VC blockchain investment hits US$1.3 bln, topping 2017 funding – ejinsight

May 24, 2108

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 24

Translation by Jonathan Chong [Chinese version 中文版]

About US$1.3 billion has been invested in blockchain companies in the first five months this year, surpassing the amount of venture capital in the field for the whole of 2017, Crunchbase reports.

A number of large funding rounds related to blockchain technology have been reported this year.

Orbs, an Israeli startup that offers blockchain as a service for consumer brands, raised US$118 million.

Ledger Wallet, a Paris-based bitcoin wallet maker, raised US$75 million; Project Shivom, a German company that applies blockchain technology to genomics, raised US$32 million; and blockchain analysis platform Chainalysis raised US$16 million.

More at: VC blockchain investment hits US$1.3 bln, topping 2017 funding – ejinsight

AmEx starts using Hyperledger Blockchain for its rewards program – Crypto-News India

By Vignesh S.      May 24, 2018

American Express, one of the world’s largest financial services company popular for their Charge cards and Credit cards will now be using Blockchain to power their rewards program. AmEx has piloted a program which will allow merchants to reward customers for specific actions or purchases. This system will run on the open-source hyperledger blockchain and online merchant Boxed will be the first to make use of it.

Currently, credit card companies have been able to reward users when they spend at particular types of merchants with the merchant code. However, with the new system AmEx has deployed, merchants will be able to reward users when they pay for specific items.

With the help of Blockchain technology, AmEx will be able to easily track specific purchases made by users and partner with merchants to better promote products. The merchant may use this to promote a slow moving product in their store by bundling it with a reward.

More at: AmEx starts using Hyperledger Blockchain for its rewards program – Crypto-News India

Actively managed blockchain fund launches into crowded ETF field – CNBC

By Evelyn Cheng      May 16, 2018

  • The REX BKCM ETF (BKC) holds shares of 32 companies working in cryptocurrencies or their underlying blockchain technology.
  • The ETF is actively managed by Brian Kelly, a CNBC contributor and head of BKCM, which runs a digital assets strategy for clients.

Four other blockchain ETFs launched in the U.S. in January.

 

A new blockchain exchange-traded fund launched Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

The REX BKCM ETF (BKC) holds shares of 32 companies working in cryptocurrencies or their underlying blockchain technology. The ETF is run by Rex Shares and actively managed by Brian Kelly, a CNBC contributor and head of BKCM, which runs a digital assets strategy for clients.

BKC traded little changed Wednesday morning near $25.14 a share. As of launch, the ETF’s five largest holdings were: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Global Unichip, GMO InternetOverstock.com and SVB Financial Group. Each had an 8 percent weighting in the ETF.

More at: Actively managed blockchain fund launches into crowded ETF field – CNBC

JPMorgan Chase is Considering Launching Bitcoin Futures – cryptona

By Oladapo Olagoke      May 16, 2018

JPMorgan Co-President Jerry Pinto: Cryptocurrency “Will Play a Role” in Future

  • Jerry Pinto of JPMorgan Chase stated that in the near future, Bitcoin would play a role in the bank.
  • The bank has the ability to trade Bitcoin futures, though the bank has not decided yet to do so.

Canada: Cryptona.co has gathered report today 16th May that Jerry Pinto, the Co-President of JPMorgan Chase – the National Bank of Canada, has confirmed that the bank was considering trading Bitcoin futures. Jerry stated that in the future, cryptocurrency “will play a role.”

While speaking during an interview, Jerry, who could possibly succeed Jamie Dimon as the CEO, stated that though JPMorgan has the ability to trade Bitcoin futures, the bank has not decided yet to do so. When asked about trading Bitcoin-related products, Jerry replied:

“We are looking into that space. I have no doubt that in one way or another, the technology will play a role. If we need to clear futures of bitcoin, can we do it? Yes. Have we done it? No.”

More at: JPMorgan Chase is Considering Launching Bitcoin Futures – cryptona

Taiwan Bank Deploys Ethereum-Based Blockchain Payments System – CCN

(no byline)      May 15, 2018

The Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank, a private commercial Taiwanese bank, has reportedly launched a blockchain-powered payments system for retail usage, a first in the country.

According to a local report by the Taipei Times, the private-sector bank announced the deployment of the payment system for local restaurants and merchants on Sunday after commencing development of the platform in March 2017. Specifically, the bank is rolling out the blockchain payments system in merchant establishments and eateries near theNational Chengchi University, a national research university based in the country’s capital.

The bank first inked a partnership with the university in March 2017, announcing a joint-project dubbed the ‘Key Technology and Engineering R&D for Blockchain Payment Network’. During trials at the university’s own campus, the blockchain payment platform helped transaction volumes among participating merchants selling lunch-time meals to students grow four-fold.

According to a local report, the payments platform runs on the Ethereum blockchain by utilizing the Istanbul Byzantine Fault Tolerance algorithm, enabling it to scale and drastically reduce transaction times and costs.

More at: Taiwan Bank Deploys Ethereum-Based Blockchain Payments System – CCN

HSBC Concludes – “Blockchain Is Viable” After Successful Trade Deal – BTCMANAGER

By Priyeshu Garg      May 15, 2018

HSBC Holdings announced that it had completed its first scalable blockchain-based trade finance transaction through which it has concluded that blockchain is ready for mass adoption in the trade finance market.

HSBC revealed that it concluded that blockchain is a commercially viable technology after processing a letter of credit on behalf of Cargill, a large food and agricultural conglomerate based in the U.S.

It was an end-to-end transaction that was carried out on a shared digital application between the buyer, seller, and the banks involved. An email statement revealed that the R3 consortium created the blockchain technology used to facilitate the trade deal.

Vivek Ramachandran, the head of innovation at HSBC Global described the successful blockchain transaction as an inflection point for trade. He pointed out that blockchain technology eliminates the need for paper reconciliation because all parties are on one platform and updates are handled instantly.

Blockchain To Enhance Finance

The company in one of its statements pointed out that blockchain helps to enhance trade finance which is usually a lengthy process that involves a lot of paperwork. The successful blockchain-based trade deal marks a key step forward for HSBC which has been showing a lot of interest in decentralized ledger technology as well as cryptocurrencies.

Future Currency- e-Krona

In January this year, the London-based bank sent a letter to its clients, through which it pointed out some of the issues that are in the Swedish economy. It even touched on the possibility of a future that would involve a national cryptocurrency called e-Krona. This is on account of the fact that Sweden is one of the countries that have adopted a cashless economy.

More at: HSBC Concludes – “Blockchain Is Viable” After Successful Trade Deal – BTCMANAGER

‘Nasdaq Would Consider Becoming A Crypto Exchange’, Says CEO – CryptoGlobe

By Siamak Masnavi      April 26, 2018

In an interview on CNBC yesterday, Adena Friedman, the President and CEO of the world’s second-largest exchange (by market capitalization), revealed that “Nasdaq would consider becoming a crypto exchange over time.”

Although she stressed that a clear regulatory framework would need to be put in place first, she generally presented a bullish stance on cryptocurrencies:

I believe that digital currencies will continue to persist it’s just a matter of how long it will take for that space to mature… Once you look at it and say, ‘do we want to provide a regulated market for this?’ Certainly Nasdaq would consider it.

Adena Friedman, Nasdaq CEO

This news came on the same day that Gemini Trust — the digital asset exchange started by the Winklevoss twins in 2015 — and Nasdaq made the announcement in a press release that Gemini was going to use Nasdaq’s market surveillance service for monitoring bitcoin and ether trading as well as the auction process Gemini uses for determining the settlement  price for Bitcoin futures:

Gemini Trust Company, LLC (Gemini) and Nasdaq Inc. (Nasdaq:NDAQ) announced today that Gemini will be leveraging Nasdaq’s SMARTS Market Surveillance technology to monitor its marketplace. The technology, which is considered the most widely deployed surveillance system in the world, will enable Gemini to monitor across all of its trading pairs, including: BTC/USD, ETH/USD and BTC/ETH. Further, SMARTS will also surveil activity across the Gemini auction process that is used to determine the settlement price for the Bitcoin XBT futures contracts that trade on Cboe’s CFE Exchange.

Nasdaq

More at: ‘Nasdaq Would Consider Becoming A Crypto Exchange’, Says CEO – CryptoGlobe

Enterprises Building Blockchain Confront Tech Limitations – CoinDesk

By Michael del Castillo      March 23, 2018

Blockchain isn’t going anywhere, but centralized authorities aren’t either.

That realization was the general takeaway at the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation’s annual fintech symposium in New York City on Thursday where executives behind some of the most mature blockchain platforms currently in the works took the stage to discuss the benefits and limitations of the nascent technology.

While in some cases, enterprises, including the DTCC, which conducts $1.5 quadrillion dollars in securities transactions per year, have found that blockchains are more powerful than first expected, it’s clear that there are still significant hurdles to overcome.

“We’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t,” said Michael Bodson, the CEO of the DTCC, adding:

“We’ve wrestled with the technology’s limitations, but we’re also uncovering new possibilities to help lead the digital transformation of the post-trade environment.”

During Bodson’s opening remarks, he set the groundwork for the rest of the day’s talks by recounting some of the lessons learned by the DTCC’s ongoing implementation of blockchain in its $11 trillion Trade Information Warehouse (TIW).

More at: Enterprises Building Blockchain Confront Tech Limitations – CoinDesk

Ripple Collaborates With Japanese Banks On Blockchain Payment App – CryptoCurrencyNews.com

By Siraj Sarwar      March 7, 2018

Ripple’s blockchain technology has been continually making achievements of late. However, this couldn’t help XRP price on the crypto markets. It’s price plunged more than 3% to $0.90 today even though the company made a massive announcement; it would be developing a blockchain payment app in collaboration with 61 Japanese banks to enhance payment transaction time and costs.

This is one of the most significant achievements for RippleNet since its blockchain technology started penetrating the financial sector.

The blockchain payment app, called “Money Tap” would help Japanese banks to settle domestic payments round-the-clock. Japan is among the few countries that have adopted blockchain and cryptocurrencies; the country is also the hub for fintech and manufacturing companies – which amass substantial payment transaction loads on domestic banks.

More at: Ripple Collaborates With Japanese Banks On Blockchain Payment App – CryptoCurrencyNews.com

Ripple develops blockchain payment app with Japanese bank consortium – CNBC

By Ryan Browne      March 7, 2018

  • Ripple said Wednesday that the app, called “Money Tap,” will first go live in the fall.
  • It said the app would make it easier for banks to settle round-the-clock domestic payments in Japan.

Japan is home to a huge market for fintech, or financial technology — particularly in the areas of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

The logo of blockchain company Ripple is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017.

Chris Helgren | Reuters
The logo of blockchain company Ripple is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017.

Blockchain firm Ripple has developed a payment app that settles transactions instantly, in partnership with a consortium of 61 Japanese banks.

The San Francisco-based company said Wednesday that the app, called “Money Tap,” will first go live in the fall. It will initially be available with three banks included in the consortium — SBI Net Sumishin Bank, Suruga Bank and Resona Bank — before being rolled out to the rest of the consortium.

Blockchain, which is distributed ledger technology, is more commonly known as the tech that underpins cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. It maintains a growing list of transactions or other data across a decentralized network.

More at: Ripple develops blockchain payment app with Japanese bank consortium – CNBC