A group of six blockchain firms called Universal Protocol Alliance is launching a euro-pegged stablecoin next month.
The alliance announced the news Thursday, saying that its “universal euro” (UPEUR) token is aimed at users looking for a low volatility cryptocurrency. The stablecoin can also potentially offer holders an annual rate of return of 8 percent, the group said.
“In countries with high inflation or limited access to traditional banking, users can now lend their Euro-pegged assets and earn interest,” the companies said.
Aside from Cred, the alliance comprises of the Bittrex crypto exchange, blockchain-based web browser Brave, cryptocurrency finance startup Uphold, student organization Blockchain at Berkeley and blockchain auditing platform CertiK. Together, the group says it sets out to build “unique digital currency products designed to appeal to mainstream users on a massive scale.”
The alliance has previously released other similar products such as a U.S. dollar stablecoin (UPUSD) and a bitcoin-pegged token (UPBTC).
The UPEUR stablecoin will be available directly through the Uphold platform, the alliance said, adding that it can be used to earn interest via crypto loans firm Cred’s CredEarn program, which pays back interest for loans of digital assets.
To earn interest, users “in eligible jurisdictions” will be able to stake the stablecoin through the CredEarn application on Uphold. UPEUR holdings can also be custodied with cryptocurrency storage service providers such as Ledger and BitGo.
Dan Schatt, co-founder of both the alliance and Cred, commented:
“The Universal Euro offers access to a high rate of return and the same commitment to code quality, investor safeguards and transparency. UPEUR is architected with institutional-level security in mind and designed to allow for quick, low-cost conversion of UPEUR to fiat currencies, UPUSD, UPBTC or other digital assets.”
In a similar development earlier this week, TrustToken, developer of dollar-pegged stablecoin TrueUSD, also announced that the token’s holders can now leverage their funds to earn “up to 8 percent” in annualized returns. TrustToken also partnered with Cred for the effort, while Uphold, BitGo, Bittrex and Ledger joined as custody providers.
Marco Polo Blockchain Network Welcomes Japan’s SMBC Bank For Trade Finance
Marco Polo Blockchain Network Welcomes Japan’s SMBC Bank For Trade Finance
Blockchain services are being adopted by many companies nowadays, even in financial institutions and banks. The immutable ledger’s appeal helps to keep all transactions organized in a trustless way, which clearly appeals to the Sumitomo Mitsui BankCorporation (SMBC). The Japanese bank has chosen to improve trade finance with the use of R3’s Marco Polo blockchain network, according to reports from CoinDesk Japan. SMBC is presently the third-largest bank in Japan, based on assets.
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Kawasaki commented that this “time-consuming process” has continued for a century, which is part of what led SMBC to the blockchain network. The lack of complications will streamline the former paper-based process. Hopefully, through this new project, new services will be available “later this year.”
Daniel Cotti, who acts as the managing director of the Centre of Excellence for Banking and Trade for Marco Polo, pointed out that this network has both the “resources and technology” to change up trade finance for the banking industry. Cotti believes that the implementation of this network with the banks will help to improve the transparency and reduce risks.
Along with the announcement from this major Japanese bank, China’s central bank announced a partnership involving one of their subsidiaries with trade finance. In France, lender Societe Generale has decided to issue bonds that are worth 100 million euros with the use of the Ethereum blockchain.
Trade finance stands to greatly benefit from the use of blockchain technology. Blockchain platform We.Trade, which focuses on trade finance, only just went live in July last year. Hopefully, through more implementation like these cases, blockchain’s reach can continue to expand.
Top 3 Japanese Bank to Roll Out Services on Marco Polo Blockchain
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), Japan’s third-largest bank by total assets, will launch blockchain-based trade finance services in the second half of this year.
SMBC’s vice chairman Yasuyuki Kawasaki announced the news at a recent fintech seminar in Tokyo, saying that the bank will roll out new services for import and export companies using the Marco Polo trade finance blockchain platform, CoinDesk Japan reported Thursday.
Kawasaki said that, traditionally, trade finance is a “very complicated,” paper-based and time-consuming process. SMBC completed a proof-of-concept using the blockchain platform back in February, aiming to improve its trade operations. It said at the time that the platform “provides paperless, real-time connectivity and easier access.”
The Marco Polo network – built on blockchain software startup R3’s Corda platform – saw its first real-world transactions going live last month. The network was founded by R3 and trade finance specialist TradeIX.
The transactions took place between two German companies. One transaction involved the delivery of special hydraulic couplings from Germany to China and the other the delivery of pumps within Germany.
Since launching in 2017, the Marco Polo network has added some major financial institutions as members, including ING, BNP Paribas and Commerzbank, among others.
Announced this morning, BayernLB, Helaba and S-Servicepartner have also joined the Marco Polo network “for piloting and evaluating purposes.”
Daniel Cotti, managing director, Centre of Excellence for Banking and Trade for Marco Polo, said:
“Today, we have the resources and technology to transform the way banks serve their trade finance customers and enable easier access to credit, while minimizing risk and increasing transparency.”
Trade finance is increasingly being eyed as a beneficial use case for blockchain technology. Last July, another trade finance blockchain platform called– built on Hyperledger Fabric and with nine banks on board – went live.
Just yesterday, China’s forex regulator and manager, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), said that it has developed a blockchain system aimed to address inefficiencies in cross-border trade finance. Pilots in three regions and two cities are now planned.
Yasuyuki Kawasaki image via CoinDesk Japan
Payments Firm Wirex Launching 26 Stablecoins on the Stellar Blockchain
Payments platform Wirex is launching 26 stablecoins on the Stellar blockchain network.
The U.K.-based firm announced the news on Thursday, saying that the stablecoins will be backed by fiat currencies including the U.S. dollar, euro, the British pound, Hong Kong dollar and the Singapore dollar.
Wirex, which is licensed by the country’s finance watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), added that the cryptocurrencies can be spent using its own multi-currency Visa card. Wirex’s card allows users to convert and spend cryptocurrencies wherever Visa is accepted, till now supporting 8 cryptocurrencies and 10 fiat currencies.
The stablecoins can also be “instantly” converted to other stablecoins at over-the-counter (OTC) rates, the firm said, adding that the new crypto offerings could have use cases in remittances, token issuance and redemption, and merchant settlements.
The Stellar network was chosen over other blockchains because of its better security and scalability features, as well as lower costs for real-time transactions, Wirex said. The firm will also add Stellar’s native token, lumens (XLM) to its platform.
Tech giant IBM also notably uses Stellar for its payment network World Wire. The firm signed deals with six banks to issue stablecoins on the platform just last month.
The news comes following something of a flood of new fiat-backed cryptos over the last year, with eToro most recently launching eight branded stablecoins alongside a full crypto exchange just days ago.