 2019. It had several backers, including Facebook, VISA, Mastercard, and PayPal. A string of regulatory backlash saw an exodus of members some few months after its announcement.

Global central banks, government officials, and stakeholders were worried that Libra could undermine sovereign currencies like the dollar, enable money laundering and infringe on users’ privacy.

The organization has since rebranded to Diem. Diem has 26 members, including merchants, payment service providers, social impact partners, and other entities.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Ubisoft Enters Strategic Partnership with Nomadic Labs to Become a Tezos (XTZ) Baker

Ubisoft Enters Strategic Partnership with Nomadic Labs to Become a Tezos (XTZ) Baker

French publishing giant Ubisoft enters a strategic partnership with Nomadic Labs, a research firm focused on Tezos, to become a corporate baker on Tezos.

A letter shared on Tuesday confirms Tezos’ research firm, Nomadic Labs, entered a strategic partnership with France-based gaming publisher Ubisoft. The latter, widely known for its exploits in Far Cry and Assassins Creed, will join the Tezos ecosystem as a corporate baker or node validator to help in ‘baking’ (similar to mining) new blocks on the network.

“This announcement proves once again that the Tezos ecosystem is one of the most active in the world.”

“We are delighted to have worked with the Ubisoft Strategic Innovation Lab on their exploration of Tezos.”

Michel Mauny President of Nomadic Labs

Ubisoft joins the 227-corporate bakers on Tezos, allowing the firm to validate transactions (bake blocks) on the Tezos blockchain. As one of the first multi-national firms to show interest in other blockchains other than Bitcoin, Ubisoft aims to bring its expertise and computational power to Tezos blockchain – boosting decentralization.

“Their experience and vision will be an asset in the Tezos community.”

Tezos uses a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism to validate blocks on the blockchain rather than proof-of-work. As part of the ecosystem, Ubisoft will continue using the liquid PoS technology to research how Tezos will make gaming better in the future. Additionally, the giant gaming publisher will explore blockchain technology through its Strategic Innovation Lab to “help Ubisoft get ready for the future by exploring the opportunities offered by innovative technologies,” the statement further reads.

“Ubisoft believes that blockchain has the potential to bring new possibilities to players and developers alike, and this new collaboration will allow us to pursue our innovation efforts with an ecosystem that aligns with our environmental-friendly approach thanks to its proof-of-stake consensus algorithm.”

Nicolas Pouard Blockchain Initiative Director at Ubisoft

Ubisoft is a long-term blockchain proponent, having joined EOS-based platform, Ultra as a block producer to approve transactions made on the sidechain back in 2019.

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Author: Lujan Odera

TIME Will Hold Bitcoin on its Balance Sheet In Partnership with Grayscale Investments

TIME Will Hold Bitcoin on its Balance Sheet In Partnership with Grayscale Investments

TIME Magazine is ready to go all the way with Bitcoin.

The renowned publication will start accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment in partnership with the world’s largest digital asset manager Grayscale Investments.

More interesting is that TIME will take a similar approach as Tesla, and instead of converting the receiving BTC into fiat, they will be HODLing it. TIME will then be holding these BTC on its balance sheet. BTC 5.98% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 63,647.18
Volume 70.07 b Change $3,806.10 Open $63,647.18 Circulating 18.68 m Market Cap 1.19 t
4 h Kraken CEO Jesse Powell: You Can’t Rule Out A Crackdown On Cryptocurrencies 6 h Riot Blockchain Now Holds 1,565 BTC on Balance Sheet After Mining 104 BTC in March 6 h House Republican Leader Urges Govt. to ‘Better Start Understanding’ Bitcoin

“Thrilled Grayscale is partnering w/ TIME on a new video series coming this summer explaining the crypto space. Equally as important, Keith Grossman & TIME has agreed to be paid in Bitcoin and hold the BTC on their balance sheet. A first for our media partnerships!” tweeted Michael Sonnenshein, CEO of Grayscale, which holds over 3% of Bitcoin’s circulating supply in its Bitcoin Trust (GBTC). GBTC 6.01% Grayscale Bitcoin Trust tokenized stock FTX / USD GBTCUSD $ 56.48
Volume 217.77 K Change $3.39 Open $56.48 Circulating 0 Market Cap 0
9 h TIME Will Hold Bitcoin on its Balance Sheet In Partnership with Grayscale Investments 1 d Bitcoin Volatility Continues to Fall to Dec. Low, While Market Makes a Shift to Short-term Hodlers 3 d Institutions Eyeing High Yield Through Bitcoin Futures Trading at a “Very Steep Contango,” JPMorgan Report

Sonnenshein was then retweeted by TIME President Grossman, who has been retweeting a lot of other Bitcoin-related tweets.

TIME is the latest one to have Bitcoin part of its Treasury, which started with publicly listed business intelligence company MicroStrategy in August last year, which was followed by Jack Dorseys’ Square, and then earlier this year, Elon Musk’s Tesla invested $1.5 billion in Bitcoin.

A few weeks ago, the company had also announced that they were looking to hire a CFO “comfortable with bitcoin and crypto” to transform its “98-year old brand for the next 100 years & beyond.”

Now, TIME is holding Bitcoin on its balance sheet just as MicroStrategy announced on Monday that they would be paying their board of directors in BTC instead of cash while New York Stocks Exchange (NYSE) is launching NFTs, and Coinbase much-anticipated IPO on Wednesday has a valuation of a whopping more than $100 billion, aiming to be the largest one in history.

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Author: AnTy

Topps Launching its Flagship Baseball Card Collection in NFTs in Partnership with MLB

Topps Launching its Flagship Baseball Card Collection in NFTs in Partnership with MLB

After seeing the rapid success of NBA TopShots NFTs, it’s no wonder that the MLB wants a piece of the action.

Major League Basketball has joined the NFT scene in partnership with Topps.

MLB isn’t new to crypto; back in 2018, they launched MLB Crypto Baseball in partnership with LucidSight on Ethereum blockchain. They may not have caught up at the time, but given that NFTs gained immense popularity this year, they now have a high chance.

Topps announced the release of its 2021 flagship baseball card collection as NFTs on Monday, for the first time. This is done in collaboration with MLB and MLB Players Inc., the MLB Players Association’s for-profit commercial arm.

To be launched on April 20 at 1 PM ET, the collection to be released includes iconic throwback card templates, anniversary sets, and a limited edition Platinum Anniversary Signature card.

The Topps MLB NFT will go live on the WAX blockchain (Worldwide Asset Exchange), which Topps also used for its Garbage Pail Kids NFTs last month.

“Our MLB blockchain NFT series debut marks a historic moment in the modern evolution of collecting for both traditional and new collectors. We’re excited to bring almost a decade’s worth of digital collectibles innovations to 2021 Topps Series 1 and provide another fun avenue for fans to collect their favorite heroes and moments with secure digital ownership on the blockchain.”

Tobin Lent VP & General Manager of Topps Digital Sports & Entertainment

Last week, the 83-year old company also announced that it is soon going public through SPAC with a valuation of $1.3 billion.

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Author: AnTy

IOTA and Dell Technology Launch a Platform to Measures the ‘Trustworthiness of Data’

IOTA and Dell Technology Launch a Platform to Measures the ‘Trustworthiness of Data’

The partnership started back in 2019 when Dell Technologies launched its ‘Data Confidence Fabric.’ This demonstration paves the way for integrating systems on hardware and software devices for highly compliant institutions.

On Thursday, IOTA Foundation, a blockchain-based technology firm, announced its partnership with Dell Technologies to launch the world’s first demonstration, Alvarium, which measures data’s trustworthiness. Alvarium aims at improving the data sent out to apps and servers by providing a “measurable way of evaluating the confidence in the data.”

Dell Technologies started developing the project back in 2019 after the launch of the first Data Confidence Fabric. The project was subsequently passed on to the IOTA Foundation team, who added scalability, security, and blockchain properties to birthing Alvarium.

Alvarium maps data as it passes through every point, whether an IoT device, router, server, or cloud, and rates each point. The trust score ratings are built using “industry-specific requirements.” Once the trust ratings are made, the scores are broadcasted on the IOTA Tangle, ensuring transparency and permanence. Steve Todd, Fellow at Dell Technologies said,

“Data confidence is needed to manage data at scale, creating systems of trust in this data, so users at all levels understand the terms of use”

“Project Alvarium will create this transparency, and the more companies that integrate it into their processes and systems, the closer we’ll come to a future without data ambiguity.”

Blockchain smart contracts require external data to function properly hence the recent growth of decentralized oracles such as Chainlink. Alvarium aims to compete with these decentralized oracles in the future by offering institutions and industries a reliable oracle and a confidence score.

The statement confirms the demonstration will be held through a webinar on February 24th starting at 11.00 AM EST.

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Author: Lujan Odera