Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen had some positive words to say about the blockchain on Wednesday during an appearance at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. After delivering a speech in which she opined on everything from the strength of the economy to the Federal Reserve’s plans for interest rates, Yellen sat down to discuss those and other important issues with Ed Wasserman, the event moderator and Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley.
The Times of India is reporting that the research arm of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has concluded its first trade application test of blockchain technology. The end-to-end test was conducted in collaboration with banks and other financial institutions, clearing houses, and regulators, and was facilitated by the RBI’s Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT). The project received technical support from cryptocurrency firm MonetaGo, which provided the technology used in the test.
Interview with Movie Producer Tony Caradonna – First Ethereum Financed Movie ‘The Pitts Circus’ with ROI
The Ethereum platform is supporting many exciting new developments. We caught up with Tony Caradonna from ‘A Ken Evil Thing’ to discuss a movie that he is working as producer on called ‘The Pitts Circus’.
In a report from Grand View Research published last month, the authors project that the blockchain industry could experience growth over the next decade that would result in its value rising to as much as $7.74 billion by 2024. The report projects that much of that growth will be fueled by financial sector interest in the blockchain in the Asia-Pacific market and North America as a host of factors combine to promote greater acceptance and adoption of the technology.
London-based p2p marketplace Cashaa recently announced that the company is preparing to launch its services in India and Nigeria next week. The launch is formally scheduled for January 18, and will see the company bring its unique zero-fee cash transfer services to cash senders and recipients in those two important countries. According to information provided by Cashaa, the service’s testing period resulted in more than 10,000 trader sign-ups, and transfers of some $2 million made using the company’s blockchain-powered platform.
The Depository Trust and Clearing Corp (DTCC) announced on Monday that it will be replacing its existing databases with a blockchain-based system, in a process that is expected to see the new system in use next year. The company is a post-trade service provider that records and reports information for virtually all securities trading activities in the United States. DTCC has selected IBM to work on the project in collaboration with tech firms R3 CEV and Axoni, with work scheduled to begin later this month and conclude sometime in the first part of 2018.
The Criminal Intelligence Service Canada states that financial crimes committed by organized crime groups are costing Canadians around $5 billion a year. They further state that every one of these groups in Canada participates in some form of financial crime. Using the internet, they can actively and successfully reroute money to foreign countries, or try to legitimize it (launder it) through the stock market, online gambling sites, and anywhere else that presents an opportunity.
Many government officials are pointing a finger at digital currencies such as bitcoin as a haven for money launderers, even though it has an open, permanent, immutable ledger of every transaction that has ever occurred.
In the wake of several days of dramatic action in the Bitcoin markets, China’s central bank issued a strong warning to the nation’s investors as it urged them to adopt a rational approach with respect to digital currency investments. According to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the fluctuations in Bitcoin’s prices have been abnormal of late, and that abnormality should cause investors to be more cautious in their decision-making process.
Hyperinflation has destroyed the economic prosperity of Venezuelans. The oil-rich nation is now home to some of the highest crime rates in the world, and the banknotes required to conduct everyday life there are reminiscent of Germany’s Weimar Republic. Venezuela’s government has proven itself inept by printing money and spending themselves to oblivion, and by making everyday trade more difficult in their attempts to curtail the resulting hyperinflation. We heard from Leon about the challenges his family are facing in Venezuela, and how his discovery of Bitcoin has given him new hope for his family’s future.
According to 2016 estimates from the Center for Financial Inclusion, roughly 70% of people throughout Latin America suffer from a lack of basic banking services. While other estimates have been somewhat more optimistic, the general view seems to be that more than 200 million people in the region remain unbanked. Bitcoin payments service BitPagos is looking to change that dynamic by using its $1.9 million Series A round of funding to expand its services in Latin America and help serve the region’s unbanked and underserviced population.
When Sweden’s Riksbank announced in November that the nation might be launching its own digital currency within the next two years, many in the FinTech community reacted positively. The central bank at the time noted that they were considering the creation of the eKrona due to the 40% reduction in cash transactions that the nation had experienced over the last seven years. Since the public already seemed to be moving away from cash and to other payment methods like credit cards and online commerce, the idea of issuing a new electronic currency seemed like a move that everyone could get behind.
Late this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app – the next phase in the country’s forced demonetization effort. The app will enable consumers to use a smartphone for all their financial transactions, with security based on either a PIN code or biometric authentication. Modi unveiled the new app while on stage at the 6th Digi Dhan Mela in New Delhi on December 30, 2016, using a Google Pixel to demonstrate to the audience how quickly a simple transaction could be made.
In a recent report titled Hong Kong Banking Outlook 2017, KPMG expresses an optimistic view of Hong Kong’s progress in the adoption of FinTech, but also urged caution in its future handling of blockchain technology. The report noted the financial industry’s increased interest in distributed ledger technology, and the accompanying rise in FinTech investment throughout Hong Kong – investment that has helped to jump-start FinTech innovation in the region. KPMG’s analysis anticipates future investment growth over the coming year.
Estonia will play host to its first major blockchain conference next year, as developers, blockchain experts, and entrepreneurs will come together in the capital city of Tallinn on March 9, 2016. Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Tallinn will focus on blockchain solutions for government, and commercial applications for industries ranging from banking, healthcare, and trading to logistics and notary services.
As President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet picks continue to be announced one-by-one, many digital currency enthusiasts have been searching for any signs that might indicate how the new administration will address cryptocurrency and blockchain concerns. The recent selection of Republican Representative Mick Mulvaney to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has already been favorably reviewed by many in the Bitcoin community, since Mulvaney is a well-known proponent of Bitcoin.
Euroclear recently completed its initial pilot test for Euroclear Blockchain, the company’s new London-based bullion settlement service. That two-week pilot involved major players in the London market like Citi, Scotiabank, MKS PAMP Group, and others, with more than 600 over-the-counter bullion trade transactions successfully settled using Euroclear Blockchain. The service meshes Euroclear’s settlement systems with the Paxos distributed ledger platform, and is the first of a planned series of products that the company plans to introduce to the gold markets.
Reuters is reporting that its sources say Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan have joined with a group of financial firms to provide investment funding for New-York based tech company Axoni. The funding commitment is expected to be announced sometime this week, and will involve as much as $20 million in investment capital. Reuters sources reportedly asked to remain anonymous, as they had no authority to publicize the deal, and Axoni has refused to confirm or deny the report.
The UK’s Channel Islands has now given its approval for Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Fund (GABI) to be listed on CISE – the Channel Islands Securities Exchange. That approval makes GABI the first such fund to achieve listing on a global exchange, and the very first digital asset listing on the Channel Islands exchange. That listing became active today at 8 AM GMT. Commenting on the move, CISE CEO Fiona Le Poidevin said, “I have followed GABI since its prominent launch and it is very exciting that we are able to play a part in the next chapter of this innovative structure.”
With last February’s successful “proof of technology” blockchain test under its belt, UK-based ICAP is reportedly set to begin using the technology to handle thousands of forex trades. The group, which will be known as NEX Group beginning in January, will be working with the US company Axoni and will utilize ICAP’s Traiana messaging hub subsidiary to facilitate blockchain foreign exchange trades. The plan also involves providing ICAP’s customers with the code needed to access unique nodes on the blockchain, which will allow them to track and assess spot market deals.
With the Danish central bank all set to turn over responsibility for minting the nation’s coins to Finland beginning in 2017, Denmark’s commitment to becoming cash-free seems as firm as ever. 80% of the country’s financial transactions are already being made using electronic payments, credit and debit cards, and other alternatives to physical currency. As Denmark’s reliance on cash continues to diminish, central bank Governor Lars Rohde has highlighted the bank’s interest in exploring the potential benefits of a blockchain-based e-currency that is being referred to as the e-krone.