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So you’re investing in cryptocurrencies? Just watch Ripple’s XRP

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Haven’t you heard about Ripple over the last few weeks? You were probably dead or hiding under some rock because it’s been grabbing all the crypto world headlines. That’s not a coincidence at all. Ripple has been proving that it’s not just another project or cryptocurrency but a fully working solution for the global problem of international transactions.

Ripple’s blockchain technology and currency are not just persuading the cryptosphere of how useful they are, but they are also enticing some of the world’s biggest firms that would not have come close to the blockchain tech otherwise. If you are an investor you should keep a close eye on Ripple, let us tell you why.

It will keep growing

Recently Banco Santander announced the release of OnePay FX which is a blockchain app intended to make international transactions quicker, safer, cheaper. And it’s based on Ripple’s technology (it also uses the coin sometimes).

The partnership with Banco Santander is a huge deal. This is the bank considered to be the world’s best as of today, and it has a presence everywhere in Europe and the Americas. Santander will use Ripple’s blockchain and platform to carry out its international transfers, improve their customer service dramatically and save a ton of money on the way. This makes Ripple an essential player in this field as one of the very few crypto coins that have managed to find its way to the mainstream and provide a real-life service for actual people and actual firms.

Keep in mind that the financial industry is very conservative and very averse to change. If Ripple has persuaded them to adopt their platform and the coin (to some extent, to very little extent as of now) to do things differently, it’s because the service they are providing is precious indeed.

And new partnerships with some of the big world players keep getting announced frequently. Western Union, MoneyGram, InstaRem, BeeTech, and many others are already on board and enjoying the benefits. This creates confidence and curiosity for other financial institutions that are not still in the Ripple Net, but it can only mean many of them will also join soon. Mark our words, Ripple can only grow.

Ripple’s 1.0.0 is here, and it will be a game changer

About a couple of weeks ago, Ripple team announces the release of Ripple 1.0.0. The update has been in the works for six years already. It includes many improvements for Ripple’s platforms. This update will make the decentralized network mature, and more stable and current users and operators are being encouraged to update to the latest version. It also enhances the XRP ledger which is at the heart of Ripple’s service.

The SBI platform: Just fantastic

SBI is one of Japan’s largest banking services, and they’ve just launched a platform for virtual currencies. This is excellent news for Ripple’s XRP coin because transfer fees will use XRP and thus creating new demand and improve the asset’s performance. SBI has plans to add more features next month; the advancements in SBI’s system will surely impact XRP positively as it’s set as the primary currency on the platform.

Of course, SBI Holdings’ crypto exchange and release of Ripple’s 1.0.0 are just a couple of reasons to believe that the crypto is bound to fly. Ripple is showing how a cryptocurrency can make a difference in the real world by improving over traditional solutions to existing problems. It’s faster, more scalable, more available than Bitcoin and it’s on its way to becoming the most used crypto coin all over the world. And on top of everything, it is still very cheap ($0.56 at the time we write this).

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Australians Can Pay Utility Bills With Bitcoin (BTC)

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Bitcoin (BTC)–In terms of adoption for cryptocurrency, being able to pay for real world goods and services with the digital currency has long been viewed as the gold standard. The bear market of 2018 has led to a shift in focus away from the fundamentals of crypto and the usability of blockchain transactions in favor of wild price speculation. However, an Australian-based partnership is attempting to provide a solution for customers looking to pay their utility bills with cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency exchange Cointree announced a joint-venture with billing platform Gobbill to give Australian customers the opportunity to pay their utility bills with cryptocurrency. The goal of the union is to provide a solution for automated billing via crypto, with Gobbill functioning as the intermediary in the exchange, taking user funds in crypto and making the payment in fiat.

Using the Cointree wallet, users of the cryptocurrency exchange will be able to convert stored coins automatically into utility bill payments, giving customers the opportunity to pay in BTC, XRP, and nearly 40 other currencies. While Australian utility companies will not be accepting crypto directly for payment (the exchange involves a conversion to fiat), it does represent a way for Australian crypto users to get around having to cash out of their denomination on exchanges to free up funds for utility payment. The service is being aimed at small businesses and average investors, with the co-founder and CEO of Gobbill, Shendon Ewans, expounding upon the planned form of payment,

“We anticipate a surge in the number of customers who would like to pay their bills in crypto in the coming years. Our partnership with Cointree will cater to this market and ensure Gobbill continues to remain ahead of the curve when it comes to allowing our users to pay their bills automatically, while knowing they’re protected from fraud and scams.”

According to Ewans, Gobbill views this partnership with Cointree as getting ahead of the curve, a refrain we have heard several times from tangential businesses attempting to capitalize on cryptocurrency. By offering a service that automatically takes payments in cryptocurrency, Gobbill is exposing itself to the growing, and vocal, userbase of cryptocurrency, in addition to paving a future for their company that involves a takeoff in the digital currencies.

Cointree also sees partnerships for bill payments and automatic drafting as a way to increase their customer base, with efforts already enacted for several years on the front of crypto-to-bill payment. Jess Rendon, operations manager of Cointree, reported that the company has processed $100 million in bills paid in 2017,

“Last year alone we had about AU$100 million of bills paid and saw ten times growth in this payment feature.

CCN reports that paying bills with cryptocurrency has seen an explosion in Australia over the last several years, having grown by 3300% in a three-year period. While the system devised by Gobbill is still a step removed from utility companies accepting Bitcoin and altcoins directly, it does provide another avenue for investors looking to use their coins outside of exchange speculation.

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Bakkt CEO: ‘With Our Solution, the Buying and Selling of Bitcoin Is Fully Collateralized or Pre-Funded’

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On Monday (20 August 2018), Bakkt, the new company announced by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) on 3 August 2018, declared that with its solution, “the buying and selling of bitcoin is fully collateralized or pre-funded.”

ICE’s press release mentioned that Bakkt would be offering a one-day phsyically-delivered Bitcoin futures product:

“As an initial component of the Bakkt offering, Intercontinental Exchange’s U.S.-based futures exchange and clearing house plan to launch a 1-day physically delivered Bitcoin contract along with physical warehousing in November 2018, subject to CFTC review and approval. These regulated venues will establish new protocols for managing the specific security and settlement requirements of digital currencies.”

This is how Bakkt announced today’s news on Twitter:

Kelly Loeffler, the CEO of Bakkt, provided more details in a post on Bakkt’s Medium blog.

Loeffler started by saying that to achieve a “trusted infrastructure for trading, storing and spending digital currencies”, Bakkt would need to provide:

  • “a consistent regulatory construct”;
  • “transparent, efficient price discovery”; and
  • “an institutional quality pre- and post-trade infrastructure”

She then moved to the “meat” of Bakkt’s announcement:

“A critical element to price discovery is physical delivery. Specifically, with our solution, the buying and selling of Bitcoin is fully collateralized or pre-funded. As such, our new daily Bitcoin contract will not be traded on margin, use leverage, or serve to create a paper claim on a real asset.”

She noted that this provided support for market integrity and differentiated them from other exchanges which “allow for margin, leverage and cash settlement.” She went on to say that once you take into account the fact that Bakkt also provides “a secure, regulated warehouse solution”, it was easy to see how this infrastructure could “help more institutions and consumers participate in the asset class.”

For many crypto traders/investors and analysts, what Bakkt announced today sounded great. However, not everyone was equally excited.

Caitlin Long, 22-year Wall Street veteran (including over eight years at U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley) who has been active in Bitcoin since 2012, expressed her concern about “financialization” (i.e. when an asset class becomes investable by large institutional investors) of cryptocurrencies, and especially her worries about “leverage-based financialization” (which arises “either from the issuance of more assets out of thin air to dilute existing holders, or from the creation of more claims to the asset than there are assets”) in an article for Forbes published on 31 July 2018.

Upon hearing Bakkt’s announcement earlier today, she sent out the following tweets to explain that although the confirmation that Bakkt’s daily Bitcoin contract would not be traded on margin, use leverage, or serve to create a paper claim on a real asset” was a good thing, she still had a few reservations:

 

 

 

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Biometric Cryptocurrency Card Protects Bitcoin with Fingerprints

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Unikeys has officially announced its UKey cryptocurrency card.

In form, it’s shaped like any other regular payment card. But it’s designed to host multiple popular cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, and Litecoin. What’s more, it features an embedded fingerprint sensor. Once a user’s fingerprint data has been registered and stored in the card’s Secure Element, the card is then able to biometrically authenticate the user for each transaction, ensuring a high level of security.

The biometric component is the product of a collaboration between Unikeys and Hong Kong-based MeReal Biometrics, which obtained its fingerprint sensor technology from Sweden’s Fingerprint Cards. Fingerprint Cards has been very busy in recent months seeking to secure a leading position in the biometric cards market as major financial services brands like Visa and Mastercard prepare for mass commercialization of this kind of technology; Unikeys, for its part, is ahead of the curve.

Of course, a key to success for the latter company will be establishing merchant support for its card’s cryptocurrency payments, and as RFID Journal reports, Unikeys is currently in talks with “several companies” concerning this issue. Unikeys’ CEO says the company is also planning to launch a pilot for its solution in Hong Kong, though details about the project are forthcoming.

Biometric Cryptocurrency Card Protects Bitcoin with Fingerprints

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