Bridgewater Associates’ CFO Joins Crypto Custodian NYDIG

Bridgewater Associates’ CFO Joins Crypto Custodian NYDIG

NYDIG, a subsidiary of $10 billion New York-based asset manager Stone Ridge, has appointed John Dalby as its Chief Financial Officer.

Dalby was previously the CFO of Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund. While Dalio may not have fully come around Bitcoin, his hedge fund’s CFO has joined the bitcoin investment and technology solutions provider. Dalby said,

“Every day, more industries come to understand Bitcoin’s potential, and more clients seek ways to safely access it. Personally, I share NYDIG’s vision for Bitcoin’s ability to propel economic empowerment for all.”

NYDIG recently raised over $300 million from the likes of New York Life, MassMutual, Liberty Mutual, Starr Companies, and FIS with an aim to target the untapped insurance industry. Ross Stevens, founder and Executive Chairman of NYDIG said,

“John’s move to NYDIG showcases an increasing trend of top talent voting with their feet to propel Bitcoin’s inclusionary role as the De(Central) Bank and its dual mandate as ultimate risk-on asset and the ultimate risk-off asset.”

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Author: AnTy

SBI Holdings Acquires Crypto Trading Platform B2C2 After Taking Minority Stake in July

Japanese financial group SBI Holdings subsidiary SBI Financial Services has acquired the UK-based crypto trading firm B2C2.

The deal’s financial terms were not disclosed, but with this acquisition, which was announced by the companies on Tuesday, it will make SBI the first major financial group to run a digital asset dealing desk.

Founded in 2015, B2C2 helps exchanges, brokerages, and fund managers make large trades in digital assets.

SBI first acquired a minority stake in the crypto firm in July, and its clients have already been using the platform to trade crypto assets. With the latest deal, the companies want to help the mainstream financial firms invest in cryptocurrencies. Yoshitaka Kitao, president and CEO of SBI Holdings said,

“Their (B2C2’s) vision, expertise and offering complement SBI’s, and we look forward to working in partnership as we expand our footprint across the global markets.”

B2C2’s team in Japan will now move into the SBI’s offices as part of the acquisition. Max Boonen, the founder of B2C2, expects the team to grow from the current 50 to 70 people over the coming months.

This is no surprise for the crypto market; in 2020, everyone wants a piece of digital assets as Bitcoin soars to new all-time highs, breaking the crucial $20,000 price; Altcoins are rallying as well.

S&P Dow Jones Indices and Cboe Global Markets have announced the launch of their crypto index in 2021 while several mainstream financial and insurance firms, hedge fund managers, high net worth individuals have been investing in Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation and devaluing fiat currencies around the world.

“A lot of people have been dismissive for a long time,” Boonen said in an interview.

“Bitcoin’s price at an all-time high has put concerns to rest.”

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Author: AnTy

Toyota’s IT Subsidiary to Launch Digital Token Trial With Japanese Crypto Exchange, DeCurret

The IT subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota Systems, is embarking on a digital currency trial scheduled to last for six months. According to the announcement by Toyota Systems, the trial will be run in collaboration with a Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange dubbed ‘DeCurret.’ The latter is set to provide underlying blockchain crypto infrastructure to facilitate the prospectus Toyota Systems digital currency pilot.

All Toyota Systems employees will be part of this digital currency test as per the press release in collaboration with DeCurret. This means that a total of 2,500 participants will be onboarded to try out the Toyota Systems digital currency initiative. They will perform blockchain-based functions such as task automation, data recording and management, and payment transactions based on the digital currency; this will be done through smart contract infrastructure.

Most notably, Toyota Systems employees will be able to derive utility from the prospectus token because their welfare benefits will be issued in the digital token form. They will be able to exchange this token for gifts or benefits listed that are featured in a particular catalog. However, Toyota Systems was keen to mention that the digital token will not be exchangeable for the Japanese Yen.

With this development in place, the car manufacturing giant said that it would be looking at the possibility of integrating a digital token within its P2P ecosystems for large scale use. This is not the first time Toyota has invested in blockchain technology; they launched a blockchain lab back in March as part of an increased effort in researching the underlying potential. Toyota is also a long-term member of the R3 consortium, having joined the bandwagon as early as 2016.

Other car manufacturers are also bootstrapping when it comes to blockchain and crypto innovations. Some notable milestones include the anticipated token launch trial by BMW Korea, scheduled for later this year. French carmaker Renault recently launched a blockchain project as part of boosting its vehicle parts compliance certification.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

SBI eSports Signs Pro FIFA and Super Smash Bros Ultimate Players; Will Be Paid in XRP

SBI eSports, a subsidiary gaming venture of Japanese financial giant SBI Holdings, has signed two professional players to its e-team. In an official announcement made on 16th October, the SBI e-sports subsidiary also revealed that they would be paying its player’s salaries in XRP.

Back in September, the firm revealed that they were planning on paying their player’s salaries in cryptocurrencies. The official announcement read,

“The company aims to raise awareness of the SBI Group by strengthening contact points with the digital generation, and to create synergies with the various financial services businesses of the SBI Group.”

The payment of salary in the digital token would be facilitated via SBI’s crypto-asset trading division called SBI VC Trade. However, the final decision to accept salaries in XRP tokens would lie in the players’ hands. The official signing read,

“Players will be paid in the crypto asset ‘XRP’ instead of Japanese yen based on the wishes of the player and the sponsorship contract with SBI VC Trade Co., Ltd.”

The two pro players signed by the SBI eSports include one of Japan’s top pros in the Nintendo Switch fighting game, Super Smash Bros, Ultimate player Kenji “Ken” Suzuki, and FIFA 21 player Subaru “Mikey” Sagano, who has represented the German soccer club 1. FC Nürnberg.

The signings made by the SBI e-Sports is one of a kind because of the digital asset salary clause, which was not only highlighted in the official announcement but also in the personal tweets made by the signed players.

SBI to Conduct a Security Token Offering for SBI eSports

The SBI Group is also set to conduct a security token offering for the eSports subsidiary expected to occur on October 30. The offering would see 1000 total shares up for grabs valued at 50,000 yen (about $475) per share.

SBI Group is a Ripple partner and one of the significant stakeholders in the digital asset firm.

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Author: James W

bitFlyer Europe Integrates PayPal To Bridge the Fiat-Crypto Gap For European Traders

bitFlyer Europe, the subsidiary of one of Japan’s largest crypto exchanges, has integrated PaPal, which will allow its European clients to deposit and purchase tokens directly from their PayPal accounts.

According to the official announcement, the integration between the giant online payment platform and bitFlyer will play a major part in bridging the gap between the crypto space and fiat for European crypto enthusiasts.

Although bitFlyer Europe currently allows wire card transfers, one to three days is required for clearance. PayPal integration will allow customers to make near-instant deposits.

The announcement states that bitFlyer Europe customers can henceforth deposit euros from PayPal directly to their wallets and trade different cryptos. The statement also said that no extra charges would be passed onto the customer. Jacek Bastin, bitFlyer Europe manager in charge of business strategy, clarified:

“bitFlyer charges no handling or processing costs on top of the fees charged by PayPal.”

Since PayPal has about 340 million users globally and handles approximately 35% of the total eCommerce dealings within Europe. It is expected that the integration will help in exposing a wide array of European netizens to the bitFlyer platform, as well as to the crypto world in general.

Without going into details, Bastin revealed that bitFlyer Europe is working on several projects to ensure crypto trading becomes more accessible and secure to everyone.

bitFlyer has embarked on several activities to expand its reach globally with the firm opening branches in Europe and the United States in the recent past. Integration with PayPal is an effort by the firm to attract more crypto enthusiasts and worshippers to its platform.

PayPal has also been gearing up to enhance its innovation by using cryptos as well as blockchain technology. In June this year, PayPal announced it was hiring crypto and blockchain engineers, and it is alleged that the platform is looking on ways it can enable crypto buying for its worldwide users.

In a letter to the European Commission, PayPal stated that it was carefully assessing the worldwide developments in the crypto and blockchain spheres.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Subsidiary to Top Austrian Mobile Network Provider, Launches Crypto Payments for 2500 Merchants

Austrian leading mobile service provider, A1 Telekom Austria Group, announced its subsidiary, A1 Payments, will be accepting digital currency payments like Bitcoin and Ethereum. On Monday, a posted blog stated the firm’s new payment system would allow individuals as well as corporations to transact with thousands of merchants across Austria.

BEG announced A1 Payment’s plans to get into the digital currency payment back in August 2019, with the Head of A1 Business Marketing, Markus Schreiber, saying then:

“With our pilot operation in the A1 shops, we are testing the demand and acceptance of digital currencies in Austria.”

A1 Payments pilot included several cryptocurrencies, including BTC, ETH, Dash, Litecoin (LTC), and XRP. However, the main launch has begun with the inclusion of the first three, and more tokens to be added in the future.

The digital payment system also allows other cashless options for merchants, including bank credit cards and payments via online platforms such as Alipay.

Similar to other crypto payments intermediaries, A1 Payments provide the payment terminal, take care of its maintenance, and the processing of payments. This means that all the trades by crypto users in merchant shops or towards corporations will be settled in EUR. Hence the receiving counterparty does not need any knowledge in digital currencies to accept them.

The Austrian company aims to offer seamless payments across their customers, enabling “companies with only one terminal to accept digital currencies alongside conventional payment methods.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Volvo Invests In Blockchain Traceability Startup Circulor To Track Cobalt Supply Chain

Volvo Cars Tech Fund, a subsidiary of Volvo, announced its investment in blockchain traceability firm Circulor on July 8. The popular carmakers have used Circulor’s traceability solutions previously for tracing cobalt used in their batteries. The use of blockchain became a necessity amid growing concerns over the questionable condition of the laborers and the use of child labor in cobalt mining.

Volvo believes the partnership with Circulor would help in finding sustainable solutions. It is also planning to use this traceability solution for carbon emissions from their cars.

Martina Buchhauser, the chief procurement officer at Volvo, commented on their partnership and how it would help them in the long run. She said:

“We are committed to an ethical supply chain for our raw materials, and our partnership with Circulor has been instrumental in that regard. By supporting Circulor’s ongoing development, we can expand the use of blockchain technology in our operations and contribute to a more sustainable business.”

Volvo cars were the first carmakers to implement global traceability for cobalt used in its batteries, and currently, all their batteries are traced via this blockchain solution.

In recent years top carmakers like Volvo, Mercedes, BMW, and many others have been implementing blockchain solutions in their car production. A few of them are focused around the data collected from these vehicles, while a few others have incorporated blockchain for traceability of raw products as well as after-sales services. Blockchain has been a big hit in supply-chain management, be it in the food industry or car industry.

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Author: James W

India’s Tech Giant, TSC, to Launch ‘Quartz’ Crypto Trading Solution For Institutions

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a subsidiary of India’s largest tech firm, Tata, announced the launch of a crypto solution enabling traditional financial institutions to offer digital asset services to customers.

According to a spokesperson at the firm, the new solution, dubbed “Quartz Smart Solution for Crypto Services,” will offer the best security services and compliance structure to allow seamless cryptocurrency trading. According to a press release on TCS official blog, the Quartz solution is explained as

“a next-generation, digitally-powered offering for banks and investment firms to provide secure and seamless cryptocurrency trading to their clientele.”

The solution offers an array of features to financial institutions and banks, including support for multiple cryptos, a link to fiat currency exchange, and a digital asset transfer platform.

The project is the brainchild of Quartz, a startup incubated by TSC, which builds decentralized ledger solutions to traditional finance problems. The smart solution aims at providing the “best-in-class hardware security module” to beef up security and verification of transactions.

The platform integrates multi-signature feature wallets and provides the infrastructure to build secure OTC exchange desks. Finally, a close audit and blockchain forensic checks ensure that transactions made on the Smart Solution for the Crypto platform are appropriately verified and authenticated.

Crypto is spreading into the traditional finance world with hedge funds and investment institutions taking the risk and placing big bets in the industry. R Vivekanand, Global Head, Quartz, TCS concurs on this analogy stating his company is ready to take on the challenge of providing these services.

“We are excited to offer them our robust, secure, and scalable solution for trading, storing, and transfer of these assets,” Vivekanand said.

“We believe Quartz is well ahead of the curve in providing such a solution that allows customers to transact in multiple cryptocurrencies and digital assets, backed by best-in-class security features.”

India is taking a step forward in blockchain, and the Supreme Court lifted digital asset development after the recent blanket ban on crypto by the Royal Bank of India (RBI).

Throughout 2019, TCS announced a number of development strategies and projects in the blockchain arena, including Quartz integration of RippleNET allowing banks and financial institutions to transfer funds freely; and the security settlement platform to enable cross border transfers.

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Author: Lujan Odera

LG CNS Testing AI & Blockchain-Based Facial Recognition Tech For Contactless Digital Payments

LG CNS, the IT subsidiary of the electronic good manufacturer is testing an AI-based facial recognition system for making digital payments, as reported by IT Times on 23rd April. The IT Times report also noted that the company is already testing the new tech on its employees. The firm has been testing the new technology since March.

LG’s facial recognition tech makes use of Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and cloud technology. The testing phase of the tech on company employees saw them using it for making payments in the cooperate canteens and restaurant in blockchain-based cooperate currency.

The facial recognition scans the face to detect the customer than match it with the data available on the blockchain and later charge them from their cooperate account. All these processes happen simultaneously in a matter of a few seconds.

Is Facial Recognition Based Payment Gateway Secure?

Blockchain-based data storage networks might be considered as secure, and a contactless payment system might sound convenient, but Trent Lapinski, a whitehat hacker disagrees. Lapinski explained that decentralization might sound fancy and secure to many but one must understand that privately owned and developed blockchain networks are not truly decentralized. He explained that a couple of code changes in the blockchain code could potentially corrupt the network and hijack the data easily.

Since blockchain is used to store data, its authenticity and security depend on immutability and if that is bypassed, it could be used to run havoc on the people who trusted the system in the first place.

Blockchain Being Increasingly Used By Mainstream Tech Firms

Mainstream tech firms are showing an increasing interest in the decentralized techs and have invested in multiple ventures based on blockchain technology. IBM is one such firm that has not just invested heavily in multiple blockchain ventures but has also emerged as a choice for a blockchain infrastructure provider to enterprises.

Similarly, for the LG Group CNS, the AI and Blockchain-based facial recognition is not the only blockchain venture they are working on. Last year in July, the firm revealed that they are looking forward to introducing blockchain in supply chain management for school cafeteria lunches, where they would put the data of the food items including their origin, where they were processed and when they were packaged to ship, to make it easy for anyone to check the origin of their food with a simple barcode scan.

LG CNS has also partnered with the blockchain subsidiary of internet service provider Kakao to develop infrastructure which is mutually compatible. LG is planning to narrow the gap between public and private blockchain which would not only make them more widely usable but also bring down the cost of the infrastructure significantly.

Lee Joon-won, solution business development manager at LG CNS, talked about the company’s interest in the decentralized tech and what they intend to achieve through these investments. He said,

“It is expected that blockchain-based community currency will be used by a lot more people as it becomes more convenient when it meets AI.

As non-face-to-face technologies are applied recently, a blockchain that increases transaction reliability will be used more widely.”

Here is a demonstration:

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Author: Silvia A

Binance.US to Add Tezos (XTZ) Staking on April 16; No Action Needed To Start Earning

Binance.US, the US subsidiary of the Binance crypto exchange is all set to launch Tezos staking service on its platform from April 16. As per the official announcement, the Tezos staking services will be activated by 9.00 EST on Thursday.

Tezos staking has gained a lot of traction from around the globe in recent months and Binance being a leading exchange service provider had the Tezos staking facility on its global platform. The announcement also clarified that Tezos holders on the platform would not have to go through any complex procedures to start earning rewards. The exchange will be solely responsible for determining the rewards for Tezos holders.

Binance.US would take an hourly screenshot of Tezos holders on its platform to determine the reward for the customers. The process will be quite similar to other staking services available for different tokens on the platform. Binance would calculate the staking rewards on a daily basis, however, the allocation of rewards will be done on a monthly basis. At preset Binance.US support a couple of major Tezos trading pairs namely XTZ/USD and XTZ/BUSD, which are available on the Binance.US mobile application as well as website and API.

How Staking Services Help Customers Earn Reward

Binance as a global exchange offers a number of services, be it a fiat-crypto gateway to make trading easier or staking of various tokens without having to run a full node and earn a reward for staking those tokens. The global Binance platform introduced staking services on the platform towards the end of 2019, while its US counterpart introduced staking services in early 2020.

A users can avail the rewards by simply holding the available staking tokens in their exchange wallet for a certain period of time, the longer the staking time, bigger is the reward. Currently, there are two tokens available for staking, one being Algorand, and another being ATOM. With the Tezos listing on April 16th, the Binance.US would join the likes of Coinbase and Kraken who are offering Tezos Staking services.

Binance has become a giant crypto ecosystem in itself, right from having its own utility token BNB which was one of the best-performing assets in 2019 to have their own blockchain. The platform has also been on an accusation spree out of which CoinMarketCap is the latest one which created a lot of noise in the decentralized space on whether acquiring an independent crypto data monitoring services would be good for the crypto ecosystem. Recently, it was also revealed that Binance uses a significant portion of its profit for acquisition.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh