Indian Internet ‘Blockchain Committee’ Attracts Reps From Zebpay, MasterCard, Microsoft

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is forming a dedicated focus group for blockchain exploration made up of both big business and cryptocurrency players, Indian daily newspaper Economic Times reported Monday, Oct. 15.

Confirmed in a tweet Tuesday, the IAMAI, whose remit is to “expand and enhance” the online and mobile sector, will use its “Blockchain Committee” to “identify opportunities and challenges and work with government, industry and startups” to develop a blockchain “ecosystem.”

The move comes amid testing times for cryptocurrency in India, with the country’s supreme court still deliberating on the legality of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) cryptocurrency banking ban it instigated in July.

Commenting on the plans, Tina Singh, chair of the newly-founded Blockchain Committee, said the technology was nonetheless “undoubtedly the technology of the future,” noting:

“The IAMAI Blockchain Committee will focus on creating dialogue between all stakeholders; curate and create content to aid skill development and move towards creating a participative economy with the usage of blockchain.”

Participants in the committee include major Indian cryptocurrency exchange ZebPay, itself a conspicuous victim of the central bank’s ban, having halted its exchange offering altogether late last month.

Other parties include representatives from MasterCard, Microsoft and IBM.

The RBI itself is also “researching” blockchain, sources reported in August, as part of an assessment process in which it would “check what can be adopted and what cannot.”

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Fatfish Internet Group: Markets Could ‘Accept’ Bitcoin ETF Within ‘Couple Of Months’

Global markets will be “ready to accept” a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) in as soon as a “couple of months,” Fatfish Internet Group CEO Kin-Wai Lau told CNBC on July 29.

Speaking to CNBC’s dedicated cryptocurrency segment, the Coin Rush, Lau expressed a firm belief in Bitcoin’s current price rally, explaining,

“It’s a very strong wave; it’s driven by institutional demand, it’s driven by adoption. [There’s]  lots of interest this time around — trading volume is several times higher than during the lows.”

Bitcoin continues to trade above $8,000 after briefly dipping to around $7,700 late last week. Despite the Winklevoss twins’ ETF receiving a second rejection on July 26, prices bounced back above $8100 shortly afterwards, reinforcing users’ belief in the robustness of Bitcoin’s return to form.

Lau noted that the bounce back is “generally very positive for early adopters and people who have interest in the sector.”

As Cointelegraph previously reported, multiple ETF applications are due for review by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which has already postponed making a decision about an offering from Direxion until mid September.

After the agency rejected the Winklevoss’ ETF petition, SEC Commissioner Hester M. Peirce published a statement of official dissent, arguing that the SEC had overstepped its “limited role.”

Lau told CNBC that he foresees a potential shift in the regulatory atmosphere in the near future:

“I think we’re not far away; I think probably just a couple of months away from being ready for the market to generally accept an ETF.”

Fatfish caused a stir earlier this year when it announced it was entering the cryptocurrency mining market on the back of higher prices. In January, the company invested $1 million for a 51 percent stake in Singapore startup APAC Mining.

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Japanese Internet Giant GMO’s New Web Bank Will Use Blockchain for Payments

Multi-billion-dollar Japanese tech conglomerate GMO has launched a new internet banking business that will use blockchain technology for faster and cheaper payments and financial services.

In an announcement [PDF] on Tuesday, the GMO Internet Group confirmed the launch of the GMO Aozora Net Bank in partnership with Aozora Bank Group, a joint-initiative that has been in preparation since July 2016 that will leverage the use of blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) to provide new financial services through financial technologies.

The advent of a cashless society amid a proliferation of smartphones and rapid advancements of financial technologies in society has led to new financial services like ‘convenient [and instant] settlements’ coming to the fore, a press release from GMO Aozora Net Bank added, heralding itself as an “everything for customers, aiming [to become] the #1 technology bank” in a roughly translated motto.

Pointedly, the new bank confirmed it would be using decentralized blockchain technology to settle payments in a marked pivot away from traditional banking protocols that include an overseer or a middleman.

The new online bank said:

[T]hrough the application of blockchain technology, there is an increasing expectation for breakthroughs for safer and cheaper payments and financial services.

The new internet bank will see a majority ownership by Aozora Bank at 85.1% with the remaining stake split equally GMO Internet and GMO Financial Holdings.

The internet bank will be rooted with five specific pillars, namely “security, “speed”, “cheapness”, “convenience” and “new [user] experience”, the document added, further stating it eventually intends to become a “platform bank” that licenses its payments technology to companies across multiple industries.

GMO Internet’s latest financial foray with its new internet bank follows the launch of its cryptocurrency exchange, first announced in May 2017. Since then, GMO has also invested in its own bitcoin mining operation in Europe, paid employees in bitcoin and recently announced its cloud mining service for bitcoin and bitcoin cash, to be launched in August this year.

Last month, GMO unveiled its own bitcoin mining rig – the first indigenous crypto rig out of Japan – that will be shipped in October as the world’s first cryptocurrency miner to use 7nm semiconductor chips.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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