MoneyGram Partners With Circle And Stellar to Launch Cash In And Cash Out Links to USDC

MoneyGram Partners With Circle And Stellar to Launch Cash In And Cash Out Links to USDC

Cross-border payments giant MoneyGram is now working with the Stellar network for instant money transfers using the USDC stablecoin.

The companies announced on Monday that they would start the pilot in the fourth quarter of this year, and a gradual rollout of enabling USDC fiat on and off-ramp across MoneyGram’s retail platform will happen early next year.

This ledger-based stablecoin bridge between crypto and local currencies aims to connect MoneyGram’s over 150 million global customers.

“Working with MoneyGram allows end consumers to have on- and off-ramps everywhere that MoneyGram’s vast agent network supports this. So this is just transformational in terms of being able to exchange crypto for fiat and fiat for crypto,” said Denelle Dixon, CEO and executive director of the Stellar Development Foundation.

“We’re trying to go as big as we can.”

United Texas Bank will be serving as a settlement bank between MoneyGram and Circle.

According to Circle, this “marks a breakthrough moment for the use of digital currencies in cross-border payments.” Peer-to-peer remittances cumulatively amounted to more than $700 billion a year in pre-pandemic times.

MoneyGram is not new to crypto as previously it partnered with Ripple to leverage the company’s on-demand liquidity (ODL) to facilitate FX trading. But the partnership came to an end after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against Ripple and its top two executives in December last year for conducting an unregistered security offering.

According to Alex Holmes, MoneyGram’s chairman and CEO, their partnership with Stellar is different from their relationship with Ripple and also larger in scope because it directly touches on consumer payments.

This week also came the report that Circle has received an investigative subpoena from the SEC, but MoneyGram CEO isn’t concerned as he said in an interview, “I’m quite used to regulation.”

“Unfortunately, a lot of regulation ends up being a look back. I think the blockchain world and digital asset world [have] really accelerated and now I see a lot of regulators looking to catch up.”

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Author: AnTy

Stellar Dev Foundation Invests $15M in AirTM to Improve Latin American Cross-Border Transfers

Stellar Dev Foundation Invests $15M in AirTM to Improve Latin American Cross-Border Transfers

  • The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) is deepening its roots in Latin America with a $15 million funding round to Mexico City’s AirTM, a digital wallet, and peer-to-peer crypto exchange.

In an announcement on Tuesday, SDF’s venture arm, Stellar Enterprise Fund, announced the multi-million funding round aims to boost the development of AirTM’s platform. Additionally, SDF will integrate Stellar blockchain to the platform in the coming year to make the transactions cheaper, a statement from the team reads.

Since the launch of the Enterprise Fund, this constitutes the largest ever investment from SDF. Previous investments by SDF include a $3 million funding round in Settle Network, an Argentine payments channel, and U.S.-based credits firm Tribal Credit, which also received $3 million at the end of April. These investments target the growth of digital payments and cross-border transfers across Latin American countries.

In a similar fashion, the $15 million investment will allow AirTM to enhance its financial services in Latin America while widening its market base. With the integration of Stellar, payments and cross-border transfers are expected to become cheaper and faster, which improves the financial access to Latin American people who have suffered under “fragmented financial systems” for long, SDF Executive Director Denelle Dixon said in the statement.

Adding to Dixon’s statement, AirTM CEO Ruben Galindo Steckel stated the investment would also allow businesses to flourish in Latin America – making them more compatible and open to the global economy. The investment further boosts the goal of the SDF to help “consumers and businesses throughout the developing world access stable money that holds its value” which “is instant to transfer with no fees, and can be withdrawn as local currency whenever, and wherever it’s needed” he continued.

Over the past six months, SDF also invested $5 million in blockchain payment firm, Wyre, to help introduce various payment application programming interfaces, commonly known as APIs, which can integrate with different apps within the Stellar ecosystem. In December, SDF invested $3 million (paid in Stellar Lumens, or XLM) to Settle to focus on fiat-to-crypto on-ramps and boost transactions across the LATAM region.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Coinbase Is Still Reporting Stellar (XLM) Having ‘Degraded Performance’

Coinbase Is Still Reporting Stellar (XLM) Having ‘Degraded Performance’

The issue has been several validator nodes on the Stellar blockchain not validating transactions which SDF says is now online while they investigate the root cause for the same.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase reported delays in Stellar (XLM) deposits and withdrawals earlier this week, which continues today. The network status Stellar reads

“Degraded Performance.”

As of April 8, 02:22 PDT, the exchange said, “We’ve been working with the Stellar team to fix the delays of deposits and withdrawals.”

Coinbase is reportedly also planning to roll out a crypto rewards debit card in the U.S. that will pay back 4% in Stellar lumens (XLM), as per The WSJ.

However, it wasn’t just Coinbase that was having issues; many other exchanges like Binance, Bitstamp, and Bitfinex have been dealing with XLM withdrawal issues as well.

The issue turned out to be several validators on the Stellar blockchain were disconnected from the network, causing the transaction issues.

Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) released an official report on the matter, saying, “both the SDF nodes and the public-access Horizon are now back online.”

According to Stellarbeat, which keeps track of the network’s node count, a few nodes are still down.

XLM deposits and withdrawals were paused on centralized crypto exchanges “out of an abundance of caution,” and now SDF is in communication with them, reads the announcement.

Reporting on the incident, SDF said it was early Tuesday morning that the validator nodes temporarily stopped validating transactions. While the SDF node was experiencing downtime, for reportedly at least 10 hours, the network itself remained online, which it said: “is just the way a decentralized network is intended to work.”

Due to sufficient validator redundancy, the network continued to function as normal despite the temporary unavailability of SDF’s infrastructure.

As for what caused this, the team is still investigating what the root problem was and, so far, has narrowed the trigger down to a single ledger and single operation in that ledger.

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Author: AnTy

FinClusive Partners With Stellar (XLM) to Enhance Stablecoin Payments Across Institutions

FinClusive Partners With Stellar (XLM) to Enhance Stablecoin Payments Across Institutions

New York-headquartered compliance firm, FinClusive announced a strategic partnership with Stellar USDC on Thursday in a bid to “enable businesses to access and leverage stablecoins instantly while staying compliant.” According to the report, the new alliance will enhance crypto-focused payment innovations while creating confidence among market participants due to compliance checks.

Integrating Stellar USDC gives users (corporations, institutions, banks) a fast, low fee, and convenient channel to complete financial transfers across borders.

FinClusive integrates compliance-as-a-solution (CaaS) to enable financial firms to enhance their financial inclusion products across the globe. The partnership with Stellar to incorporate the second largest stablecoin, USDC, will allow corporations to conveniently and instantly make cross-border payments while staying compliant and minimizing the transaction fees.

“Thanks to USDC, businesses using FinClusive can worry less about enduring prolonged settlement times or fluctuations in the value of their transactions.”

FinClusive selected Stellar USDC over Ethereum’s USDC as the former provides a cheaper platform to transact. Providing low fees and convenience will see the strategic partnership enhance stability and security, accelerating financial inclusion across businesses further.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Circle’s USDC Stablecoin is Now Running on Stellar’s Blockchain

Circle’s USDC Stablecoin is Now Running on Stellar’s Blockchain

USDC is now available on the Stellar blockchain. Circle has been using its stablecoin to expand payment processing features across the board.

Circle’s dollar-pegged stablecoin USDC marks another milestone as it moves to the Stellar blockchain

Circle Financial and the Stellar Development Foundation announced that they had partnered on the initiative, bringing the world’s leading dollar-pegged stablecoin in contact with the fast-rising blockchain platform.

A Stellar USDC Welcome

According to a joint press release, the integration will see the Stellar USDC available across all Stellar-based decentralized exchanges. The asset will also become tradable across the entire Stellar ecosystem, with trading pairs available for over 9,000 assets.

“The integration brings immediate value to the Stellar ecosystem, connecting and creating new business opportunities for existing Stellar-based businesses, USDC’s network of existing partners, and future FinTechs looking to optimize payments, especially cross-border transactions.”

The companies added that developers and businesses looking to integrate Stellar USDC could do so via a single transaction on the Circle Account or any of its additional API services.

Several companies in the Stellar ecosystem including JST, FinClusive, and Stably have signed up to offer Stellar-native integrations and support liquidity for Stellar USDC. Several other finance-focused firms in the ecosystem plan to integrate the asset into their payment networks.

Using USDC to Bolster Payments and Transactions

USDC’s new launch on the Stellar blockchain adds to the impressive few months that the asset and its developers have had so far.

Last December, it scored a significant win after top payment processor and credit card manufacturer VISA announced a partnership with Circle to provide easier USDC transactions on certain credit cards, BitcoinExchangeGuide reports.

Cuy Sheffield, VISA’s Head of Crypto, explained that the move would usher in the first corporate card to allow businesses to spend their USDC balances. The collaboration also sees both partners promising USDC transactions between VISA-friendly, cross-border companies down the road.

Sheffield said that VISA is looking to become a “network of networks,” with partners focusing on improving payments in one way or the other coming together on its platform. By enabling its clients to speed up transactions, the firm is hoping to capitalize on its partners’ strengths on all fronts.

Circle Financial also rolled out USDC-USD transfers. Per an official announcement, the firm developed a new API to offer more seamless USDC-USD transfers via automated clearinghouse (ACH) systems.

Derivatives and futures company FTX becomes the first to adopt the new API, as the company hopes to speed up USD settlement processes for its customers.

The ACH API improves connections between fiat and digital markers, introducing greater interoperability among payment rails like wire, card, and blockchain transfers. With the API, customers can transfer USD funds between banks and blockchains, taking traditionally manual processes and automating them.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Privacy-Focused Messenger, Signal, is Testing Crypto Payments Using A Stellar-based Project

Privacy-Focused Messenger, Signal, is Testing Crypto Payments Using A Stellar-based Project

As Whatsapp users exit the platform and move en masse into other apps, Signal is hoping to engage and keep them with new features, including cryptocurrency payments.

One of the many exciting aspects of the technology industry has been watching it adapt due to changing global trends in the past year.

The world was plunged into uncertainty when the coronavirus hit, and everyone had to stay home. However, Zoom, Amazon, and Netflix – among others – stepped in and kept users sane. Signal faces a similar meteoric rise to fame.

No Clarity on MobileCoin Integration Yet

Signal is a privacy-focused mobile messaging app that has seen substantial growth in users over the past few weeks. Hoping to keep the buzz going, the service has begun working on adding new features for convenience.

Keeping in line with its privacy focus, Signal now appears to be working towards crypto payments. Casey Newton, the founder of the technology newsletter service Platformer, reported that Signal was considering implementing crypto payment services into its messaging platform.

According to the report, Signal has been running pilot tests for a token on MobileCoin, a Stellar-based, privacy-focused cryptocurrency platform with backing from Binance. The report pointed out that Moxie Marlinspike, Signa’s chief executive, is an adviser to MobileCoin, hypothesizing that the two services are looking towards a possible MobileCoin deployment into Signal.

Marlinspike had downplayed any integration speculations, explaining that the tests were “design explorations.” However, Signal employees have reportedly confirmed that the company is actively looking into integrating MobileCoin into its platform.

Signal in the Spotlight

Signal’s growth was fueled by a new privacy policy update from Whatsapp is on a trajectory that several platforms have been on in the past. On January 6, WhatsApp users worldwide saw a pop-up from the service notifying them of changes to its privacy policy. While the changes were said to enable businesses to send and store messages, users would have to agree by February 8 or be deactivated by the app.

The privacy update caused a stir online, with many immediately suggesting alternatives. Several prominent tech names, including Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey, immediately touted Signal as a top substitute, and the app immediately saw a surge in users.

Quoting data from Sensor Tower, TechCrunch reported that the app got 7.5 million downloads between January 6 and January 10. It is worth noting that the company has been around for six years, during which time it reached 20 million downloads.

Signal isn’t the only app that benefited from the WhatsApp backlash. A tweet from Newton showed that Telegram, the latter’s top competitor, claimed to have added 90 million active users in January alone. However, Signal’s privacy focus has gotten a lot of attention.

Now that the app is on a tear, it will want to watch out. The Platformer report has noted that some employees are sounding warnings about changes in its corporate structure and some new features that the platform is adding. During its boom last year, Zoom faced issues with privacy and harassment issues. Now that Signal is hoping to keep its new users, all eyes will be on it to see how it performs.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Blockchain Payment Firm, Wyre, Gets A $5M Investment From Stellar Development Foundation

Blockchain Payment Firm, Wyre, Gets A $5M Investment From Stellar Development Foundation

In a press statement shared with BitcoinExchangeGuide, the foundation stated that it is investing $5 million worth of Enterprise Funds that will help introduce various payment application programming interfaces, commonly known as APIs, which can integrate with different apps within the Stellar ecosystem.

The foundation also explained that on/off ramps for Stellar USDC will also be rolled on for the existing fiat pairs consisting of USD, GBP, CAD, AUS, and EUR.

Founded in 2013, Wyre has executed transfers of more than $5 billion and provides advanced services to both businesses and individuals such as crypto to fiat ramps, crypto wallet infrastructure, savings account, and foreign exchange others.

The foundation stated that the addition of Wyre to the Stellar network would help create crucial payment infrastructure and allow for relationships that will connect to the international financial system.

“Growing the network of Stellar anchors— stablecoin issuers and on/off ramps — is fundamental to how Stellar connects global financial systems with blockchain technology. Bringing Wyre’s industry-leading payment APIs to the Stellar ecosystem will empower businesses, especially anchors, to expand existing payment corridors and develop new ones.”

Denelle Dixon Stellar Development Foundation CEO

Dixon is also set to become a member of Wyre’s board of directors to represent Stellar Foundation.

With Stellar USDC set to go live in Q1, Wyre will help in different ways. Wyre is set to offer a compliant and safe way for apps within the Stellar ecosystem to use the dollar-pegged stablecoin without the developers’ need to create additional tools, the statement elaborated.

Stellar’s Enterprise Fund was launched last year, and Wyre’s investment is the first one for this year. Cumulatively the fund has pumped more than $14 million in different companies and projects so far, including Abra, Settle Network, SatoshiPay, and DSTOQ.

Stellar Foundation’s chief operating officer, Jason Chilpala, explained that the Enterprise Fund was started to offer support to businesses with goals in tandem with Stellar’s, such as enabling cheap and reliable cross-border payments.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Ukraine’s CBDC, the Digital Hryvina, Will Run on Stellar’s Blockchain

Ukraine’s CBDC, the Digital Hryvina, Will Run on Stellar’s Blockchain

Besides working on a central bank digital currency, Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) will also help with the development of digital assets and regulation of stablecoins in the country.

The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine signed a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation with Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) on Dec. 28.

SDF announced on Monday, this week, that as per the memorandum they will work on the development of virtual assets in Ukraine.

In response, XLM recorded gains, going to nearly $0.17 XLM 20.28% Stellar / USD XLMUSD $ 0.19
$0.04 20.28%
Volume 2.57 b Change $0.04 Open $0.19 Circulating 21.95 b Market Cap 4.28 b
2 h Ukraine’s CBDC, the Digital Hryvina, Will Run on Stellar’s Blockchain 2 w Stellar Invests $3 Million in Digital Assets Settlement Network Across LATAM 3 w XLM Records Impressive Volume; Co-founder says Team Is Making Stellar ‘Useful for Real People’

The latest efforts align with the country working on creating a legal environment for the development of digital assets in Ukraine and enhancing its status as an innovative digital country in the financial market in Eastern Europe.

“Another important aspect of this cooperation is contributing to the development of the infrastructure for a Ukrainian national digital currency,” said Oleksandr Bornyakov, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation for IT Development.

The National Bank of Ukraine has been researching the possibility of CBDC implementation since 2017, Bornyakov said.

As per the memorandum, both will cooperate on the development of the virtual assets market in Ukraine, supporting projects related to virtual assets; implementation and regulation of stablecoin circulation in the country; and development of the digital currency of the Central Bank (CBDC) in Ukraine.

“We look forward to working with the Ministry and other stakeholders to digitize the hryvnia, to bring Stellar-based tools and services to the people and businesses of Ukraine, and to introduce new partnership opportunities in Ukraine to businesses in the Stellar ecosystem.”

Denelle Dixon CEO: Stellar Development Foundation

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Author: AnTy

Stellar Invests $3 Million in Digital Assets Settlement Network Across LATAM

Stellar Development Foundation is investing up to $3 million, paid in Lumens (XLM), in digital assets settlement network across LATAM, Settle Network.

This investment will help boost the payment tools of Settle Network that are focused around stablecoins, including fiat-to-crypto onramps, stablecoin issuance, and payment processing.

As we reported, the team of Stellar is currently working on making XLM useful globally. Denelle Dixon, the CEO and Executive Director of SDF, said,

“Settle Network is delivering on the vision and mission of Stellar, putting blockchain technology and access to finance into the hands of people that need it.”

Founded in 2018, Settle Network is a Stellar-based platform that provides digital asset settlement across LATAM and users of Argentine Peso and Brazilian Reais stablecoins.

Stablecoins have been one of the main themes in 2020, with their supply exploding. Stellar is now ready to take the help of stablecoins for “international remittances and cross-border payments.”

Besides Settle Network, SDFs Enterprise Fund has also invested in Abra, SatoshiPay, and DSTOQ. Jason Chlipala, Chief Operating Office of SDF, said,

“We created the Enterprise Fund to support inspiring businesses like Settle Network that demonstrate the value of Stellar, bring value to the Stellar ecosystem, and represent our mission.”

“We are proud of the impact this fund has made in its first year and look forward to furthering its reach in 2021.”

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Author: AnTy

XLM Records Impressive Volume; Co-founder says Team Is Making Stellar ‘Useful for Real People’

Much like the rest of the cryptocurrency market, Stellar has also been enjoying the gains this past month.

With nearly 113% gains in the last 30-days, XLM is currently trading at $0.175, which brings its year-to-date performance to over 289%.

In the last 60 days, Stellar’s trading volume has surged by a whopping 517% on the back of numerous fundamental developments, noted eToro.

Recently, Germany’s Bankhaus von der Heydt (BVDH) launched a Euro stablecoin on the Stellar network. The EURB stablecoin is a fully regulated one but won’t be openly traded on exchanges due to strict KYC requirements.

BVDH managing director Philipp Doppelhammer said EURB’s first use case will be for “cross-border money transfers” for blockchain payments company SatoshiPay’s customers.

This came after earlier this week, German private bank Hauck & Aufhäuser announced its first crypto fund, the HAIC Digital Asset Fund I that will include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Stellar (XLM). This fund will be launching on Jan. 1, 2021.

The Dollar Savings Project

Stellar co-founder Jed McCaleb, who was also behind the Mt. Gox exchange, recently appeared on The Pomp Podcast where he talked about the idea behind the 13th largest cryptocurrency which is to

“make this interoperable layer where all these things can communicate with each other, not just in financial networks but different currencies.”

McCaleb further explained,

“It just allows you to use any currency at any financial institution and seamlessly and effortlessly send anybody else in the world.

That’s kind of the goal and the way we do that is by leveraging this innovation that Bitcoin came up with which is this distributed ledger that everyone can see but no one can change arbitrarily.”

Stellar launched about six years ago and currently one of the big things the team is working on is the dollar savings app “which is a consumer app that allows people in places with really high inflation like say Argentina to be able to save their money in dollars,” said McCaleb.

These are the efforts where the team is working on making Stellar useful for real people with another big B2B payments corridor between Nigeria and Europe that “we’re helping it foster,” he added.

McCaleb, who is also the former CTO of Ripple, recently sold 29.5 million XRP worth about $135 million in a single day.

Between 2014 and 2019, he sold 1.05 billion XRP, as per Whale Alert. In 2020, he sold another 375 million XRP at a total of $75 million up to August 3.

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Author: AnTy