Crypto Daily News | Microsoft Runs Ethereum Tech

In today’s edition of Crypto Daily News, we’ll cover Microsoft’s latest tech that runs on the Ethereum network and OKEx’s troubles launching its Bitcoin (BTC) futures.

Crypto Daily News: August 8th, 2018

Microsoft Uses Ethereum

Yesterday, the software giant Microsoft made a huge announcement debuting its latest Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) product. The product allows businesses across industry verticals to deploy a ‘flexible’ instance of Ethereum that is tailored specifically for enterprise environments.

The Ethereum Proof-of-Authority on Azure, Microsoft’s product, allows enterprises to build applications on Ethereum that are not secured but are a current Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm. This, in turn, does not require the company to do any sort of mining.

The Proof-of-Authority product has a built-in dApp that handles the governance of the system and provides consortium members with authority to govern the network and delegate their voting powers to anyone of their choosing.

Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s co-founder, has yet to comment on this milestone made by Microsft via his official Twitter page.

OKEx Bitcoin (BTC) Futures

OKEx, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange by its 24-hour trade volume according to CoinMarketCapannounced that it would hold BTC, BCH, and ETH futures trading back in early November 2017 but has hit speed bump after speed bump ever since.

Towards the end of March, users started noticing unusual pricing on the OKEx platform, and one investor threatened to attempt suicide if it wasn’t fixed.

In May, the cryptocurrency exchange dealt with a China National Radio program alleging that OKEx was “illegally” trading cryptocurrency futures in China.

Now, the company is facing an extremely sticky situation with a ‘whale’ trader. Back on August 3rd, the whale trader made a wrong-way bet on Bitcoin that forced a liquidation of a futures contract that is forcing all other traders to front the big bill.

It remains unknown what the company will do and if they will pull the plug entirely on the entire operation if they continue to hit these speed bumps. However, Andy Cheung, head of operations at OKEX, told Cointelegraph that these experiences have been a “valuable lesson” and they will continue to work to improve trading experiences on their platform.

>> Korean Blockchain Association Asks State for Crypto and Blockchain Adoption

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IBM Backs New US Dollar-Pegged Stablecoin That Runs on Stellar Network

A new project for a U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoin that runs on the Stellar blockchain network has received backing from IBM, Reuters reports July 17.

The new asset is dubbed ‘Stronghold USD’ after its creator, fintech startup Stronghold. The token launched today, and is reportedly issued using a 1:1 price ratio with the U.S. dollar. It is the first ever stable-value crypto project to use the Stellar network, as Fortune notes.

IBM has been using the Stellar network to facilitate cross-border payments since 2017, and is said to have now begun testing the new stablecoin. Jesse Lund, IBM’s vice president of global blockchain, told Reuters that:

“IBM will explore use cases with business networks that we have developed, as a user of the token. We see this as a way of bringing financial settlement into the transactional business network that we have been building.”

In her interview with Fortune, IBM’s Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president of global industries, platforms and blockchain, said that the new project represented a “tremendous opportunity” to streamline the firm’s existing cross-border blockchain payments efforts.

Van Kralingen said that until now, IBM has been converting between different fiat currencies using Stellar’s native token, Lumens (XLM) as a bridge between them. The existing system is thus doubly exposed to both variable intra-fiat exchange rates and the notorious volatility of the cryptocurrency markets – to which Lumens, unlike a stablecoin, remains subjected.

A stablecoin, used as frictionless, digital proxy for fiat, could eliminate both variables and potentially “play a very big role in improving costs,” she said.

Van Kralingen said that stablecoin projects pegged to national fiat currencies other than the U.S. dollar would also be of value for IBM’s blockchain integration.

IBM has also today reportedly partnered with Columbia University to open the Columbia-IBM Center for Blockchain and Transparency, which will offer students IBM internships and joint research opportunities.

Stablecoins have been gaining increasing traction with crypto and blockchain industry figures, with Jeremy Allaire, co-founder & CEO of Circle, envisioning them as an integral component of an emerging “tokenized global economy” at MoneyConf in Dublin last month.

This spring, Circle closed a $110 million fundraising round to partner with crypto mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain on the development of its own U.S. dollar-backed stable coin.

Tether (USDT) remains one of the most famous, if controversial, examples of a fiat-stabilized cryptocurrency. Others in the industry are looking to different means by which to forge a coin that would be immunized from market volatility.

Last month, Cointelegraph reported on a project for a stabilized token dubbed ‘Reserve’ that maintains a peg by using a smart contract to lock up other crypto assets, rather than fiat. The initiative has received backing from the likes of PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and major U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase.

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IBM CEO Ginni Rometty: Our Blockchain Runs On Our Public Cloud | CNBC

Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman and CEO, talks about the future of blockchain and growth potential for Big Blue.
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IBM CEO Ginni Rometty: Our Blockchain Runs On Our Public Cloud | CNBC