Price Dip Aside, Paxful Anticipates Big Week of Gift Card-to-Bitcoin Trades

That special time of year is coming up — the time when individuals trade in their unwanted or unusable gift cards for bitcoin. And with the price of bitcoin dropping, peer-to-peer (P2P) bitcoin marketplace Paxful is making it possible to use these gift cards to “buy the dip.”

Ray Youssef, Paxful’s CEO and co-founder, explained that, over the past few years, the busiest week for Paxful is the one right after Black Friday; in fact, as time has gone by, the rate of exchange between gift cards and bitcoin has gotten higher and higher.

“We calculated the rate of increase in total gift card volume from one year to the next,” he told Bitcoin Magazine. “At that same rate, this year’s volume would be $15.3 million. This rate is approximately 271 percent. Given our current weekly gift card volumes, it seems well within the realm of possibility.”

At the time of writing, bitcoin’s price has sunk to just under $4,560. Though panic has ensued in some corners of the crypto arena, Youssef isn’t worried about the price drop and feels it’s not likely to affect business on Paxful, even if the price remains as it is or falls lower.

“The price doesn’t matter so long as there are people who use bitcoin to translate money,” he comments. “To those in developing countries and countries with declining currencies, bitcoin has been their alternative currency. It’s also good to note that since January 2018, the price of bitcoin has been declining, but Paxful’s volume is continuously rising. Bitcoin will always be the best financial alternative.”

Youssef also says that, while gift cards remain popular items amongst gift givers during the holidays, they are not always the best items for receivers, which is what makes the peer-to-peer system so important.

“Many people in developing countries have no use for these gift card credits,” he says. “There are also users who have a website or a business as an affiliate for Amazon that maybe makes 10 percent in referring. People in the developing world don’t have Amazon in their areas, but they earn all these credits. Thus, they sell their credits for BTC and then turn the BTC into whatever currency they want. This is how P2P finance and bitcoin fills the voids. We really want to spread the word on P2P finance.”

According to Paxful’s internal data, gift cards have been used to purchase over $880 million worth of bitcoin since Paxful first launched its peer-to-peer marketplace in 2015. This accounts for just shy of 64 percent of the platform’s trades. All other methods — including credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay and Square Cash — only account for about 36 percent of bitcoin purchases (roughly $499 million worth). In total, about $1.38 billion worth of BTC has been garnered via Paxful.

The most popular gift cards used to purchase bitcoin are those issued by iTunes. These gift cards have been swapped for over $482 million worth of BTC for their owners. In second place are Amazon gift cards at $303 million, while eBay ($15.7 million), Target ($15 million) and Steam Wallet ($14 million) gift cards hold third, fourth and fifth place respectively. Other popular gift cards include Walmart ($12 million), Google Play ($5.3 million) and the PlayStation Network ($5 million).

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Crypto Markets See Ongoing Mild Losses, Bitcoin Trades Below $6,400

 

Friday, Nov. 9: crypto markets are continuing to see downward momentum, with virtually all of the major cryptocurrencies at least mildly in the red, as data from Coin360 shows.

Market visualization by Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is down just over 1 percent, trading around $6,340 at press time. After a period of protracted stability, the top coin has seen a short-lived burst of price action of late, growing Nov.7 to break above the $6,500 mark.

Bitcoin has since corrected downard to trade close to the start of its weekly chart, where it is seeing virtually no price percentage change to press time. On the month, Bitcoin is down a mild 3.6 percent.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

Bitcoin pioneer Jeff Garzik – reportedly the “third-biggest contributor” to Bitcoin’s code and one of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s key collaborators – gave an interview today in which he reflected that:

“[Bitcoin] hasn’t evolved in the direction of high-volume payments, which is something we thought about in the very early days: getting merchants to accept Bitcoins. But on the store-of-value side it’s unquestionably a success.”  

The market’s largest altcoin Ethereum (ETH) has also sustained a fractional loss, down just over percent to trade at $211. Correlating with Bitcoin, the altcoin saw an intra-week spike at around $220 Nov. 7, and has since jaggedly shed value down to its current price point.

Nonetheless, on the week, the asset remains a strong 6 percent in the green, with monthly losses at around 7.2 percent.

Ethereum 7-day price chart

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

Most of the remaining top ten coins on CoinMarketCap are in the red, although remaining within a 1-4 percent range.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has taken the heftiest hit among the top ten, down just under 4 percent to trade around $567, as controversies ahead of its forthcoming hard fork – scheduled for Nov. 15 – continue to divide the community.

Another top ten alt shaken by larger-than-average losses is Cardano (ADA), down 3.19 percent at $0.074.

Altcoins Ripple (XRP) and Stellar (XLM) are the only top ten coins in the green by press time, both up under 1 percent over the past 24 hours.

The top twenty coins by market cap are likewise almost unanimously red, with the exception of the 19th largest crypto, privacy-focused alt Zcash (ZEC), which is pushing 3.5 percent growth to trade at around $133.

For the remaining coins, losses are capped below 4 percent, with Vechain (VEC) and DASH (DASH) each on the higher end, down 3.9 and 3.47 percent respectively.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $212.5 billion as of press time, down from an intra-week high of around $220.7 billion Nov. 7, but above the $207-210 billion levels it held throughout much of the past month.  

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

In other major crypto news of the day, ConsenSys-backed blockchain startup Kaleido and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have launched a full-stack platform that helps enterprises implement blockchain solutions without starting from scratch. The platform, dubbed Kaleido Marketplace, reportedly “eliminates 80 percent of the custom code” needed to build a given blockchain project.

In Asia, Thailand’s securities regulator is set to clear “at least one” Initial Coin Offering (ICO) “portal” to operate legally this month, with officials saying that ICOs themselves “might” start being approved as soon as December.



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Slight Slump in Markets Continues, Ethereum Trades Below $200

Tuesday, Oct. 30: Crypto markets are mostly trading sideways after the recent drop-off that took place on Monday, Oct. 29. The top 20 cryptocurrencies by market cap are seeing mixed signals with insufficient fluctuations, with total market capitalization hovering around $203 billion.

Market visualization from Coin360

After dipping below the $6,400 threshold yesterday, Bitcoin (BTC) has been trading around $6,330 for the most part of the day. As of press time, the major cryptocurrency is slightly down 0.13 percent, and is trading at $6,299, with an intraday high of $6,364.

Bitcoin weekly price chart

Bitcoin weekly price chart. Source: Bitcoin Price Index

Ethereum (ETH) is down around 0.27 percent over the past 24 hours, trading at $196 at press time. The second cryptocurrency by market cap dipped below the $200 price point yesterday, and has since been hovering around the same levels. Recently, Cointelegraph reported that the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA) released new standard specifications for developers using the Ethereum blockchain.

Ethereum 30-days price chart

Ethereum 30-days price chart. Source: Ethereum Price Index

In contrast, Ripple (XRP), the third top cryptocurrency by market cap, has seen a slight rebound after yesterday’s sell-off. At press time, the coin is up around 0.6 percent, and is trading at $0.442. On the week, Ripple is down around 1.4 percent.

Ripple 30-days price chart

Ripple 30-days price chart. Source: Ripple Price Index

After dropping to as low as $201 billion yesterday, total market cap has been hovering around $203 billion for the most part of the day, amounting to $202.8 billion at press time.

Total market capitalization daily chart

Total market capitalization daily chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

VeChain (VET)  is down more than 3 percent over the past 24 hours, trading at $0.01. According to CoinMarketCap, the coin is down over 10 percent over the past 7 days.

The recent drop-off in crypto markets is in line with a number of the industry-related events that took place on Monday, Oct. 29. Speaking at a recent interview at the 2018 Canada FinTech Forum, former U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen argued that Bitcoin is “anything but” a useful store of value. Yellen pointed out low volumes of transactions, slow capacity in “handling payments,” as well as “difficulty” caused by Bitcoin’s “very decentralized nature.”

Also on Monday, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) claimed that the agency will consider banning sales of crypto-based derivatives, including contracts for difference (CFDs), options, and futures. The announcement followed a report by the U.K. Cryptoassets Taskforce, which suggested changes to cryptocurrency regulations and raised questions about the existing rules of trading digital assets.



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Crypto Markets See Slight Rebound, Bitcoin Trades Above $6,500 Again

Sunday, Oct. 21: crypto markets have seen a slight rebound today, with 19 out of the 20 top cryptocurrencies by market cap in the green, and Bitcoin (BTC) back to trading above $6,500, according to CoinMarketCap.

Most of the top 20 cryptocurrencies have seen a slight growth within 0.5 and 2 percent, while Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and NEM (NEO) have seen more gains today, up 2.4 and 4.5 percent over the past 24 hours respectively.

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin has seen growth within the day, up almost 1 percent over the past 24 hours, and having been trading above $6,500 for most of the day. The major cryptocurrency is trading at $6,539 at press time, which constitutes 3.2 percent growth over the past 7 days.

Bitcoin 24 hour price chart

Bitcoin 24 hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Bitcoin Price Index

Ethereum (ETH), the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, is also up almost 1 percent over a 24 hour period and trading at around $207 at press time. After having dipped to as low as $195 on Oct. 14, the major altcoin has seen a rebound of 3.7 percent over the past 7 days.

Yesterday, Ethereum core developers “officially” agreed to postpone the planned “hard fork” Constantinople until at least January 2019, also having concluded that the upgrade of the network is rather to be called an “update” instead of a “hard fork.”

Ethereum 24-hour price chart

Ethereum 24-hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ethereum Price Index

Ripple (XRP) is up 0.8 percent over the day and is trading at about $0.46 as of press time. The third top cryptocurrency by market cap has seen more progress than most of top 20 coins by market cap, up around 10 percent over the past 7 days.

Ripple 7-day price chart

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ripple Price Index

Total market capitalization has seen a slight influx over the day, up from $209 billion to $210 billion at press time. Since the rebound that followed the drop-off of crypto markets to as low as $199 billion on Oct. 14, the market cap has been remaining stable, hovering around $210 billion over the week.

Daily trade volume is still around $9 billion, following a drop below the $10 billion threshold yesterday. The total number of all cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketCap amounts to 2,112 at press time.

Total market capitalization 7-day chart

Total market capitalization 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin trading group Whalepool have claimed that Bitcoin’s volatility is “unfairly” low in their tweet from Oct. 21, pointing to the BTC/USD volatility chart.

BTC/USD volatility

BTC/USD volatility. Source: Whalepool Twitter

In early October, Cointelegraph reported that Bitcoin had reached a 17-month low volatility rate, with its highest level of stability since the middle of 2017. Following the price stagnation, Cointelegraph has published an expert analysis on Bitcoin’s historical lows on volatility, as well as the dynamics in 2018.



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Crypto Markets Hold Supporting Levels With Small Fluctuations, BTC Trades Around $6,300

Wednesday, September 19: crypto markets are holding recent gains and fluctuating around previous support levels. While 16 out of the top 20 altcoins by market cap are seeing some red today, total market cap still hovers around recent levels, according to CoinMarketCap.

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is slightly down 0.12 percent over the past 24 hours, still holding the supporting level of $6,300 after dropping below that price point last week. Bitcoin is trading at around $6,334 at press time, and up about 0.48 percent over the past 7 days.

Bitcoin weekly price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

Ethereum (ETH) is seeing more minor losses today, down about .2 percent over a 24 hour period. After having dropped to as low as $127 over the past 7 days, Ethereum is trading at about $208 at press time, which constitutes around 12 percent gains over the week.

Ethereum weekly price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

Total market cap has been fluctuating around the $199 billion point over the day, currently at about $198 billion. The number of cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketCap is now 1,977.

Weekly total market capitalization chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The general losses among the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market cap amount to between 2-3 percent, while the 20th top coin Dogecoin (DOGE) has seen a deep decline of 7.8 percent. The altcoin is trading at $0.0056 at press time, which is also about a 13 percent drop over the past 7 days.

Earlier this week, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Elon Musk asked Dogecoin developer Jackson Palmer to help him to get rid of “annoying” cryptocurrency scammers on Twitter.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is down almost 3 percent over the past 24 hours, still holding about 0.2 percent over the past 7 days, and trading at about $425.

Ripple (XRP), the third cryptocurrency ranked by market cap, which had seen the largest gains yesterday, is keeping upward trend today. XRP is up around 2.5 percent over the past 24 hours, and trading at $0.32, which amounts to almost 24 percent gains over the week.

On September 18, the New York Attorney General’s office issued a report warning that cryptocurrency exchanges are vulnerable to manipulation, conflicts of interest, and other consumer risks, according to an investigation based on information requests to 13 crypto exchanges earlier this year.

Recently, Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz expressed scepticism about the chance that cryptocurrencies can replace traditional fiat money, claiming he “would doubt today, whether is has a perspective as a currency model.”

Also on September 18, the U.K. Treasury Committee called for cryptocurrency regulations in order to protect investors in relation to major issues around the industry, such as price volatility, poor consumer protection, the risk of hacker attacks, and money laundering.



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BTC Trades Sideways, Other Top 20 Coins See More Notable Losses

Thursday, August 2: Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are trading around yesterday’s levels, while other top 20 coins are seeing notable losses, according to data from Coinmarketcap.

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is up around 0.3 percent over the past 24 hours and trading at $7,579 at press time after testing a slight rebound today. The top cryptocurrency keeps trading sideways, with an intraday low of $7,451, according to the Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index. As Cointelegraph reported in a previous market analysis, if Bitcoin breaks $7,750 resistance, the move can extend to further to $8,400.

Bitcoin 24 hours price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

Bitcoin 24 hours price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

Ethereum (ETH) is down 1.03 percent, trading at $411 at press time. The major altcoin has climbed to an intraday high of $423 before seeing a gradual decline.

Crypto markets analyst Trading Room suggested on Twitter that if Ethereum dips delow $350, it would cause a further downtrend across other altcoins. However, Bitcoin would allegedly be “detached from the mayhem.”

Ethereum 24 hours price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

Ethereum 24 hours price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

Total market capitalization is standing its ground around $267 billion, seeing a slight decline within the day after peaking at $275 billion.

Total market capitalization 24 hours chart. Source: Coinmarketcap

Total market capitalization 24 hours chart. Source: Coinmarketcap

Bitcoin is steadily displacing altcoins from the market, reaching over 48 percent of total market cap dominance.

 Percentage of Total Market Cap (Dominance). Source: Coinmarketcap

Percentage of Total Market Cap (Dominance). Source: Coinmarketcap

VeChain (VEN) has suffered the most losses over the past 24 hours among the top 20 coins following the recent launch of its own mainnet and mobile wallet. The coin has lost almost 11 percent and is trading at $1.76 at press time, down almost 23 percent over the past week.

Tezos (XTZ) is seeing slightly less losses, down 6.65 percent and trading at $1.68 today.

While Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is seeing losses around 2.5 percent today, the number of BCH transactions has surpassed the amount of Bitcoin transactions for the first time. Yesterday, BCH celebrated its first birthday, following a hard fork from Bitcoin’s blockchain on August 1 last year.

Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash Transactions Historical Chart (Dominance). Source: Bitinfocharts

Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash Transactions Historical Chart (Dominance). Source: Bitinfocharts

Earlier today, payments service Square reported over $70 million in Bitcoin revenues in the first half of 2018. The firm’s revenues from crypto have grown by $37 million in Q2 2018 compared to $34 million in the first quarter. Bitcoin trading launched on its app in November 2017.

On July 31, Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings announced it will acquire a 12 percent stake in U.S.-based electronic trading platform operator Clear Markets in a move to introduce a crypto derivative trading platform.



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Galaxy Digital LP Trades on TSX Venture Exchange

Mike Novogratz, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner, is far past the point of no return with his Bitcoin merchant bank. Galaxy Digital LP trades on TSX Venture Exchange as of today says Bloomberg, despite the crypto market’s bear movement in 2018.

Galaxy Digital LP Trades on TSX Venture Exchange

The process to get Galaxy on the TSX has been a “frustrating” eight months, says Novogratz. Supposedly, Canadian regulators were pushing down hard on the founder and kept pushing back Galaxy Digital’s debut.

“If I knew what I know now, knew the crypto markets were going to swoon as much, and it was going to take so long, I might have stayed private for another year or so and then gone public,” Novogratz said in a TV interview with BNN Bloomberg in Toronto. “But I don’t think it’s a mistake.”

Reverse Takeover

If Novogratz would have tried to list Galaxy Digital as a US initial public offering, it would require at least two years of audited financials. Instead, Novogratz chose the route many crypto and marijuana companies have taken and merged the firm with a shell company via a reverse takeover.

Canadian mining companies are notorious for this and have been doing it for years. What caused this reverse takeover to take so long is probably that everyone had the same idea in the crypto space, and many of the newer companies listing in Canada started off doing poorly on the market.

“There’s a layer of due diligence that goes into figuring out and understanding the business itself, which probably takes a little bit longer than entrepreneurs like Mike would like it to, but for us that’s how we maintain market integrity,” Brady Fletcher, managing director of the TSX Venture Exchange, told Bloomberg. “We’re excited about the upcoming listing and Galaxy is a great story.”

>> Ripple (XRP) Announces Former President Bill Clinton as Keynote Speaker and Crypto Investors Aren’t Impressed

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Chinese Yuan Now Accounts for Less Than 1% of Bitcoin Trades, Says PBoC Report

China’s central bank, The People’s Bank of China (PBoC), has stated that the Chinese yuan now accounts for less than 1 percent of global Bitcoin (BTC) transactions, local news outlet Asia Times reports today, July 9.

The PBoC released a new report on Friday, July 6, indicating that the yuan’s share of global Bitcoin trades has plunged in the months following the government’s crackdown on the cryptocurrency industry, Asia Times reports.

Whereas in 2017, Chinese exchanges accounted for over 90 percent of the global crypto industry –– a figure corroborated in this week’s PBoC report –– their current less than 1 percent share reveals the momentous impact of policy restrictions. Guo Dazhi, research director at the Zhongguancun Internet Finance Institute, is quoted by Asia Times as saying that:

“Th[e new figures] indicate that the policy has been very successful. It is within expectations that the yuan’s share in global Bitcoin transactions would drop after China announced the ban.”

Local media outlet XinhuaNet has quoted the PBoC’s report as saying that the country’s policies had ensured a “zero-risk” exit for the 88 cryptocurrency exchanges and 85 ICO trading platforms closed since late 2017.

China’s Sep. 2017 ban on crypto exchanges and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) became yet more stringent in early 2018, with officials stepping up their restrictions in January to include a broader category of “market-making” platforms and services.

In February, China added offshore cryptocurrency exchanges and ICO websites to its Great Firewall, further toughening its stance.

Further local media reports have this week suggested that China does not intend lift its ban on Bitcoin trading any time soon, still considering the volatile cryptocurrency market to pose excessive risks for domestic investors.

Notwithstanding its hardline stance on decentralized cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the PBoC has nonetheless been pursuing a longer-term vision for tightly controlled blockchain integration into the traditional financial sector.

Just two weeks ago, the bank filed a new patent for a digital wallet, the same month as it revealed its new blockchain-powered system with smart contract functionality designed to tokenize paper checks.

The Governor of the PBoC said this spring that while virtual currencies are “technologically inevitable” and will ultimately diminish cash circulation, the PBoC intends to control the “unpredictable effects” posed by decentralized forms of crypto and certain applications of blockchain.



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Feeless Trades for Three Months, Native Token on the Horizon

Eight months after it shut its doors, the oldest Chinese cryptocurrency exchange, BTCC, is now up and running, with an ambitious rewards system that aims to attract more users to the platform.

Formerly known as BTC China, the company was basically forced to cease its cryptocurrency exchange amid a crackdown on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trade in China toward the end of 2017.

While the company was able to continue operating its mining pool and mobi wallet after the closure of exchange, the business was bought out by a Hong Kong-based blockchain investment fund in January 2018. With a new team at the helm, the dust was brushed off the cover of the old exchange and was re-launched this week.

Ambitious rewards system

The new exchange supports Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ethereum trade against the U.S. dollar and cryptocurrency pairings. Before its closure last year, the old BTCC exchange supported over 90 different cryptocurrency pairings.

The major talking point of the relaunch is BTCC’s point-based reward system, which has garnered a lot of interest in the crypto community.

For a limited time, new users who register verified accounts on the exchange and make a deposit along with their first trade will earn BTCC points. These points will then be converted into BTCC tokens later, which will be the native token of the exchange. It is not yet clear when these native tokens will be launched. Users will also be rewarded points for referrals and other activities on the platform.

The system comes in the wake of some interesting moves taken by a couple of competitive exchanges. Both Coinbene and Bit-Z temporarily flew to the top of overall trade volume at the end of June, after implementing a transaction-fee mining system.

Users are basically given the sum of the transaction fee on a trade in the exchange’s native currency. Clearly the move has been met with great interest, as users flocked to make trades in lieu of the promised return in native tokens.

However, BTCC is not operating in the transaction-fee mining model, but it has promised a zero-fee trading scheme for the first three months of the exchange’s operation.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume, Binance, has set high standards in the very short time it’s been in existence.

Launched in July 2017, Binance is famous for its 50 percent discount on trading fees for users utilizing its native BNB coin. As Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao told Cointelegraph in an exclusive interview last month, it’s a big factor in the exchange’s popularity:

“With token economics, now our people who participated in our ICO — who bought the BNB tokens using the platform — are adding more value to the platform, which, in return, increases the value of the BNB coins. The fact they’re using our system [means] they are now investors, coin-holders, and users at the same time. They benefit from the fact that they’re using our system. While they’re paying the commission fees to trade on the platform, they’re also realizing a lot more value to the Binance cost. This is an economy that’s never existed before.”

Reward points suit the BTCC model

BTCC marketing manager Aaron Wen told Cointelegraph that the exchange’s reward-points system was preferred to the transaction-fee mode that has been adopted by a number of other Chinese exchanges.

At this stage, with the launch only a few days ago, the company is of the opinion that it is the best incentive system to attract users, both old and new:

“The trans-fee model is very popular, especially for Chinese exchanges at the moment. There’s still a business risk, so our management is reviewing this model and analyzing how it can be sustained in the long run. For now, giving away points for trading that can be converted into our token in the future is what we think makes sense for our business.”

What remains to be seen is when the exchange will finally launch its native token for the platform. When that happens, a decision would be made on the longevity of the reward-points system:

“The reward-points system will be reviewed upon the issuance of the BTCC tokens (reward points are fully convertible to BTCC tokens). Our ultimate goal is to give back to our community, so the reward points were developed to reward our early supporters. We want our users to be incentivized every time they use our platform. We want to ensure that the system is fair for our users and will provide updates accordingly.”

BTCC current trading data

Image source: Coinmarketcap

BTC China — before BTCC

Before it was forced to shut down its initial exchange in 2017, BTC China became a popular platform that was revamped by self-proclaimed ‘Bitcoin Maximalist’ Bobby Lee, who took over the platform that was initially developed back in 2011.

Lee bought into the business in 2013 and took it to higher and higher heights. Although BTCC is now owned and operated by a Hong Kong-based investment fund, Lee still serves as an advisor to the company, which he confirmed in an exclusive interview last month:

“There’s a new management in place. I’ve stayed on as an advisor to the company, so I’m just helping them out on some strategic projects. In terms of their actual day-to day stuff, I don’t have that visibility to share.”

At the time of the acquisition of BTCC by the Hong Kong-based blockchain fund, Lee was quoted as saying he was “very excited about the resources this gives BTCC to move faster and aggressively grow [its] businesses in 2018 and beyond.”

Before it ceased its exchange operation in September 2017, BTC China’s exchange was the second largest in the country.

Return of a Chinese staple

In its day, BTC China was an early trendsetter for Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges. Its 2017 closure was not a result of a technical failure at the exchange, but rather political and economic pressures in the country itself.

What this could demonstrate is the power that regulation can have on the blockchain industry as a whole. BTCC was a well-run, popular exchange that was of the view that it didn’t have a better option than to close the doors of the exchange.

As Lee told Cointelegraph, big countries like China need to take a page from the book of smaller countries that are more accepting of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

“Some of the small countries who are more risk-prone, they are doing it right. They are doing it by a laissez-faire approach. They are welcoming companies to set up a jurisdiction in their country, and to set up entities and licensing it all. Some are doing it more aggressively than others. That’s just how things are. Because different countries will choose different paths, whether they will take a strong adoption approach or whether they will take a more reserved wait-and-see approach. I think China is of the wait-and-see approach.”

Nevertheless, BTCC is back and the success of its revival could only be gauged in the next few months.



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Major European Banks Complete Live Trades on IBM Blockchain


After undergoing development for over a year, the first live trades have occurred on the IBM-powered trade finance blockchain platform, we.trade.

Through four banks, 10 firms were able to execute 7 trade transactions across 5 countries in the last 5 days. These are the first such trade transactions employing blockchain technology to be considered commercially viable.

The we.trade digital trade solution, which has been developed using the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain technology, leverages smart contracts making it possible for event-based payments to be made automatically. Following a competitive bidding process that drew six tech companies, IBM was granted the contract to offer a cloud-based platform last year in June.

Members of the we.trade consortium include UniCredit, Societe Generale, Santander, Rabobank, Nordea, Natixis, KBC, HSBC and Deutsche Bank. To make the we.trade blockchain platform a reality all the internal procedures and governance of the banks were met.

Originally known as Digital Trade Chain

The consortium, which initially went by the name of Digital Trade Chain before a rebranding exercise, was formed in 2017 with a view of closing the financing gaps that hamper both cross-border and domestic trade with regards to small and medium-scale enterprises located in Europe.

Mid last month a legal entity for the we.trade platform was created in order to allow the partners in the consortium to offer the blockchain solution to their clients. This resulted in the formation of a joint venture known as we.trade Innovation DAC which was incorporated in Dublin, Ireland. The nine founding banks are equal shareholders in the JV which will own, manage and well as distribute the we.trade blockchain platform.

Looking Beyond Geographical Boundaries

Currently, we.trade is available in eleven countries in Europe and this includes the United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, Norway, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, France, Finland, Denmark and Belgium.

According to the chief operating officer of we.trade, Roberto Mancone, the joint venture will, however, not limit itself to the countries in which its founding members are based in:

“…We are delighted to have launched for the first time in the world, a blockchain based platform that enhances the overall customer experience when trading internationally. The next step will be getting buy-in from additional banks and their customers in Europe and further afield.”

Besides expanding into new markets, we.trade also looking to allow some banks to join on a license-type basis as this will allow a faster expansion to as many financial institutions as possible. These banks will be provided with their own node on the blockchain thus allowing them to offer their clients access to the we.trade platform. Additionally, the joint venture intends to enlist other trading partners including credit agencies, freight forwarders and shippers.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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