ConsenSys Quorum, an Ethereum-backed Ledger Protocol, Teams Up With China’s BSN

Situated in New York, and renowned as Ethereum’s globally-known ledger protocol, ConsenSys has announced that it will be partnering with the China-based Blockchain Service Network (BSN), bringing the enterprise ledger, Quorum, to China.

What sets this partnership apart from others is down to i. As part of this partnership, Quorum will be made available across 80 different cities within China; all of which operate as public city nodes of BSN’s network. Quorum was previously developed as an open-source protocol layer for enterprise applications. Quorum was also used early on by the investment giant JP Morgan.

Charles d’Haussy, ConsenSys’ Director of Strategic Initiatives, cited China’s rapid growth in importance as a hub for strategic innovation and enterprise blockchain technology:

“China is a great example of where enterprise blockchain is a strong play… What Ethereum is doing with ConsenSys Quorum is connecting people who are essentially migrating from the permissioned chain to the global chain.”

For Quorum, the announcement represents an interesting change in fortunes. From being designed as a high-security, privacy-centric blockchain solution by JP Morgan, it fell into relative obscurity for some time, before being re-housed by ConsenSys. Even now, Quorum is a name that is synonymous with the bank and investment entity, even in d’Haussy’s mind.

“Quorum was very much associated with JPMorgan, but there was also this open-source software which was available to many developers. It may not have been apparent, but there was this large audience of enterprise users, and we are now bringing to this ecosystem other products and applications from ConsenSys.”

In contrast, Blockchain Service Network (BSN) was a relatively new initiative; having been established by Red Date Technology, a blockchain-based software company, along with China’s UnionPay, China Mobile, back in April 2020. Comprised of UnionPay and China mobile, BSN consists of a number of cloud environments and portals within China. What makes BSN such a valuable initiative comes from its connections to the Chinese government; being backed through the National Development and Reform Commission.

Simply put, BSN has been rapidly positioned as a major blockchain initiative within the country’s ‘Digital Silk Road,’ with BSN has deployed over 108 public city nodes in China. Over 88 cities and public cities are connected to this ecosystem as nodes across the world.

For BSN, this partnership would enable it to “substantially accelerate” its rollout to more cities worldwide, according to Red Date Technology CEO and Executive Director of the BSN Development Association,

“After the launch, BSN will include Quorum in BSN’s training programs in 2021 to substantially accelerate the enterprise adoption of blockchain technology and Ethereum-based solutions in China.”

In order to ensure global application, Red Date’s CEO added that the partnership would include longer-standing interoperability between the two blockchain protocols. Permissioned blockchain solutions, d’Haussy explained, represented the best start to any technical journey including large firms, but that it would very much be a long-term undertaking.

But d’Haussy continued on to say that small and larger-scale suppliers lack the connection they once did, and are more receptive to blockchain technology as a means of re-establishing that same connection.

“China’s industries, which are a global network of large and small suppliers, are not integrated as they were in the past… They are jumping on coordination tools such as blockchain.”

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Author: James Fox

Bitfinex Launches Perpetual Contracts Settled In Tether (USDt) for Europe 50 and Germany 30

  • The renowned crypto exchange, Bitfinex, is expanding its product line beyond crypto assets and is rolling out an equity index derivatives which will settle in the controversial stablecoin Tether (USDt).

According to a press release shared with Bitcoin Exchange Guide, the perpetual contracts will be on Europe 50 and Germany 30 and are set to go live on Monday. The firm also clarified that the new offering would provide its clients with exposure to conventional stock markets.

Europe 50 represents the STOXX Europe Index that covers about 50 stocks based in 18 countries in Europe. On the other hand, Germany 30 is a representative of the Deutscher Aktien Index (DAX), which covers Germany’s 30 most significant stocks listed in the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

According to the press release, every contract will provide up to 100x leverage, and USDt will be used for settling.

An equity derivative can be equated to a traditional futures contract; however, it comes with no expiry and operates like a margin-based spot market. Bitfinex Derivatives CTO, Paolo Ardoino explained:

“This is the first time that an exchange from the digital asset space has launched a product that bridges the gap with traditional stock markets, representing a significant milestone in the evolution of crypto as an established asset class.”

Ardoino also explained that Bitfinex was motivated to move to the traditional markets by CME moving to Bitcoin futures. Ardoino says that the new product will help in improving cross-asset trading initiatives in the crypto space.

Ardoino also explained that since the new offering will settle in USDt and will help in the reduction of forex as well as interest rate risks. This will also aid in ensuring that the trading is seamless as well as efficient, said Ardoino.

The new product will be available in the selected countries and only for verified users. This means that traders wishing to trade the new product will need to go through the various due diligence aspects to verify their source of funds, identity, and banking history.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Crypto Lender, Genesis, New Loans Issuance Hits $2B In Q1 For Its Largest Quarter Ever

Renowned crypto lender Genesis Global Capital has revealed a healthy finish of the first quarter of this year.

In its latest quarterly lending report shared with Bitcoin Exchange Guide, the company revealed that it issued approximately $2 billion in new loans in the just concluded first quarter of this year. This was double the amount issued in Q4 2019 which was $1 billion.

According to the report, throughout Q1, the firm was able to enhance its active amount of active trading loans by about 19% rising to $649 million. However the firm suffered some considerable volatility. At the start of the year, the firm opened its loan book at $545 million which almost doubled to about $1 billion by February.

The firm was plunged into uncertainties in early March after the effects of Coronavirus started to spread to the world affecting the equities and the bond markets.

The crypto market experienced chaos in March as Bitcoin prices nosedived by more than 50% in 24 hours on March 12, commonly known as ‘black Thursday’. This was the worst Bitcoin plummeting in a single day for 7 years. Genesis was able to deal with the market shock by originating “a significant portion of the entire quarter’s loans during the month of March and never once paused lending activity.”

Following the events of ‘black Thursday’ the firm’s lending desk didn’t register any default from its more than 45 clients following the market sell-off. However, lending was temporarily halted to borrowers since it was hard to determine the right interest rate due to volatility.

According to Genesis CEO, Michael Moro the pausing of the lending activities was necessary to avoid the collapse of the firm. He explained:

“I just didn’t want that risk on the Genesis balance sheet. After we felt like markets had calmed down, we reopened the dialogue and restarted the origination machine.”

Moro explained that although volatility is a normal aspect in the crypto market, this was just so much in a single day.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Crypto Lender Nexo Now Allows Retail Investors To Use PAX Gold (PAXG) As Collateral

Renowned crypto lending firm Nexo has opened up the possibility of retail investors to use PAX Gold (PAXG) as a collateral option against loans. The firm had previously launched a pilot scheme on the same but the services were only available to institutional investors only. The pilot saw a high demand for the gold-backed credit lines and the firm has decided to extend the service to retail investors.

The announcement signifies that collateralized borrowing backed by high-grade gold can be extended to everyone and not only the rich.

PAX Gold token was introduced in September last year and is entirely backed by as well as redeemable for actual gold which is currently kept in Brink’s vaults. Every token is backed by ‘fine troy ounce of London Good Delivery Gold’ that allows the user to own gold which is a safe-haven asset. Tokenization adds to the convenience of the safe-haven asset.

During the pilot phase, there was a high demand for its gold-backed credit among the institutional customers such that the firm had to invest an extra $5 million in PAXG to satisfy the investors demand.

The expanded scheme that will rope in the retail customers will enable everyone to take advantage of gold-backed PAXG assets using it as collateral within the Nexo platform.

According to Nexo co-founder, gold backed PAXG is highly relevant more so during high volatility times like currently and majority of retail clients have been seeking for such a service. He explained:

“Especially in high-volatility times, as in the present, gold is sought after by many of our retail clients and we have worked towards reflecting their wishes.”

The crypto loans sector has been growing rapidly in the recent past as the majority of crypto owners or holders are looking to use their assets as collateral as opposed to liquidating them.

Nexo enjoys the backing of Michael Arrington, TechCrunch founder, and was able to raise $52.5 million during a private token sale back in 2018.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Rapper TI Cleared Of Securities Fraud, Kevin Hart Awaits Judgement For 2017 FLiK ICO

Renowned US rapper Clifford Harris Jr., more commonly known as T.I, has been let off the hook from securities fraud for allegedly promoting the FLiK ICO.

However, his co-accused, the businessman – Ryan Felton – together with popular comedian and actor Kevin Hart, were not so lucky.

Law360 also reports that a US Court sitting in Northern Georgia threw out state securities fraud as well as other claims filed against T.I.

Aggrieved FLiK ICO participants had filed a case against the rapper in November 2018, accusing him of hyping a scandalous pump and dump ICO exercise.

The aggrieved investors stated that they had lost about $2 million during the scheme, and T.I and others mentioned in the case were used to promote the scam. Panell Jr., a US District Judge handling the case, agreed with T.I’s legal counsel and cleared him of the allegations.

The judge stated that the aggrieved parties only alleged that T.I, through his twitter handle, urged his followers to have a look at the FLiK ICO website. The judge continued to state that the plaintiff failed to offer further details on the alleged value of the FLiK tokens and, as a result, the facts provided do not amount to the level of particularity needed for such a case.

The Judge also threw out the claims by the plaintiff that T.I being part of the FLiK ICO marketing activities were contrary to Georgia’s Uniform Securities Act.

The judge explained that all those who participated in the FLiK ICO exercise had no known ties with Georgia state. The judge also said that the prosecutors failed to show how T.I’s twitter activities influenced the investors’ decisions to invest in the scheme.

T.I is just one of the celebrities who have been fighting cases for their activities in drumming up token sales during the 2017 ICO-mania. Recently, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fined Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled about $800,000 for their activities in advocating the CentraTech ICO scam.

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Author: Cody L

MakerDAO Partners With Payment Processor Simplex To Create A Fiat On-Ramp For Dai

In a press statement released on March 3, renowned DeFi player MakerDAO stated that it has inked a deal with Simplex, renowned payment processor, to develop a fiat-on-ramp for its decentralized stablecoin, Dai, Cointelegraph reports.

The new deal means that it is now possible to purchase Dai using both debit and credit cards from Simplex’s partner companies. Gustav Arentoft the business development head in Europe for Maker explained that the partnership will be beneficial to users now and in the future. He said:

“Having Dai integrated into Simplex is a benefit to current and future users, […] it gives them a straightforward fiat on- and off-ramp with access to the industry’s biggest players.”

A renowned firm within the DeFi sector, MakerDAO, is firm behind the decentralized stablecoin Dai that operates on the Ethereum network for smart contracts. By publication time, DeFi Pulse, DeFi data website, indicated that the decentralized finance applications have a total of $967.4 million locked in them where $550 million, approximately 56%, is locked within MakerDAO’s protocol.

Simplex holds the coveted European Union license for financial institution and boasts of more than 100 partners which support about 13 divergent cryptos as well as 19 various fiat currencies. At the moment, Simplex supports Bitcoin, Binance USD, Nano, Binance Coin, Dash, Tron, Litecoin, Ether, XRP, Cosmos, and Bitcoin Cash.

Simplex has also partnered with different crypto exchange platforms such as OKEx, Binance, OKCoin and KuCoin to enable card payments.

A spokesperson from Simplex stated that MakerDAO started the contract negotiations and many such contracts are lined up from different crypto-asset teams that are keen on creating on-ramp distribution channels. The spokesperson also explained that the partnership will have a positive effect on demand as well as the price as has been the case with other cryptos that the network has been added to.

DeFi solutions have been on the rise in the recent past and DeFi Pulse indicates that the assets locked in these apps has risen by more than 186% in comparison to an year ago.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Bitcoin Revolution Trader At It Again, Targets Professional Cycling Legend Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan, a renowned cycling legend, has been the latest victim of the Bitcoin Revolution scam which uses the identity of worldwide stars to dupe naive crypto investors. The scammers also use fake news articles as well as adverts.

Sagan used his Twitter account to state that he is not party to an article that was published by the scammers saying that he was an associate of Bitcoin Revolution. The article claims that Sagan had an interview on a certain Slovakian TV program and explained how Bitcoin Revolution platform is capable of making one a millionaire in a short span of 3 to 4 months.

The scammers claim that Sagan explained to the audience how they could become instant millionaires using Bitcoin Revolution. However, several minutes after the completion of the interview, Slovak National Bank officials called the TV station for the interview not to be broadcasted, but it had already been aired. The scammers stated that Sagan asked Slovakia citizens to get involved and seize the rare opportunity before it gets scrapped by the banks.

To give the article credibility, the fraudsters had posted photos of Richard Branson and Bill Gates saying that they had discussed the Bitcoin Revolution during CES 219. In addition, the site also has testimonials of different people praising Bitcoin Revolution for the opportunity given to become millionaires.

This is not the first time that Bitcoin Revolution is giving the crypto industry a negative publicity by painting it as an industry full of cons. Previously, the cons have used such big names like Richard Branson, Jeremy Clarkson as well as Alex Ferguson.

According to U.Today, Such types of scams have been on the rise and cryptocurrency anti-crusaders such as Nouriel Roubini as well as Steve Hanke, both Nobel-winning economists, have cited such scams to drive their points home against cryptocurrencies.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

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.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Ex OKEx COO To Launch Crypto Derivative Exchange ACDX By Mid-Year, Seeking $40M Raise

Andy Cheung who served as the chief operations officer (COO) at renowned crypto exchange firm OKEx, is aiming at raising $40 million to roll on his own crypto derivatives exchange, CoinDesk reports.

The outlet reports that Cheung is planning to raise the funds through selling tokens as well as equity investment mostly in the crypto funds. The proprietor is also targeting family offices in Asia and Europe and private equity companies to raise the required amount.

Cheung left his top position at one of the largest crypto exchange platforms in the world in December. He started his own consultancy firm dealing with matters blockchain in Hong Kong.

After careful study of the crypto market, Cheung noticed that demand for crypto-base derivatives is increasing rapidly and has now decided to start his own platform. He said that the new platform will be started before the end of the current quarter.

Cheung’s platform will target both retail and institutional clients. He stated that he wants to come up with a platform which allows retail clients to access its services. This will help in opening up the derivatives market which is largely a preserve of the institutional investors. The new crypto derivatives exchange is also set to serve high-end institutions as well as allow wealth managers to better manage their investments. He stated:

“One of our main goals for the exchange is to provide retail investors with … structured products that are more commonly used by accredited crypto investors and wealth managers,”

The exchange platform plans to roll out different investment instruments that comprise of futures, fixed coupon notes, options, warrant contracts as well as callable bear/bull contracts.

The new crypto derivatives platform aims at serving the Asian markets as the demand for services is rising at a higher rate.

Cheung also stated that the new platform has already acquired a backing of more than $4 million mostly from the co-founders. Currently, the startup is in talks with various potential investors and more investment is expected soon. At the moment the firm has about 25 employees who are busy developing the products.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

TikTok Owner ByteDance and a Chinese State Owned Media Partners on Blockchain and AI

The proprietor of renowned video sharing social media platform TikTok has inked a deal for a joint venture with a Chinese state owned media company to develop artificial intelligence as well as blockchain-based business models, Bloomberg reports. The deal will be led by TikTok’s parent company ByteDance.

ByteDance is establishing a joint venture with Dongfang Newspaper. The new joint venture will be based in the capital of Shandong province in China known as Jinan and was launched on Dec. 10. The venture was started with an initial capital of $1.43 million or 10 m Yuan. as per the agreement, ByteDance will be the minority shareholder owning 49% of the new venture while Dongfang will have a 51% stake.

Currently, TikTok has about 500 million users who are active and is ranked second among the most downloaded apps within the Apple Store but only in the US. Cointelegraph alleges that the app is likely to be funneled to the fresh joint venture as its video feed is entirely managed using an AI algorithm that predicts the user preferences and offer content that will fit the user.

Although it is not yet known how TikTok and ByteDance will initially benefit from this agreement, one probable way can be verification of digital media data. It is expected that a currency model could be introduced for the users. There are suggestions that verification of digital media data could be introduced due to the emergence of deepfakes AI-produced videos.

ByteDance has entrenched itself as one of the rapidly growing startups in China and has been in the forefront in the creation of a number of partnerships mostly with state owned media groups in efforts to get content for its recently launched news aggregator platform known as Jinri Toutiao.

ByteDance’s TikTok app has become one of the most sought after apps in the US, especially with the youths and has received endorsements from celebs like Katy Perry as well as Ariana Grande. However, the recent relations with Chinese state owned firms has raised eyebrows in the recent past with the US security agencies cautioning its users to be extra vigilant with the personal data they share within the app.

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Author: Joseph Kibe