Crypto Exchange Bitstamp to Integrate New Platform for Market Monitoring

European cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp will integrate a new platform to improve compliance and customer protection, according to a press release published Nov. 27.

Bitstamp has formed a partnership with British market surveillance firm Irisium Ltd. in an effort to improve the safety and reliability of its marketplace. The exchange will deploy Irisium’s platform to monitor market activity and attract more institutional investors.

Commenting on the collaboration, Alastair Goodwin, CEO of Irisium Ltd, said that the adoption of Irisium’s platform will help “increase transparency, integrity and confidence in the cryptocurrency market,” eventually improving market liquidity and adoption.

Founded in 2011, Bitstamp is purportedly the largest crypto exchange by trading volume in the E.U., supporting trading for Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), U.S. dollars and euro.

Recently the exchange was acquired by Belgium-based investment firm NXMH, which is in turn a subsidiary of investment bank Barclays. The firm is a also a subsidiary of Korea-based media giant NXC Corp., which bought a 65.19 percent stake in South Korean crypto exchange Korbit last year.

In August, Bitstamp along with crypto exchanges Gemini, Bittrex, and bitFlyer USA established a self-regulatory organization dubbed the Virtual Commodity Association Working Group for digital commodities, such as cryptocurrencies. The organization aims to help large-scale investors get more comfortable with the crypto market and work on formulating industry standards.

In May, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME Group) in partnership with U.K.-based Crypto Facilities launched the CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate and Real Time Index to provide users access to a real-time ETH price in U.S. dollars. Both rates are set to be calculated by Crypto Facilities, and based on transactions and order book activity from crypto exchanges Bitstamp and Kraken.



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Gibraltar Stock Exchange’s Blockchain Platform Secures License From Financial Regulator

The Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX) has secured a license from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC), according to a company blog post Nov. 22.

The GBX was established in July of this year by the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX). The platform first announced its blockchain trading platform in November 2017, aiming to “become the world’s first nationally regulated digital asset marketplace and ecosystem.”

“As from 21st November 2018, the GBX will operate as a fully licenced provider of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission under Gibraltar’s Financial Services Regulations 2018 DLT framework,” the announcement reads.

Per the statement, the move makes the GSX the first regulated stock exchange to own and operates a regulated blockchain exchange.

Currently the GBX supports trading in six digital assets, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and the exchange’s native Rock (RKT) token, with plans to add more fiat currency onboarding options, in addition to USD, “in the near future.”

Gibraltar is known for its push to develop a blockchain and cryptocurrency-friendly environment. In February, Gibraltar’s government and the GFSC announced the creation of a draft law that will regulate Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in the British overseas territory.

One of the principal aspects of Gibraltar’s ICO regulations is said to be the introduction of the concept of “authorized sponsors,” who are supposed to be “responsible for assuring compliance with disclosure and financial crime rules.”

By March – ahead of the planned launch of the GBX – Gibraltar had attracted “200” prospective  ICOs, which reflected “huge” interest in launching token sales under the territory’s newly regulated ICO environment.



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BitPay Integrates PAX Stablecoin Into Cryptocurrency Payment Platform

Bitcoin payment platform BitPay is now going to allow payments with the Paxos Standard token (PAX), which it calls “the fastest growing stablecoin and the highest trading volume of any U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin.”

Although BitPay has previously integrated a number of different cryptocurrencies in its platform, such a widely trafficked stablecoin (the first of its kind to see support from the payment platform) holds certain distinct advantages, namely regulatory compliance and a stable value. Seeing as each PAX token represents $1, merchants and customers might feel more comfortable transacting the token in lieu of other cryptocurrencies, which are often subject to volatile price swings.

An important credential that comes with PAX’s name is its regulatory compliance, as it is “issued directly by a regulated Trust company and is approved for issuance by the New York State Department Financial Services.” Although there are several prominent stablecoins in the space, Paxos is the first to have this level of authenticity.

The release commented little on the future plans of BitPay’s new partnership, but the adoption of a prominent stablecoin is a logical next move. Stablecoins have recently been drawing the interest of the space, with more and more attempts to launch cryptocurrencies that can successfully maintain a peg with fiat.

Combining the most prominent sales platform for cryptocurrency with a fast-growing and well-regulated stablecoin is an advantageous match, one that would ideally attract more merchants and consumers to the platform now that they have a price stable cryptocurrency to transact.

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Options Are the Answer for Dealing with ‘Bearish’ Crypto Market, Trading Platform Says

A new blockchain asset trading platform says it is determined to help investors navigate the “bearish” cryptocurrency market – and says options could enable traders to protect and grow their assets.

Options are a form of financial derivative where buyers have a right to buy or sell a financial asset at an agreed-upon price for a set amount of time. However, as part of these contracts, they are not obligated to complete a transaction.

According to JEX, the platform which is bringing options trading to the cryptocurrency world, this method helps investors to limit their losses while maximizing their potential profits – of course, this is not to say that there are no significant risks involved.

At present, the company believes there are issues in the token trading market. JEX’s executives argue that there is a disappointing lack of variety in the products available to investors, inadequate leverage and a dearth of short-selling mechanisms.

JEX selects the underlying assets used for options based on three requirements. First, there needs to be trading pairs between a cryptocurrency and USDT – and these need to be available on large trading platforms with adequate levels of liquidity.

Emphasis on simplicity and usability

JEX says its goal is to ensure that the products on offer are simple to understand – as this enables ordinary investors to participate on its platform.

The website has established a range of training courses to help those who are new to the crypto world understand how options work – and texts, videos, and comics are also available. Any users with burning questions can also access explanations from a team of professional instructors. JEX has also made trial trading accounts available to first-time investors, enabling them to experience a real-world environment and see how the decisions they make correlate into profits and losses.

Keeping trading costs low is also a stated priority for JEX, and this is why the platform has launched a dedicated token for its platform. Investors who use this token have the opportunity to receive discounts on the fees they pay when completing a trade.

Other services are also available on the derivatives trading platform. Among them are cryptocurrency spot trading, as well as index trading. JEX says that futures trading is one of the services it plans to roll out in the future – and applicants have been invited to participate in beta testing, where they receive virtual funds to play with. Rewards are being offered to anyone who spots bugs or suggests improvements to the contract.

About JEX

The company currently employs 50 people – and many members of its core team used to work for OKCoin.

JEX says its staff has extensive experience in designing, developing and operating trading platforms for blockchain assets and derivatives – adding that its infrastructure provides users with a “safe, steady and reliable” service.

The startup recently completed a round of financing with angel investors – Huobi and Node Capital among them.

As well as offering weekly reports on its platform via Medium, and posting regular price and market analysis on Twitter, JEX has Telegram groups in three languages: English, Japanese, Russian and Korean. The company is based in Hong Kong.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.



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BBVA and Santander Join EU Joint Blockchain Platform Set to Launch in 2019

Banking groups BBVA and Banco Santander have joined the E.U. International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (IATBA), Spanish economic newspaper Expansion writes Nov. 20.

The representatives of two Spanish banking groups were invited to an E.U. blockchain roundtable held in Brussels by Mariya Gabriel, the commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, and Roberto Viola, director of the E.U. Department of Communications Networks, Content and Technology.

According to a BBVA press release, during the meeting  E.U. officials revealed that the IATBA will launch in the first financial quarter of 2019. The main aim of the association is to develop E.U. blockchain regulation, along with preparing the launch of E.U.-wide blockchain applications.

According to Expansion, BBVA and Santander are among the first five banks invited to join IATBA. The other members of the association have not yet been disclosed.

IATBA is an initiative promoted by the European Blockchain Partnership — a collaboration of 27 E.U. countries, including UK, France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Ireland. As Cointelegraph previously reported, the states cooperate to establish “a European Blockchain Services Infrastructure that will support the delivery of cross-border digital public services, with the highest standards of security and privacy.”

While the CEO of BBVA has previously noted some of the challenges and limitations of blockchain technology, the firm has already tested several blockchain solutions. In June, the bank partnered with Spanish energy company Repsol to test different blockchain technologies, namely Hyperledger and Ethereum.

Most recently, BBVA carried out a $150 million loan on a private blockchain network through a group of three funding banks including French banking group BNP Paribas and Japan’s bank holding Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG).

Santander is also interested in decentralized technologies. In July, it joined IBM’s Blockchain Platform along with four other banks, and created a research team to explore the use of blockchain in securities trading.



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Retail Giant Carrefour Launches Blockchain Food Tracking Platform for Poultry in Spain

Retail giant Carrefour, headquartered in France and operating in more than 30 countries, is deploying a blockchain food tracking platform based on Hyperledger in its Spanish network, a press release states Tuesday, Nov. 20.

The food tracking solution, initially developed by U.S. tech corporation IBM, will be used to track free-range chickens branded as “Calidad y Origen” (“Quality and Origin”) that were raised in the northern region of Galicia without antibiotic treatment. Each package in the Spanish network will be marked by a QR code providing detailed info on the chicken’s date of birth, type of nutrition, packing date, and more.

In the press release, Carrefour writes that blockchain is a key technology for supply chains, as it provides greater transparency and allows customers to review the entire distribution process. In the nearest future, the company is planning to extend the use of decentralized technologies, implementing them to all food from the “Calidad y Origen” line.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier, Carrefour already tested blockchain tracking for French poultry in early 2018, expressing its commitment to decentralized solutions.

In October, the retail giant announced it was joining IBM’s blockchain-based Food Trust that had been created back in 2016. Since the launch of the trials in August, the program has been joined by major retailers and companies, such as Nestle SA, Unilever NV, and Walmart.

Other firms with large supply chains have often applied blockchain in order to increase transparency, cut costs, and reduce time spent on food delivery. For instance, Walmart uses a farm-to-store blockchain tracking system for its leafy greens, while U.S. fast-casual salad chain Sweetgreen is planning to trace its salads in the same way.

As well, the world’s four largest agriculture companies, mostly known as ABCD, use blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) to automate grain and oilseed post-trade execution processes, considered to be a highly manual and costly part of the supply chain.



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Siemens Joins Blockchain-Driven Energy Platform to Increase Interoperability in Industry

Two energy divisions of German tech giant Siemens have joined a blockchain-driven energy platform to promote the use of decentralized technologies in the sector, according to a press release published Wednesday, Nov. 21.

According to Siemens, its Energy Management and Power Generation Services departments are partnering with open-source, scalable blockchain platform Energy Web Foundation (EWF), founded in 2017 to elaborate regulatory, operational, and market solutions for the energy sector.

Siemens officials believe that blockchain technology will help increase interoperability in the area, linking consumers with energy producers and network operators, the press release writes. Moreover, the technology could help increase the efficiency of energy systems and enable new forms of project financing.

The statement also notes that Siemens is already using blockchain accompanied by microgrid control solutions to optimize control over energy consumption. For instance, in 2016, the German firm collaborated with U.S. startup LO3 Energy to develop microgrids

that enable local trading between energy consumers and producers on a blockchain platform. The solution was trialed in one of New York’s boroughs, Brooklyn, enabled to feed the excess electricity back into the local grid and receive payments from its purchasers.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, the company’s financing arm, Siemens Financial Services (SFS), took part in a blockchain pilot in August for bank guarantees using R3 Corda technology, launched by U.K. multinational banking and financial services company Standard Chartered (SC).

Blockchain is actively tested by major energy industry players in different countries. For instance, major Singaporean utility company SP Group, which provides electricity and gas transmission in the country, launched a blockchain marketplace to trade solar energy. Also in Asia, South Korea’s largest power provider KEPCO will use blockchain and other innovative energy solutions to develop an eco-friendly microgrid.



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‘The Big Issue’ Newspaper Launches Blockchain Platform to Promote Impact Investing

The Big Issue, a street newspaper sold by the homeless in the U.K. and other countries, is launching a blockchain-driven platform to promote impact investing, The Financial Times reports Monday, Nov. 18.

Three investment companies — UK Standard Life Aberdeen, U.S. Columbia Threadneedle, and AllianceBernstein — will join The Big Issue as founders of the platform dubbed The Big Exchange. According to the FT, it will offer 30 to 40 social and environmental impact funds, and is set to start working within six months.

The potential investors will be charged a minor fee to use The Big Exchange. Once registered to the platform, they will be able to choose between several sets of proposals awarded a gold, silver, or bronze score based on their correlation with the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals.

The minimum investment is expected to be $640, but Nigel Kershaw, chairman of The Big Exchange, is planning to reduce it down to £2.50 ($3.20) — the same price as The Big Issue.

As per the FT, the platform has already raised about $1.3 million from three of its founders and London-based fintech company FNZ. In the following five years, The Big Exchange expects to attract as much as $3.8 million.

Blockchain is widely used for social needs, especially in the field of charity. As Cointelegraph previously explained, crypto-related technologies, and in particular blockchain, could help increase transparency for donations and international transactions, reducing the fees on money transfers at the same time.

For instance, major crypto exchange Binance has recently managed to raise $1.41 million in various types of ERC20 tokens for those who suffered from devastating floods in Japan in mid-July.

Moreover, blockchain solutions have been used to promote social activity. The manufacturer of household cleaning supplies SC Johnson and environmental organization Plastic Bank partnered in October to open several plastic recycling centers in Indonesia, offering locals tokens for waste collection.



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NYSE Operator’s Bakkt Confirms End of January Launch Date For Digital Assets Platform

The Bakkt digital assets platform, which was created by the operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), announced in a Medium post today, Nov. 24, that they are now “targeting” Jan. 24, 2019 as a launch date.

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), operator of 23 leading global exchanges including the NYSE, announced the creation of Bakkt in August of this year.

Today’s Medium post notes that “given the volume of interest in Bakkt and work required to get all of the pieces in place,” the company has settled on the Jan. 24, 2019 start date in order to “ensure that our participants are ready to trade on Day 1.”

Bakkt’s Medium post, written by CEO Kelly Loeffler, continues by noting that the company is working closely with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as they review the “Bakkt™ Bitcoin Daily Futures contract and the Bakkt Warehouse,” adding:

“These products represent a critical shift in the evolution of crypto markets toward more accessible, useful, and regulated instruments.”

The post concludes by sharing that Bakkt has “insurance for bitcoin in cold storage” and is currently in the process of “securing insurance for the warm wallet within the Bakkt Warehouse architecture,” adding that  “new features” will be shared in the upcoming weeks.

At the end of October, ICE had announced that they would list Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contracts for trading on Dec. 12, 2018, and that the product would be physically-settled and cleared by ICE Clear U.S., Inc. More recently, unconfirmed rumors reported that U.S. regulators could approve Bakkt’s physically delivered futures product as soon as the beginning of November.



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Tencent Games Forms Partnership with Blockchain Esports Platform




Tencent Games has announced a collaboration with SLIVER.tv, a blockchain esports entertainment platform to create a 24/7 live esports channel that will feature streamers from FaZe Clan, Method, and NRG, in addition to interactive functionality such as prediction games, trivia, and prizes for viewers. Making the announcement on November 19, the game development behemoth, which is behind the popular Ring of Elysium battle royale game, revealed that the channel would be powered by Theta rewards, and users would be able to purchase in-game items and upgrades using Theta tokens.

Ring of Elysium and Theta

In a statement, Tencent Games expressed delight at the opportunity to bring Theta rewards to Ring of Elysium players, stating that users who stream the popular game on SLIVER.tv will have the chance to earn Theta tokens just for logging in and watching the live content. The statement also revealed that Theta tokens could be used within the SLIVER.tv platform to purchase exclusive in-game items and skins, or to obtain discounts on real-world products from associated sponsors.

Theta tokens are produced on the Theta blockchain, which powers a video delivery ecosystem that rewards users with Theta tokens as an incentive for restreaming video content to nearby users using excess bandwidth on any device. The framework thus leverages on aggregated user bandwidth to provide next-gen video services and reduce costs while increasing engagement and incremental revenues.

Speaking about the partnership, Mitch Liu, co-founder and CEO of SLIVER.tv and Theta Labs said:

“Our partnership with Tencent Games will help us continue to drive interactive esports by featuring exciting content from Ring of Elysium. Combined with our unique Theta rewards and blockchain technology, users become part of the esports experience, driving greater engagement and retention for our partners and games.”

The move is a significant one because it represents the first time a game development behemoth will actively engage with a cryptocurrency framework. Tencent Games boasts the world’s largest operating revenue for a gaming company, developing gaming content for hundreds of millions of users across popular platforms with stakes in Epic Games, Supercell, and Riot. In addition to Ring of Elysium, the company also publishes the wildly popular League of Legends title in the Chinese market.

On Theta’s part, the move is another key step on the road to actualising its vision, coming two months after it announced strategic partnerships with MBN and CJ Hello, shortly before it was listed on South Korean exchange Bithumb.

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