Chinese Payment Provider LianLian Pay Joins Ripple Blockchain Network

Despite the fact that China plans to crack down on overseas cryptocurrency trading, Chinese payment provider LianLian joined RippleNet, which is a payment service that facilitates cross-border transactions.

According to Coindesk, LianLian Pay announced it will join Ripple’s xCurrent solution. The goal is to provide same-day cross-border transactions for its existing customers.

Since 2003, People’s Bank of China-authorized LianLian has operated as a third-party payment solution for its e-commerce partners, and this new technology will help give customers even more payment options.

CEO of LianLian, Arthur Zhu said, “With RippleNet, we will further enhance that experience by offering customers instant, blockchain-powered payments across the 19 currencies that we currently support.”

This move allows existing RippleNet customers access to the Chinese market, which could be big news for Ripple as well as LianLian. This exciting announcement means that Ripple’s xCurrent solution has over 100 customers, and looks poised to grow even more in the future.

 

Blockchain Cold War: Scare Tactics Or Real Threat?

Could there be a Blockchain Cold War coming? One former Bush security advisor warns of the possibility.

Juan Zarate, a former deputy assistant to U.S. President George W. Bush and a former deputy national security advisor for combating terrorism, is credited with helping create sanctions that cut off terrorist funding in the post 9/11 era.

However, now Zarate fears that blockchain technology could undo all the work he did to put pressure on enemies of the state.

Zarate, a Coinbase advisor since 2014, told Coindesk, “There are nefarious actors out there, including state actors like North Korea and Iran that are looking to the use of digital currencies and related technologies, at a minimum as a way of circumventing the current global order which limits their access to capital. But ?these capabilities and technologies could also be a way for them to try to undermine global financial commercial systems at some point.”

Despite his concerns, Zarate does support blockchain technology, but he just wants to ensure it isn’t used by those with evil intentions to carry out terrible crimes. He also believes that governments must be transparent in blockchain usage because of the ease with which governments are able to use cryptocurrency to avoid sanctions.

In fact, reports point to a Bitcoin war chest that North Korea is amassing to avoid sanctions.

While Zarate feels optimistic about crypto, he said, “we need greater transparency and not less, if we hope for these technologies to take hold.”

Overall, while blockchain technology is exciting, without proper technology it could have unintended consequences on the US and World economies should it be used inappropriately in the future.

 

Hong Kong To Delist ICO Tokens Deemed Securities

Hong Kong made strong moves to step up regulation on initial coin offerings (ICOs), which it deems securities.

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) released a statement revealing it sent warnings to seven exchanges that were based in or strongly connected with Hong Kong warning them to delist tokens affiliated with ICOs.

According to Coindesk, the move was part of a larger push for the SFC to warn consumers about the risks of cryptocurrency investing.

The statement said, ”Most of these cryptocurrency exchanges either confirmed that they did not provide trading services for such cryptocurrencies or took immediate rectification measures, including removing relevant cryptocurrencies from their platforms.”

In addition to the exchanges, the SFC also contacted seven ICO organizers who are soliciting investments using coins the commission considers to be securities.

Ashley Alder, the SFC’s Chief Executive Officer said, “We will continue to police the market and enforce when necessary. But we are also urging market professionals to do proper gatekeeping to prevent frauds or dubious fundraising and to assist us in ensuring compliance with the law.”

It looks like, at least in Hong Kong, that ICOs fall under securities regulations, and will have to operate as such. ICOs are also seen as securities in many other places throughout the world although many investors enjoy them as a way to grow their crypto portfolios while supporting ideas and technologies they feel are strong.

Could Dark Pool Pave Wave For Huge Crypto Boon?

The cryptocurrency market tends to get spooked when large trades occur. However, one new ICO hopes to change that with its latest blockchain technology.

According to Coindesk, Republic Protocol completed an ICO for its token called REN to the tune of $30.5 million. The goal is to allow for huge crypto trades with less of a downside.

Taiyang Zhang, CEO of Republic Protocol told Coindesk, “One of the biggest problems is there is a huge price slippage with any of these cryptocurrencies, especially when you are trying to trade large amounts.”

REN would allow for a trustless alternative system for crypto trading. Market volatility causes issues for whale traders in that the rest of the market follows causing prices to steeply drop, so of course, a solution to that is beneficial for the market as a whole.

The new platform will allow traders to send specific detailed parameters of a trade to the dark pool. The dark pool works to find the best trades based on a trader’s parameters, or it will decline the trade if it’s not possible. All of this will happen without people seeing what a trader is willing to do.

Zhang said, ”I think what’s really important is it’s provable that no one can see inside this dark pool at all. There’s no information asymmetry. Everyone gets the same information.Where a dark pool could be very handy is, instead of negotiating prices or even trusting OTC (over-the-counter) brokers, it’s a way to place an order trustlessly.”

Plans for the platform to go live in Q3 of 2018. Could you see using the dark pool for large trades?

Ripple Signs Payment Agreement With UAE Exchange

Ripple, the company behind XRP, signed an agreement with UAE Exchange for cross-border payments.

UAE joined the RippleNet network, which powers real-time international payments using blockchain technology, according to Business Insider.

In a statement, UAE Exchange CEO Promoth Manghat said, “Incorporating Ripple’s blockchain technology into our payments systems will bring customers an enhanced, new payments experience. The early adoption of this game-changing technology allows us to offer a competitive service, as it will have an impact on the speed and cost of cross-border transactions.”

By 2020, UAE Exchange plans to own 10% of the global remittance market, which is worth $575 billion a year. Currently, the exchange owns about 6.75% of that market with more than 800 branches throughout 30 countries.

This deal doesn’t include UAE Exchange using XRP in its processes. The cryptocurrency is not used in international transfers. Even so, the deal is good overall for Ripple and blockchain technology.

In a statement, Dilip Rao, global head of infrastructure innovation at Ripple, said, ”Adding a market leader like UAE Exchange to RippleNet will bring instant, certain, low-cost payments to the millions of retail customers in the UAE who send money abroad.”

10 months ago

Samsung Mining Chips In The Works

As rumored for months, tech giant, Samsung, is getting in on the cryptocurrency mining business

According to The Bell reports, unidentified Samsung officials revealed the company partnered with a Chinese company to mass produce mining chips called application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs).

It could be that the company has multiple partnerships to produce the ASICs because in December reports surfaced that a Russian bitcoin mining company called Baikal partnered for production of the chips.

Last fall, Samsung sparked talk of possible mining equipment production when it unveiled a rig created with old Android smartphones at a U.S. dev conference.

This move to producing chips for crypto mining poises Samsung as a likely industry leader as huge competition for the China-based Bitmain. Given it already creates so many chip products with huge facilities, Samsung holds a distinct advantage over any competitors.

Of course, the biggest question is, will these new ASICs allow mining to be cost-effective? If so, then Samsung likely has a huge hit on its hands.

 

Samsung Confirms Crypto Mining Chips Production

After months of rumors and speculation, tech giant Samsung confirmed it is manufacturing ASIC cryptocurrency mining chips.

According to Tech Crunch, a company spokesperson said, “Samsung’s foundry business is currently engaged in the manufacturing of cryptocurrency mining chips. However, we are unable to disclose further details regarding our customers.”

Currently dominated by Chinese companies Bitmain and Canaan Creative, Samsung brings name-brand competition in the ASIC market at this moment — a space where the company appears poised to dominate.

The company’s recent 4th quarter and fiscal year 2017 results report noted an increase in demand for cryptocurrency mining, and it looks like the brand plans to cash in on the big money involved in the industry.

While the company declined to provide any specifics on the ASIC project, Samsung joins rival Taiwanese giant TSMC in an attempt to grab a piece of the cryptocurrency pie, which could be great news for miners.

FedEx Moves With Plans To Integrate Blockchain With Shipping

FedEx plans to move forward to integrate blockchain technologies with its mammoth global shipping operation.

According to Coindesk, the company joined the  Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), and it’s begun developing a set of industry standards for blockchain usage.

FedEx Vice-president of strategic planning and analysis Dale Chrystie said, “We have millions of records a day in our system, and we think of blockchain as a secure chain of custody that could transform the logistics industry. We believe it holds a lot of promise in that space and would streamline all that data exchange in a very secure way.”

Currently, the company has a pilot program that uses blockchain technology to store data for dispute resolution. The idea is to provide a permanent ledger to help in customer disputes as they send and receive goods through FedEx.

Additionally, this ledger would allow customers to more accurately track packages even before they’re in the company’s possession. Ultimately, the company hopes to apply the technology to many different activities within its ecosystem, which would likely make for a more secure and convenient customer experience.

U.K. Based Lloyds Banking Group Blocks Credit Card Bitcoin Purchases

In somewhat bad news for Bitcoin and the crypto market, U.K.’s Lloyds Banking Group barred customers from purchasing cryptocurrency using credit cards.

The bank joins U.S. financial firms Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan, Capital One and Discover that recently announced similar bans.

According to a BBC report, this new ban hits 8 million credit card customers of Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and MBNA. The good news, however, is that customers may still use their debit cards for the transactions.

As of February 5, 2018, the entire crypto market is more than 50 percent lower than its all-time highs in early January 2018. The sharp decline could be what prompted the bank to make such a move in order to prevent its customers from accruing huge debts as losses mount.

In explanation, a Lloyds spokeswoman said: “We continually review our products and procedures and this is part of that.”

This change in policy joins other crypto policy changes in China where the government may prevent its citizens from investing in overseas exchanges for crypto trading.

Crypto Falls On News Of China Blocking Overseas Trading

News from Chinese government negatively affected crypto trading on Monday. Reports reveal that the government plans to block its citizens from accessing overseas exchanges.

According to a Coindesk report, this move is a further crackdown on policies that started about a year ago.

A Financial News report tied to China’s central bank said, ”To prevent financial risks, China will step up measures to remove any onshore or offshore platforms related to virtual currency trading or ICOs.”

Several months ago China formally banned ICOs as a form of illegal financing, and this latest crackdown further calls into question the state of crypto in China — one of the world’s largest markets.

The government is targeting offshore exchanges that cater to its citizens after it formally closed exchanges in China last fall.

Right now it’s unclear if this ban is temporary or permanent.

This news added with the additional bad news of major banks banning users from using credit cards to buy cryptocurrency, caused BTC prices to fall to under $7,400.