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Fundamentals of major coins are improving, while some observers say that bitcoin will hit new highs in 2020.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

Tom Lee, managing partner and head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, believes that Bitcoin is in a bull market and it is likely to make a new high in 2020. Lee has based his views on a few signs that, according to him, point to the end of the bear market. Some of the important signs that Lee pointed out are the increase in trading volume buoyed by investors in Venezuela and Turkey, the breakout of Bitcoin above the 200-day moving average, and an increase in the number of OTC clients and the trading per client.

The fundamentals of altcoins are improving as well. Large organizations are exploring ways to use the blockchain technology to improve their services and productivity. The latest to opt for the technology is United Kingdom car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover, which will reward its drivers IOTA tokens for providing information on road conditions, traffic congestion and vehicle performance. Drivers can purportedly redeem their tokens for coffee or to pay road tolls.

While the fundamentals are improving, the price might take some time to catch up. This has resulted in a few long-term crypto bulls facing huge losses during the bear phase. Hence, the traders must keep an eye on the price action before jumping in. Let’s consult the charts and see if we spot any buy setups in major cryptocurrencies.

BTC/USD

Bitcoin (BTC) is finding it difficult to stay above the 20-day EMA. This is a negative sign as it indicates a lack of buying at these levels. If this support breaks down, the digital currency can drop to the next critical support of $4,914.11. We expect a strong support at this level, but if this also crumbles, the next support is at the 50-day SMA.

For now, both the moving averages are trending up, which suggests that the bulls are still in the game. If the BTC/USD pair rebounds off the 20-day EMA or from the lower level of $4,914.11, it will again try to resume its up move to $5,600 and above it to $5,900. Traders can retain the stop loss of $4,800 on the remaining long positions. The next few days are very critical as it will set the stage for the next leg of the trending move.

ETH/USD

Ethereum (ETH) has been trading between the moving averages for the past three days. The 20-day EMA is flat and the RSI is just below the midpoint. This points to a consolidation in the short term. If the price remains close to $167.20, it will increase the possibility of a breakout from it.

The ETH/USD pair is likely to gain strength above the downtrend line and pick up momentum after crossing $190.54. The upside targets to keep in mind are $225 and above it $256.

Our bullish view will be invalidated if the bears sink the pair below the 50-day SMA. If that happens, a drop to the trendline of the ascending triangle is probable. We will wait for the digital currency to show strength before suggesting a long position in it once again.

XRP/USD

The bounce from the critical low of $0.27795 was tepid. It shows a lack of urgency among the buyers to own Ripple (XRP) even at these low levels. We now expect the bears to attempt a breakdown of the support once again. If successful, it can slide to the yearly low of $0.24508. Any break of this level will be a major sentiment spoiler.

Contrary to our assumption, if the XRP/USD pair rebounds from the current levels, it will point to a range bound action between $0.27795 and $0.33108 for a few days. The pair will show signs of strength if it breaks out of $0.33108 and will pick up momentum above $0.38. As it has been a huge underperformer for the past few months, we will wait for it to signal a turnaround before suggesting a trade in it.

BCH/USD

After holding the support at $255 for three days, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) broke below it on April 28. Its next support is the zone between $241.97 and the 50-day SMA. Any break of this zone will pull it lower to $209 and below it to $166.98, which will complete a 100% retracement of the recent rally.

The 20-day EMA is turning down and the RSI is in the negative territory. This suggests that the bears have the upper hand in the short term.

If the BCH/USD pair rebounds from the 50-day SMA, it can re-enter the range between $335.62 and $255. This will increase the probability of a consolidation for the next few days. We will wait for the pair to show strength before recommending a trade in it.

LTC/USD

Litecoin (LTC) has broken down of the 50-day SMA, which is a bearish sign. It can now drop to the next support at $62.450, below which it will weaken. The moving averages are on the verge of a bearish crossover and the RSI is deep in the negative territory, which shows that the bears are in command.

Our bearish view will be invalidated if the LTC/USD pair reverses direction and breaks out of the 20-day EMA. That will be the first sign that the pair is finding buyers. It can then move up to $84.3439 and above it to $91. We will wait for the price to break out of $91 before turning positive on it.

EOS/USD

EOS has been trading between both the moving averages for the past five days. The failure to scale above the 20-day EMA has attracted sellers and the price is currently back at the 50-day SMA.

If the bears sink the EOS/USD pair below the uptrend line of the wedge, it will complete a bearish pattern that has a target objective of $2.80. The 20-day EMA is sloping down and the RSI is in the negative zone. This shows that the bears have the upper hand.

Our bearish view will be invalidated if the price rebounds off the current support at the 50-day SMA or the uptrend line and rises above the downtrend line. In such a case, a rally to $5.6163 and above it $6.0726 is probable. We will wait for the cryptocurrency to resume its up move before proposing a trade in it.

BNB/USD

Binance Coin (BNB) continues to be in an uptrend. Both the moving averages are sloping up and the RSI is in the positive territory. This suggests that the bulls are still at an advantage. However, if the cryptocurrency plummets below the 20-day EMA, it can drop to the uptrend line. The 50-day SMA is just below this level. Hence, we anticipate a strong support in this zone.

A breakdown of the wedge will complete a bearish pattern that can drag prices to $14. However, if the bulls defend the 20-day EMA, the BNB/USD pair will try to resume the uptrend. Currently, we do not find any reliable buy setups on the pair. Hence, we shall not suggest a trade in it.

XLM/USD

The bulls are struggling to hold the uptrend line. If the bears sustain the price below the uptrend line, Stellar (XLM) will complete the breakdown of the rising wedge that can drag the price to $0.08 and lower. The moving averages have completed a bearish crossover, which is also a negative sign.

The XLM/USD pair will show a sign of strength if the bulls manage to push it above the moving averages and $0.12039489. Until then, every minor pullback will be sold into. We suggest traders avoid bottom fishing and wait for the price to stabilize and signal a trend reversal before jumping in.

ADA/USD

Cardano (ADA) has broken down of the 50-day SMA after staying above it for the past three days. This is a negative sign. It shows a lack of buyers at higher levels. The developing bearish crossover of the moving averages indicates that the path of least resistance is to the downside.

The ADA/USD pair can now fall to $0.0632230, which is a critical support. If this gives way, the pair can will become extremely negative and dive to $0.050 and below it to $0.040. On the contrary, if the bulls defend $0.0632230, the digital currency will again try to break out of the moving averages. We will wait for a new buy setup to form before suggesting a trade in it.

TRX/USD

After the bounce from $0.02094452, Tron (TRX) has been facing resistance close to the moving averages. The price has turned down and can now drop to $0.02094452 once again. A break of this level will drag the price down to the major support of $0.01830.

If the TRX/USD pair rebounds off the supports, it can remain range bound for a few more days. The pair will signal a likely change in trend if it scales above the top of the range at $0.02815521. Currently, the digital currency is stuck in a range where the price action can be volatile. Therefore, we shall wait for it to breakout of $0.03278079 before recommending a long position in it.

Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. Charts for analysis are provided by TradingView.

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After seeing small gains yesterday, bitcoin dropped below the $5,300 support while U.S. stocks hit all-time highs.

Monday, April 29 — after seeing moderate gains yesterday, crypto markets have tumbled at press time, with most of the top 20 coins by market cap in the red.

Bitcoin cash (BCH), the fourth top crypto by market cap, has dipped as much as 7.1% over the day to trade at $242 at press time.

While the majority of the top 20 are seeing sufficient losses, IOTA (MIOTA) has surged almost 18% over the past over the past 24 hours. The growth comes amidst the news that British car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover today confirmed its partnership with Iota to use its blockchain network to reward drivers with crypto for data reporting.

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC), the biggest cryptocurrency, is down 1.15% over the past 24 hours, and is trading at $5,240. Following slight gains yesterday, bitcoin climbed to an intraday high of $5,309 before dropping to as low as $5,222 earlier on the day. Over the past 7 days, the major currency is down 2.41%.

Bitcoin’s dominance on crypto markets is 54.9% at press time, slightly up from 54.5% at the beginning of the day.

Bitcoin 24-hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum (ETH), the second cryptocurrency by market cap, is down 1.79% over the day, to trade at $155 at press time. Over the past 7 days, the top altcoin is down 9.67%.

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ripple (XRP), the third top cryptocurrency by market cap, is down 1.35%, and trading at $0.293 at press time. XRP is down 9.67% over the past 7 days.

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Total market capitalization is $168 billion at press time, while daily trade volume rose to $43 billion.

Total market capitalization 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Earlier today, Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) institutional-grade crypto trading platform Bakkt announced an acquisition of a crypto custodian service Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC).

Also today, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it has temporarily halted securities trading on the Bitcoin Generation crypto exchange “due to concerns about the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace.”

The United States stock market rose today, with both S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (NASDAQ) Composite reaching all-time highs, as CNBC reports. SPX broad index gained 0.3% to break above 2,940.90, while the previous high was recorded in September. At press time, SPX continues to grow to 2,947, while Nasdaq hit an all-time high of 8,164, up around 0.2%. Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gained 0.1% to 26,571.2.

Oil saw mixed signals today, with both West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent crude rising around 0.4%, according to Oilprice.com. The growth followed a slight drop in the market on Friday after U.S. Pres. Donald Trump demanded that OPEC raise output to mitigate the impact of sanctions against Iran. At press time, OPEC basket is down 2.2%.

Gold prices dropped today as equities rose after a report that U.S. consumer spending surged, with the markets anticipating the U.S. Federal Reserve’s meeting for guidance on interest rates, according to CNBC. At press time, spot gold is down 0.5% to $1,279 per ounce, while June gold futures tumbled almost 0.6% to $1,281 per ounce.

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Enterprise blockchain platform Ontology plans to launch a version of the regulated USD-backed stablecoin Paxos Standard on its chain.

Enterprise blockchain platform Ontology (ONT) plans to launch a version of the regulated USD-backed stablecoin Paxos Standard (PAX) on its own blockchain. The company announced the news in a press release published on April 27.

Per the release, the new token (PAXO) will be based on Ontology’s OEP-4 token standard, which will enable atomic swaps between the Ontology-based main blockchain and other blockchains. This feature reportedly aims to make it easier for institutions and individuals to do business in fiat terms in the Ontology ecosystem.

The company claims that PAX “is the first regulated USD stablecoin that ensures open auditing, asset safety, and is supported by a large number of exchanges.” All the PAX USD reserves are reportedly held in independent accounts of FDIC-insured banks registered in the United States, the Ontology press release and the stablecoin’s previous press materials note.

Those features, according to the release, make PAX “a stable ‘digital dollar’ in every sense of the term, unlike Tether, which cannot guarantee its token is always worth $1.”

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this week, stablecoin operator Tether has responded to recent allegations that its funds were used to cover an $850 million loss at its sister firm, crypto exchange Bitfinex. The statement released by the company claims that court filings by the New York Attorney General’s office are “riddled with false assertions.”

Recently, news broke that United Kingdom-based cryptocurrency payment processor Wirex has partnered with blockchain protocol Stellar to release 26 stablecoins.

Ontology’s ONT is currently the 19th largest crypto by market capitalization. The coin is trading at $1.13 and is up less than 1% at press time.

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Bitfinex and Tether deny the New York attorney general’s claims of a lost $850 million, and Samsung considers a Samsung Coin.

Top stories this week

Bitfinex Allegedly Covers $850 Million Loss With Tether Funds

The New York attorney general’s office alleged this week that crypto exchange Bitfinex lost $850 million and subsequently used funds from affiliated stablecoin operator Tether to secretly cover the shortfall. The attorney general’s office has obtained a court filing that alleged that Bitfinex’s operator, Tether Limited and its associated entities were in violation of New York law with activities that may have defrauded New York-based crypto investors. Bitfinex has already publicly renounced the accusations, repeating in a blog post that both its platform and Tether are financially sound and claiming the court filings are “riddled with false assertions.” Amid the allegations, Bitfinex withdrew funds worth almost $90 million from its cold wallet.

WSJ: Japanese Billionaire SoftBank Founder Lost $130 Million on Bitcoin Investment

Masayoshi Son, a Japanese billionaire and the founder of multinational conglomerate SoftBank Group, reportedly lost over $130 million with his bitcoin (BTC) investment. According to unnamed sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Son invested at the recommendation of Peter Briger, the co-chairman of asset management company Fortress Investment Group. However, Son allegedly invested in bitcoin when it was near its $20,000 all-time-high in late 2017 and sold during the 2018 bear market, losing $130 million. According to Bloomberg, Son’s net worth is $18.8 billion and has grown by more than 54% over the last year.

Report: Samsung Planning New Blockchain Mainnet Featuring Samsung Coin

According to unnamed sources speaking to a crypto industry publication, South Korean electronics giant Samsung is possibly developing a public-private blockchain with its own cryptocurrency, the Samsung Coin. The sources note that the alleged project would be developed by the company’s dedicated blockchain division, and that it would take the form of a blockchain mainnet based on Ethereum. The Ethereum-based offering, according to the reports, would probably incorporate elements of both public and private details, noting that he or she thinks “it will be hybrid — that is, a combination of public and private blockchains.”

Unconfirmed: Disney Considers $13.2 Billion Equity Deal With Stake in Korbit, Bitstamp

If a $13.2 billion equity deal goes through, cryptocurrency exchanges Korbit and Bitstamp could soon have Walt Disney Corp. as their owner. According to a Korean news outlet, the chairman of online gaming giant NXC Corporation, Jung-ju Kim, plans to sell his 98.6% stake in the company. Since NXC owns 47% of Nexon, South Korea’s largest game developer — which has stakes in the aforementioned cryptocurrency exchange — Disney would become a coincidental player in the cryptocurrency, pending the deal’s closure. To date, Disney’s only foray into the cryptocurrency sphere has been its Dragonchain blockchain, which has remained a fringe project despite a 2017 initial coin offering (ICO) raising around $13 million.

‘Blockchain Bandit’ Has Stolen 45,000 ETH by Guessing Weak Private Keys, Report Claims

According to a report released by Independent Security Evaluators, a so-called “blockchain bandit” has amassed almost 45,000 ethers (ETH) by successfully guessing weak private keys. Adrian Bednarek, a senior security analyst, discovered the hacker accidentally after uncovering 732 private keys through his research, using a combination of looking for faulty code and faulty random number generators rather than a brute force search. Looking at the findings, Bednarek realized that some of the wallets associated with the private keys he had found had a high volume of transactions going to a single address, with no money coming back out. At the end of ETH’s value, the total amount of ether allegedly stolen was equal to around $50 million.

Winners and losers

Bitcoin is a bit down at the end of the week, trading at around $5,300. Ether is trading at about $159, XRP at $0.29 and total market cap is at around $172 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are speedcash, commerce data connection and ACRE. The top three altcoin losers of the week are spectrum network, womencoin and icechain.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most memorable quotations

“We have been investing for the last year to re-architect our entire platform to support multiple blockchains in the face of global regulation. Global regulation of the cryptocurrency industry is inevitable for this truly borderless financial system to achieve mainstream adoption.”

Jonathan Levin, Chainalysis co-founder and chief operating officer

“My entire life I’ve been tracking people who are the best in the world, and hiding their identity. Finding Satoshi was a piece of cake for me.”

John McAfee, American entrepreneur and stalwart crypto advocate

"What is preventing the banking industry from rushing into it? I think it's mostly culture. I think the tipping point is about having an entrepreneurial culture, a willingness to push people to keep asking why.”

Emmanuel Aidoo, head of digital market assets at Credit Suisse

FUD of the week

Research: White Paper Writers Can Earn $50K, but Say Startups Often Mislead Investors

According to a Decrypt investigation, white paper writers are earning between $1,000 and $50,000 per job. However, a number of them have accused some startups of asking them to mislead investors. As part of the investigation, freelancers that were interviewed said that they were “constantly required to fabricate and exaggerate facts,” including the addition of fake numbers and inventing entire business models for their clients. One anonymous United States-based white paper writer noted that copyright infringement often occurs, as startup executives ask writers to include details of patented technology belonging to rival companies. Notably, those interviewed said they have reported a recent uptick in demand for white paper writing.

Coinbase Files to Close Its Political Action Committee

Major U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has filed to close its political action committee (PAC) this week. According to the filing, Coinbase’s PAC received no funds nor make any disbursements, and is now seeking to terminate the PAC. According to the regulations, a PAC must file a termination report in order to cease operations once it no longer intends to make or receive contributions or expenditures. Coinbase had formed the PAC in July of last year, becoming a founding member of the Blockchain Association in September — Washington D.C.’s first lobby group to exclusively represent the interests of the blockchain industry.

Report: India Considers Complete Ban on Digital Currencies

According to an unnamed official familiar with the matter, a draft bill that would ban cryptocurrency is allegedly circulating among various departments of the Indian government. The draft bill, dubbed the “Banning of Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill 2019,” is reportedly part of inter-ministerial consultations. A committee made up of various economic and investor protection departments of the Indian government has allegedly supported the idea to completely ban the “sale, purchase and issuance of all types of cryptocurrency.” According to the source, this committee is reportedly considering an option to ban digital currency under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, as it can be used for money laundering.

Best Cointelegraph features

IMF Spring Meetings: Digital Money Is Imminent, but No Decentralization in Sight

In some small but important steps for adoption, the IMF’s Spring Meetings touched on the positive disruption that blockchain can bring, as well as the possibilities opened by a central bank digital currency.

The Burst of the Bitcoin Bubble: An Autopsy

Marcello Minnena of the quantitative analysis and financial innovation unit in Consob gives an analysis of what’s been going on with the top crypto’s behavior and where a floor may possibly be.

Mutual Owners, Mutual Funds: What We Know About the Bitfinex/Tether Scandal

After this week’s ongoing scandal involving Bitfinex, Tether and the U.S. Attorney General, Cointelegraph gives an overview of all of the events of this relatively confusing situation.

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Most of the top 20 cryptocurrencies are reporting slight to moderate gains on the day as bitcoin holds over the $5,300 mark again.

Saturday, April 27 — most of the top 20 cryptocurrencies are reporting slight to moderate gains on the day to press time. Bitcoin (BTC) has pushed just over the $5,300 mark.

Bitcoin is up just under 1% on the day, trading at $5,306 at press time, according to CoinMarketCap. Looking at its weekly chart, the coin has seen almost no change, down just under 1%.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ether (ETH) is holding onto its position as the largest altcoin by market cap, which is nearly $16.9 billion. The second-largest altcoin, XRP, has a market cap of $12.5 billion at press time.

CoinMarketCap data shows that ETH is up nearly 3% over the last 24 hours. At press time, ETH is trading around $160. On the week, the coin has also seen its value decrease by over 7%.

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

XRP is down just 0.23% over the last 24 hours and is currently trading at around $0.297. On the week, the coin has also lost a significant almost 10 percent.

XRP 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Among the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market cap, the coins reporting the most notable price action are ontology (ONT), which is up over 11% on the day and down 12% on the week, and tezos (XTZ), which is up nearly 10% today and down almost 9% on the week.

Most other top 20 coins are up between one and three percent over the past 24 hours to press time.

At press time, the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is $172.2 billion, over 5.2% lower than the value it reported a week ago.

Total market capitalization 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, Samsung has become yet another big-name company to consider issuing its own cryptocurrency, according to a recent report.

In other crypto news, the ongoing saga surrounding crypto exchange Bitfinex and its sister company, stablecoin tether (USDT), continues to unfold. Bitfinex has been accused by the Attorney General in New York of using Tether’s cash reserves to cover a rumored $850 million funding gap with reserves meant for backing the stablecoin.

Today, April 27, Bitfinex’s CEO sent a letter to users stating that the accusations against it are “filled with inaccuracies and false assertions.”

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Hardware crypto wallet manufacturer Ledger has detected malware targeting its desktop app.

Hardware cryptocurrency wallet manufacturer Ledger has detected malware targeting its desktop application, according to a tweet on April 25.

Ledger warned its users that the malware locally replaces the Ledger Live desktop app with a malicious one, and advised to follow security practices published on its blog. The company’s Twitter announcement specifically reads:

“WARNING: we’ve detected a malware that locally replaces the Ledger Live desktop application by a malicious one. Users of infected computers are asked to enter their 24-word recovery phrase after a fake update.”

In the comments to the post, Ledger revealed that the malware is infecting only Windows machines, although the company has reportedly detected only one affected device. Ledger further noted that the malware cannot compromise users’ computers or digital currency, but only represents a phishing attack in a bid to lure users to enter their 24-words recovery phrases.

Ledger also pointed out that the malicious software does not originate from its website or servers, however the company did not discover the infection method at the time.

Last December, the research team behind the dubbed “Wallet.fail” hacking project claimed that they were reportedly able to install any firmware on a Ledger Nano S. While the team used this vulnerability to play the game Snake on the device, one member of the team that found the exploit claimed:

“We can send malicious transactions to the ST31 [the secure chip] and even confirm it ourselves [via software,] or we can even go and show a different transaction [not the one that is actually being sent] on the screen.”

The team also demonstrated that they found a vulnerability in the Ledger Blue, the most expensive hardware wallet produced by the company, that comes with a color touchscreen. The signals are transported to the screen by an unusually long trace on the motherboard, the researcher explained, which is why it leaks those signals as radio waves.

When a USB cable is attached to the device, the aforementioned leaked signals purportedly get strong enough that they could be easily received from a distance of several meters.

Following the claim, Ledger claimed that the uncovered vulnerabilities in its hardware wallets are not critical. The reason Ledger said that the vulnerability was not critical is that “they did not succeed to extract any seed nor PIN on a stolen device” and “sensitive assets stored on the Secure Element remain secure.”

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South Korean electronics giant Samsung might become the next multinational conglomerate to issue its own cryptocurrency token.

Samsung is another big-name company to consider issuing its own cryptocurrency. Similar stories have already emanated from the likes of Facebook and JPMorgan Chase, with analysts speculating on various use cases for these cryptocurrency tokens.

While not yet confirmed officially, a “Samsung Coin” could find application as a payment means on the company’s app store and traded on cryptocurrency exchanges. The company has revealed that its flagship Galaxy S10 smartphone will have a built-in cryptocurrency wallet.

With these mega-corporations delving into the blockchain scene, it is perhaps important to see how their virtual currency implementation compares with each other and the rest of the virtual currency ecosystem.

Samsung readies new ETH-based blockchain mainnet and cryptocurrency token

On Wednesday (April 24, 2019), an inside source within Samsung revealed that the company’s blockchain division was developing an Ethereum-based blockchain mainnet. According to the source, the project would also create a virtual asset dubbed “Samsung Coin.”

Currently, the Samsung hierarchy has offered no confirmation of the proposed blockchain mainnet and token. However, the reports appear to be consistent with the recent activities of the company in the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology space.

Answering questions at the Blockchain Expo in London on Thursday (April 25, 2019), the business development and fintech chief at Samsung SDS Europe, Moritz von Widekind, said the company hadn’t decided on anything concrete yet.

According to the Samsung executive, various departments within the company are working on the project. Von Widekind also added that the proposed token could be launched on the company’s NextLedger enterprise blockchain platform.

Samsung recently participated in a $4 million investment round for ZenGo — a smartphone cryptocurrency wallet app. NextLedger continues to receive significant interest from companies around the world, most recently by Indian IT behemoth Mahindra.

In the absence of an official word from Samsung, it is impossible to know for certain the way in which the rumored token would work. However, given the electronic giant’s business model, there are some plausible assumptions to be made.

Samsung Coin could be used as a payment token within the company’s payment app, Samsung Pay. The token may also be traded publicly on cryptocurrency exchanges across the market.

Like the proposed Facebook Coin, no one can know for sure how the “tokenomics” of the cryptocurrency would work. If it turns out to be a payment coin, can it compete with the likes of bitcoin?

Facebook making another play at a payment system

Back in December 2018, Cointelegraph began reporting that Facebook, the largest social media platform in the world, was looking to launch its own in-app virtual currency. Like Samsung Coin, there isn’t any official word on what form of crypto-related project could best describe the Facebook Coin (FB Coin).

Some analysts and commentators say FB Coin will be a stablecoin pegged to a basket of fiat currencies and used for money transfers within the platform’s apps. Such a move could potentially be a huge deal in the cross-border remittance market.

According to the World Payment Report (WPR) of 2018, global mobile money transactions topped $41 billion in 2016. This figure formed more than 8% of all noncash transactions, showing the growing appeal of e-wallet transactions.

The WPR study also showed that large tech firms like Google, Facebook and Tencent accounted for more than 70% of the global money transfer market as far back as 2016. An excerpt from the report reads:

“These companies are leveraging their large-platform user base to make an impact in the payments space, focusing on providing seamless user experience, value-added features, and making use of network effects. Incumbents should learn from the BigTechs and invest in technology platforms in order to compete with them.”

The proposed FB Coin isn’t the company’s first foray into the digital currency scene. Back in 2011-2012, the social media giant launched FacebookCredits and Facebook Gifts.

However, the company discontinued the FacebookCredits service in 2012. The company did launch a peer-to-peer (p2p) payments service for the Messenger platform in 2015 but recently announced that it would also be shutting it down.

Some commentators even identified Facebook’s decision to discontinue the Messenger payment service as a clear indication of the imminent launch of its cryptocurrency token. Earlier in April, Nathaniel Propper of The New York Times declared that Facebook was on the hunt for $1 billion in venture capital funding for the proposed token.

According to Propper’s Twitter account:

“One person I spoke with said that Facebook is talking about using the money as collateral for its cryptocurrency. Facebook has been designing the coin to keep a stable value, pegged to a basket of foreign currencies held in bank accounts.”

Has blockchain technology finally helped Facebook crack the code for establishing a functioning digital payment system? Does the social media giant now possess the requisite expertise to run a remittance platform or is FB Coin going to find some other user outside the payment arena? Only time will tell.

Consumer use case for private blockchain cryptocurrencies

In mid-February 2019, Wall Street giant JPMorgan Chase announced its own cryptocurrency, becoming the first United States bank to adopt virtual currency in business operations. According to the bank, JPM Coin will run on Quorom, an Ethereum-powered private blockchain.

Unlike FB Coin, a lot is known about the plans JPMorgan Chase has for its cryptocurrency. JPM Coin, which is a stablecoin, will first be deployed in the bank’s internal settlement protocols to increase the efficiency of the overall process.

Right off the bat, some commentators expressed the position that JPM Coin could challenge bitcoin and XRP in the payment arena. However, by even JPMorgan Chase’s own submission, the adoption of JPM Coin will be restricted to its large corporate clients.

There are, however, future plans to move the utilization of JPM Coin beyond the internal transactional paradigm in use at JPMorgan Chase. An excerpt from the project’s FAQ reads:

“Over time, JPM Coin will be extended to other major currencies. The product and technology capabilities are currency agnostic.”

On Thursday (April 25, 2019), Cointelegraph also reported that footwear giant Nike is looking to launch its own cryptocurrency. Nike has reportedly filed a trademark with the U.S. Patent Office for “Cryptokicks.”

An examination of the filing document shows Cryptokicks being described using language that points to its being some form of cryptocurrency or digital payment system.

The democratization of payments on the global level is one of the foundational principles of bitcoin and blockchain-based currencies in general. Thus, the question of how the cryptocurrency tokens being created by these companies fits into such a philosophy is becoming pertinent.

According to Jerry Brito of Coin Center, these companies are creating in-house payment systems and are pale imitations of real cryptos like bitcoin. Commenting back in February, Brito opined:

“There’s a lot of confusion. [...] I see folks referring to it as a cryptocurrency. It’s not a cryptocurrency. A cryptocurrency is one that is open and permissionless. If you want to download it, you don’t need permission, you just need some software.”

Some critics suppose there is no decentralization and label such efforts as being akin to companies that hedged their bets with the private intranet being more successful than the public internet in the 1990s. Just as the public internet became more popular and more successful than enterprise intranet protocols, some critics say permissioned blockchains will end up playing second fiddle to their public, permissionless counterparts.

Samsung could well be aware of this notion and would perhaps be more amenable to accepting a hybrid enterprise blockchain than a purely permissioned one. Cointelegraph contacted Samsung for further comments on the matter, but hasn’t received any as of press time.

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DLT-based trade finance network Marco Polo has onboarded three new members for piloting and evaluating purposes.

Distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based trade finance network Marco Polo has onboarded three new members for piloting and evaluating purposes, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reports on April 26.

Marco Polo Network is a joint undertaking with tech firm TradeIX, enterprise software company R3, and other 20 international financial institutions. The initiative provides a multi-asset class platform that offers broker dealer services, multi currency transactions, including equities, options, futures, and other related services.

In an official announcement, the company revealed that it was joined by financial services provider for the Bavarian and German economies, BayernLB, one of the leading banks in the German city of Frankfurt, Helaba, and the largest back office service provider within the Savings Banks Finance Group, S-Servicepartner.

Commenting on the cooperation, Florian Seitz, Head of Trade & Export Finance, BayernLB reportedly said that “joining the Marco Polo Network considerably enhances our range of digital solutions to the benefit of our customers. It allows us to settle trade finance transactions securely and transparently.”

Yesterday, Cointelegraph reported that major Japanese bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), will leverage R3’s Marco Polo blockchain network for trade finance. The product successfully conducted its first trade finance operations in late March, an operation involving two German firms and local bank Commerzbank.

In March, Switzerland's principal stock exchange, SIX Swiss Exchange, chose to use blockchain consortium R3’s Corda Enterprise platform for its blockchain-based digital exchange. In February, the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance joined blockchain consortium R3 to develop applications and solutions on their Corda platform.

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The Ministry of Finance in Austria is considering the establishment of a regulatory sandbox for the fintech industry.

The Ministry of Finance in Austria is considering establishing a regulatory sandbox for the fintech industry, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reports on April 26.

The country’s Finance Minister Hartwig Loeger said that the FinTech Advisory Council — which was formed by the Ministry of Finance last year — will aid in the development of relevant rules to steer the “young financial market around digitized financial services,” including initial coin offerings (ICOs) and digital currencies to facilitate their growth. State Secretary Hubert Fuchs said:

“For some companies in the fintech industry, it is particularly difficult to keep track of all regulatory requirements and developments right from the start. Many of them give up and discard their business models. We want to take countermeasures against this.”

In the regulatory sandbox, fintech companies will purportedly be able to test and train their business models for a limited period under the supervision of the FMA. The announcement refers to the concept of a regulatory sandbox developed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom, and reveals that an expert from the FCA was therefore also involved in the development of the Austrian sandbox.

To become a participant of the sandbox, companies will have to fulfill certain requirements, such as the development of a business model based on information, communication, or blockchain technology, among others.

Loeger also stated that “the digitization of the financial services sector is one of the most crucial areas for the future of Austria. In the future, fintechs will be able to test their innovative business models in a sandbox.”

Earlier this week, Cointelegraph reported that Moscow and three other Russian regions will legally pilot the use of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in regulatory sandboxes.

In February, Bahrain’s central bank revealed plans to launch a regulatory sandbox to allow blockchain and crypto companies to work in the country, pending formalized regulations. The initiative will purportedly enable firms "to test their solution on a limited number of users, with a limited number of transactions.”

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