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Financial Establishments Continue to Collaborate with Ripple in Q2 of 2018



Ripple (XRP) had already collaborated with major financial establishments such as SBI HoldingsFleetcorWoori Bank and several other organizations.

The reason behind so many companies, especially banks looking forward to partner up with Ripple is that Ripple blends blockchaintechnology with centralization model. There is a primary reason that makes these companies adopt Ripple network to support the ‘new’ technology. For example, the Cobalt algorithm reduces the cross-border transaction time to nearly 1 second. It also limits the chances of any stoppages in the transactions. Ripple’s partnership with Hyperledger has enabled access to the developers to the Interledger Protocol or ILP and has freed up a world of possibilities.

By the end of April 2018, Ripple acquired five significant customers for its xVia API solution. FairFX (U.K.), Exchange 4Free (U.K.), RationalFX (U.K.), UniPay (Georgia), and MoneyMatch (Malaysia) will now be able to access the surging global payments market better. Through xVia, the financial institutions can easily transfer funds to and from the developing markets by utilizing RippleNet. The system is much quicker and reliable and involves least transaction costs. The businesses and financial companies taking the help of xVia can transfer payments to n digital wallets, payment providers and so on right away, reducing the need for routine connections. The small businesses will also profit from the xVia API solution.

The Senior Vice President of Product at Ripple says, customers wanting to access global payment markets commonly face high costs and time-related issues of building links to networks and banks all over the world. The xVia API solution was intended to resolve these issues. Now, the payment initiators could approach a single standard connection that minimizes the big failure rates, often observed in case of traditional wire transfers. The manual settlement expenses are also deducted to a certain extent by RippleNet.

James Hickman, the chief commercial officer of FairFX,  explained their reason for preferring Ripple and xVia. FairFX will be able to reach out more people in much lesser time and at minimal costs. The system will also become more understandable and efficient that will gain the interest of more customers. Similarly, Chris Humphrey, CEO of RationalFX, eagerly awaits the incorporation of xVia globally.

Standard Chartered Bank plans to extend its use of Ripple (XRP) network for cross-border payments to five more pairs of nations over the coming year. Standard Chartered PLC is a British multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in London, England. It runs a network of more than twelve hundred branches and outlets across more than seventy nations and employs around eighty-seven thousand people. Ripple connects banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and corporates via RippleNet to provide one frictionless experience to send money worldwide. The bank went public with its utilization of Ripple to open the $15 billion trade corridor between Singapore and India in November. The system is being utilized to accelerate payment processing between a purchaser and sellers in the bank’s corporate supply chain.

BankDhofar, an Oman-based investment management company has collaborated with RippleNet to enable global cross-border payments using Ripple’s blockchain technology. The move is currently the latest that finds BankDhofar among a beginning set of blockchain movers in the Middle East. At the beginning of this year, BankDhofar adopted blockchain technology with a consortium of over 27 banks that was introduced in February 2017 for exploring blockchain solutions for the banking sector.

Dr. Tariq Taha, CIO at BankDhofar, told:

“With this, we can provide instant, frictionless and secure cross-border money transfers within seconds, with end-to-end visibility over the journey of the payment.”

BankDhofar prominently did not tell which Ripple products it is trying to use to hit those bonuses, nor if it was open to using XRP Ledger, the open-source codebase that uses the XRP cryptocurrency.

According to Coindelite Price Chart, the price of Ripple shows approximately USD 0.78 (-6.78%). The market cap continues to stay above USD 30 billion and the volume (24h) is above USD 550 million. (As of 9th May 2018) The volatility of the crypto markets can be blamed for the slight drop in price and even on the after-effects of the bearish trend of Q1. It is remarkable that Ripple (XRP) has moved on to the 3rd position in the rankings. The partnerships with famous financial institutions and the continuous efforts put by the development team to ensure faster and smoother cross-border transactions will surely loft the crypto-coin to higher places.


PayPal Joins $4.2M Round for Crypto Banking Compliance Startu



Financial institutions know how to calculate the risk of serving traditional businesses. But for firms touching cryptocurrency, the math is still fuzzy. The assumption of added regulatory hurdles and money-laundering fears have led to a widespread problem: Your average bank would rather just not deal with it.

Addressing those concerns with clear-eyed data is how compliance startup TRM Labs wants to accelerate the institutional embrace of crypto. And that’s why a group of investors are backing the blockchain analytics firm to the tune of $4.2 million in new funding.

“Many might consider this the unsexy plumbing of the financial system but it’s what allows [crypto adoption] to thrive,” TRM Labs co-founder and CEO Esteban Castaño said in an interview. “We’re helping financial institutions to think through crypto’s potential as well as to mitigate any of the associated risks.”

The slate of investors includes Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian’s Initialized Capital, SF stalwart Blockchain Capital and a new strategic partner, PayPal Ventures. The influx of capital brings TRM’s total funding to $5.9 million after the startup emerged out of Y Combinator earlier this year.

It’s only the second blockchain-related investment disclosed by PayPal Ventures (the first was in April 2019) and comes just a month after PayPal itself withdrew from the Facebook-led Libra Association.

Chainalysis, but for banks

While competing firms like Chainalysis and Elliptic are known for aiding law enforcement, TRM Labs is focused solely on finance.

“Financial institutions use TRM to risk-score their cryptocurrency-related transactions, customers, or partnerships, helping them to simplify customer due diligence and meet regulatory requirements,” the company said in a statement.

That means the startup scours over a dozen blockchains, analyzing billions of transactions for signs of fraud and money-laundering.

The heightened interest from major players in traditional finance comes from a dawning realization that exposure to crypto is now “inevitable,” Castaño said.

“This new world is coming,” he said. “We’re going to help the existing financial system adapt to this new world so they can effectively engage with it.”

That doesn’t mean TRM is alone. Chainalysis, for one, already serves the finance sector, apparently to mixed reviews.

“The existing providers are trying to tailor products to financial institutions, and we’re just finding they’re not doing a good job of that,” Blockchain Capital’s Spencer Bogart told CoinDesk.

Regardless, he said, getting those institutions comfortable with crypto requires conforming to existing rules and regulations around tracking the provenance of customer funds.

“Every time we’re talking to a financial institution, number one or two on their list of concerns is compliance and risk management,” Bogart said.

TRM Labs is a team of 20, according to Castaño. The San Francisco-based company says it will use the new funding for product development, hiring and expanding to new geographies.

Image: TRM Labs co-founders Esteban Castaño and Rahul Raina, courtesy of TRM Labs


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How Crypto and Blockchain Are Influencing Geopolitics



The world is a constantly changing place — and from an economic standpoint, things are dramatically shifting, too. Two major superpowers, the United States and China, are embroiled in a dramatic trade war where tit-for-tat tariffs have been placed on goods — breeding uncertainty for consumers and businesses alike and making everyday products more expensive. The United Kingdom is still embroiled in a messy divorce from the European Union, and Russia is ratcheting up tensions with its neighbors in the West.

All of this geopolitical drama has two effects. Firstly, it can wreak havoc on the markets, wiping billions of dollars off the value of major companies and affecting employment rates in the world’s economies. Secondly, it is prompting some enthusiasts to passionately advocate for crypto and blockchain taking a bigger role in the economy. They say it could help bring down borders, making international payments faster and less expensive, while encouraging trade between nations.

That said, crypto and blockchain are also creating new geopolitical challenges. North Korea has faced allegations that a sophisticated group of hackers are launching cyberattacks on major exchanges in neighboring South Korea and other parts of Asia. Millions of dollars have been lost, with each incident shaking consumer confidence to its core. India has also been resolute in its decision to push ahead with a crypto ban. This could have ramifications for the likes of Facebook, which is hoping to launch a stablecoin that would benefit the unbanked. The Libra project is also creating tensions around the world, with many countries — the U.S. and the EU among them — concerned that the cryptocurrency could undermine traditional payment infrastructure and overtake the dollar and the euro.

Regulating crypto

A major thing that’s holding cryptocurrency back is the disjointed, fragmented approach to regulation around the world. While some countries like India are taking a hardline approach by proposing jail terms for anyone found handling these coins and tokens, the likes of Japan and Canada have been far more laidback — encouraging innovation, enabling taxes to be paid using Bitcoin, and creating so-called “regulatory sandboxes” where new crypto products can be tested on a small portion of the population before being rolled out.

There is a real and pressing divide when it comes to the attitudes surrounding crypto and blockchain. In some countries, there is incredible caution surrounding this technology amid fears it could have a detrimental impact on vulnerable consumers. That said, there are politicians out there who are appalled by the negative attitude that’s being espoused towards the industry — people who believe in its potential and believe their country should be at the forefront of innovation.

In part, this desire for a pro-crypto stance lies in fears that certain countries may be getting a headstart on developing their own central bank digital currency, establishing early dominance. One such country is China — which is already set to embark on a rapid acceleration of blockchain usage at the behest of President Xi Jinping.

What of the future?

Reading the tea leaves to figure out what the future holds for crypto and blockchain is a challenge. Will China achieve dominance and launch a central bank digital currency? Will India be successful in its quest to ban cryptocurrency? Will Russia succeed in its quest to enable law enforcement to confiscate Bitcoin, and is this even possible?

With so many unknowns, conferences have gained popularity as a way of hearing valuable insights from some of the best-known practitioners in the crypto and blockchain industries. One of them is the Crypto Finance Conference, which is taking place from Jan. 15 to 17 in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Organizers of the conference say that they are determined to cater each session to the individual needs of attendees. To that end, some of the event’s main speakers are going to be taking time to answer questions both onstage and offstage. Extensive networking opportunities are also on offer, giving delegates the chance to delve into areas of particular interest and establish meaningful contacts.

The program is still under development — but already, there are a series of sessions that will interest those who are keeping a close eye on geopolitical developments in the industry. The first day will explore the global impact of crypto and blockchain, and offer predictions for the future. There’s little doubt that the talk on the evolution of central banking will explore the attitudes that countries worldwide are adopting when it comes to everything from Bitcoin to Libra. Tales from the global regulatory frontline are also going to be shared.

With crypto and blockchain constantly hitting the headlines and battles being fought on many fronts, there’s going to be plenty to discuss as business visionaries descend on one of Switzerland’s finest resort towns.

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Presidential candidate Andrew Yang vows to promote crypto legislation



“In order to regulate technology effectively, our government needs to understand it. It’s embarrassing to see the ignorance some members of Congress display when talking about technology, and anyone who watched Congress question Mark Zuckerberg is well aware of this”, said the 2020 US Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang.

In his latest blog post titled, ‘Regulating Technology Firms in the 21st Century’, Yang wrote that the government needs to be forward-thinking and informed on the latest technological developments to keep pace with innovation. He added that without a base level of understanding, it’s unreasonable to expect proper regulation of major tech firms or the drafting of legislation that addresses the critical technical issues.

According to the Democratic Candidate, legislators are blind to, or completely unprepared to comprehend technical aspects of the cryptocurrency industry and due to the unregulated nature, the marketplace has seen levels of fraud. He further said,

” Other countries, which are ahead of us on regulation, are leading in this new marketplace and dictating the rules that we’ll need to follow once we catch up… Cryptocurrencies and digital assets have quickly grown to represent a large amount of value and economic activity, outstripping government’s response. A national framework for regulating these assets has failed to emerge, with several federal agencies claiming conflicting jurisdiction.”

Yang also emphasized that the market is being outpaced by innovation. If he wins the 2020 Presidential Election, Yang promised to promote legislation that provides clarity on cryptocurrency and digital asset market space by defining a ‘token’ and distinguishing ‘security’ from it. Yang affirmed that he will define which federal agencies have regulatory power over crypto/digital assets space and provide protection for the consumers. Additionally, tax implications of owning, selling, and trading digital assets will also be clarified.


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