Third Largest Crypto Exchange Huobi Opens Deposits for New ‘Stablecoin Solution’ HUSD

Singapore-headquartered cryptocurrency exchange Huobi announced the creation of what it calls a “stablecoin solution” in a blog post Friday, Oct. 19.

Set to go live from Friday, the project, known as HUSD, will consist of Huobi’s own stablecoin asset which investors can use as an go-between to interact with four USD-backed stablecoins currently listed on the exchange.

Specifically, Huobi will accept and store Paxos Standard (PAX), True USD (TUSD), USD Coin (USDC) and Gemini Dollars (GUSD), giving users a balance in HUSD as a kind of aggregator of all four.

According to Huobi’s post, users can then cash out the same stablecoin they deposited or select from any of the other three.

HUSD will also be tradeable against other cryptocurrencies, beginning with controversial stablecoin Tether (USDT), followed by Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

Commenting on the project, Huobi said it would expand it to cover other stablecoins in future.

“We will keep a close watch on new stablecoins that appear on the market and optimize the HUSD standards,” executives wrote:

“We look forward to more stablecoins being involved in the HUSD system.”

Huobi announced the listing of the above four USD-backed stablecoins earlier this week, following a similar move by OKEx.

Huobi is currently the third largest crypto exchange globally by daily trading volumes, seeing about $416 million in trades on the day to press time.

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Uber’s Largest Shareholder to Launch Cross-Carrier Mobile Payments Service Based on Blockchain and RCS

Japanese tech giant SoftBank is developing a blockchain-powered cross-carrier mobile payments service, the company reported in an official press release published September 12.

SoftBank’s new proof-of-concept (PoC) development was announced in partnership with telecoms-focused blockchain firm TBCASoft and Synchronoss Technologies, provider of cloud, messaging, digital, and Internet of Things (IoT) services and platforms.

The upcoming mobile payment service will be based on the Rich Communication Services (RCS) global messaging standard and TBCASoft’s cross-carrier blockchain platform. The service will will enable users to conduct peer-to-peer money transfers globally, as well as to carry out internal purchases directly from their device via the RCS wallet application or a legacy messaging service like SMS or email.

According to the statement, Uber’s largest shareholder SoftBank teamed up with TBCASoft in order to develop a cross-carrier blockchain platform Cross-Carrier Payment Service (CCPS), which aims to boost mobile payment services among global telecoms carriers. In turn, Synchronoss has provided a multi-channel communications platform that combines text messages (SMS), email, and RCS. The platform was launched earlier in 2018, the statement says.

Softbank’s vice president Takeshi Fukuizumi noted that the upcoming cross-carrier payment service will allow merchants to operate “at a scale that was previously only available to big brands.”

According to Synchronoss CEO and president Glenn Lurie, the upcoming blockchain-powered RCS mobile service will “disrupt the current messaging and payments market,” stating that SoftBank is “at the forefront in bringing to market new cutting edge technology.”

On August 10, Cointelegraph reported that blockchain startup Zulu Republic has launched a platform for Litecoin (LTC) transactions via encrypted messenger Telegram, also planning to introduce LTC transactions via SMS to support users with poor Internet connection.

Earlier in August, U.S. software firm Intuit was granted a patent for processing Bitcoin (BTC) payments via SMS. The patent was reportedly filed in the same year that Intuit’s DIY tax solution QuickBooks partnered with BitPay to enable business clients to pay their invoices in Bitcoin.

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Uber's Largest Shareholder SoftBank Denies Deal With Bitmain, Other Investments Uncertain

An official from SoftBank has denied their involvement in the investment deal with Bitcoin (BTC) mining behemoth Bitmain that was reported last week by both crypto and mainstream media sources.

As previously reported, Bitmain had allegedly sealed a pre-Initial Public Offering (IPO) financing deal which had brought its valuation to $15 billion. Both Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent and Japan’s SoftBank — another tech giant whose 15 percent stake in Uber makes it the drive-hailing app’s largest shareholder — were purportedly involved.

After receiving an anonymous tip that Tencent and SoftBank were not actually involved in any deal with Bitmain, Cointelegraph reached out to SoftBank and Tencent for confirmation.

As a response to Cointelegraph’s request for information, Kenichi Yuasa of the Corporate Communication Office of SoftBank Group Corp. stated:

“Neither the SoftBank Group Corp. nor the SoftBank Vision Fund were in any way involved in the deal.”

Despite numerous requests for clarification, no one at Tencent has denied or confirmed the deal to Cointelegraph.

In response to a media request from Cointelegraph, Bitmain refused to comment on the matter.

The original story on SoftBank and Tencent’s participation in a deal with Bitmain was reported by Chinese publication QQ on August 4. In a Google Translated version of the article, QQ stated:

“The mainland officially completed the Pre-IPO round signing. This round of investors includes Tencent, Softbank [sic], and China Gold. The current round of financing is 1 billion US dollars, and the pre-investment valuation is 14 billion.”

After the story originally broke, there were no official confirmations or denials by either SoftBank or Tencent of their participation in an investment deal with Bitmain.

QQ’s report was picked up by mainstream media sources like Business Insider, which reported on August 14 that Bitmain had closed a “$1 billion funding round led by Chinese tech giant Tencent and Japan’s SoftBank,” linking their source as crypto media site CCN. Yahoo! Finance also reposted the story on Bitmain’s valuation from CCN, also linking to coverage of the matter from crypto news source CoinDesk.

As the media began reporting SoftBank and Tencent allegedly participated in a deal with Bitmain, bringing the company’s reported valuation to $15 billion, Blockstream CSO Samson Mow tweeted August 11 an image — reportedly from the Bitmain pre-IPO investor deck — showing the company allegedly had a large amount of Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

On August 12, Samson Mow also tweeted two images of Bitmain’s Q1 results, one in Chinese and one from Morgan Stanley, commenting:

“Why is Bitmain raising capital so fast & only showing Q1 results to pre-IPO investors? We’re well into Q3 now. The reason is Q2 was a disaster. Bitmain is sitting on a massive $1.24 billion USD in inventory & S9 prices dropped by ~85%! Q2 losses range in the $600-700 millions.”

In response to Mow’s tweets, Crypto Herpes Cat published a follow up on Medium, explaining several theories as to how Bitmain ended up with so much BCH — other than by selling BTC for BCH, as Mow purported — and what they are doing with their ASIC miners in a bear market, writing:

“How do you realize the value of this monolith crypto business and your holdings? You IPO and pass the bag on in one huge lumped stock offering and hope investors don’t realize all of your current assets are very, very illiquid.”

As early as June, Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu had hinted at the firm’s plans to launch its IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Chinese publication QQ — the same source that alleged both Tencent and SoftBank’s involvement in the recent financing deal — has recently suggested that the firm will be valued at $30 billion.

The seemingly refuted investments come after a year of reports that appeared to indicate Bitmain’s astonishing profitability.

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World’s Second Largest Bitcoin Miner Canaan Creative Releases BTC-Mining Television Set

Canaan Creative, the world’s second largest Bitcoin (BTC) mining hardware manufacturer, has launched what it claims is the “first ever” BTC mining television set, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported August 2.

Dubbed “AvalonMiner Inside,” the appliance has a processing power of 2.8 trillion hashes per second, and is reportedly powered by artificial intelligence (AI) as well as being capable of taking voice commands. In contrast, Canaan’s most powerful mining rig can process 11 trillion hashes per second, SCMP notes.

The device also calculates the fluctuating rate of Bitcoin mining profitability in real time, SCMP writes, and allows users to purchase entertainment content or other products on Canaan’s platform using the crypto they have mined.

While the new device is reportedly the first in a series of blockchain-related home appliances slated to be released by the firm, some cryptosphere onlookers have expressed skepticism towards the new product.

Beijing-based Bitcoin analyst Xiao Lei is quoted by the Post as disparaging Canaan’s latest move as “hype,” adding that such products “[would] be more meaningful if these companies are able to embed the mining function into existing major TV brands.”

Canaan filed an application for a $1 billion initial public offering (IPO) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in May, reporting 1.3 billion yuan (around $205 million) in revenue in 2017, a 27-fold increase from the previous year.

Profits in 2017 were 361 million yuan (around $52 million), up over 230-fold from 2015, according to Bloomberg. Consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan has reportedly forecast that Canaan’s revenue will hit 28.6 billion yuan (around $4.1 billion) by 2020.

Nonetheless, competition is steep in China’s lucrative crypto mining hardware manufacturing industry, with rival Bitmain reportedly earning between $3 and $4 billion in operating profits in 2017 — higher than stalwart American graphics processing unit (GPU) manufacturing giant Nvidia in the same period. At the end of July, Fortune reported that Bitmain earned around $1 billion in net profit for the first quarter of 2018 and is allegedly soon applying for an overseas IPO.

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China: World’s Third-Largest Bank Issues Farmland Mortgage Loan on a Blockchain


In a significant breakthrough to deepen the reform of mortgage loans, the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) revealed that it has issued a farmland loan worth $300,000 on the blockchain in a trial.

The bank, as reported by a local news source, used a segment of agriculture land as collateral to issue the mortgage loan in one of its Guizhou province branches. It also distributed the details of the loan across other node partners, including various commercial banks, Guizhou’s Land and Resources Bureau, and – surprisingly – the local branch of the People’s Bank of China.

In a broader sense, ABC’s new blockchain solution – reportedly called E-Blockchain Loan – will be ideal to resolve the complexity of the loan process. The bank recognized that the current loan approval process involves intermediaries at every step. Most institutional banks still take weeks, or even months, before approving a potential borrower. Disintermediation could save thousands of dollars for ABC and other involved parties by eliminating costs incurred from legal fees to underwriting costs.

The bank stated that their E-Blockchain Loan system would also make it easier to streamline borrowers’ data across the banking system. It will allow the lending institutions to verify their potential borrowers, individually to check if they use the same portion of land to receive loans from different banks.

Another benefit of sharing data across multiple node partners is tamper-proofing. As each server hosts a copy of mortgage data, it would be difficult for hackers to find a single point of failure and organize an attack.

As for the borrowers, especially the farmers in China, E-Blockchain Loan system would offer quick and easy access to farmland mortgage loans. The farmers would be able to access the loaning facilities online while avoiding long queues at brick-and-mortar bank branches.

ABC confirmed that it would expand its blockchain solution to other branches after testing the output of the initial test runs. Furthermore, the banking giant plans to incorporate other loanable assets, including real estate, soon.

At the same time, the real challenge would lie in making technologically advanced systems like blockchain simpler to adopt and understand at users’ end.

HyperChain’s Involvement in ABC’s Blockchain System

HyperChain, a Hangzhou-based blockchain startup, is reported to have actively provided technical support to ABC’s blockchain project. Since June, the company has been announcing a partnership with ABC on various fronts, including a consortium blockchain system that features state-complied smart contracts, nodes’ modification and data restoration as crucial modules.

AgBank image from Shutterstock.

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Thailand’s Largest Movie Theater Chain Will Accept Cryptocurrency


Major Cineplex, Thailand’s largest movie theater operator, is integrating cryptocurrency payments to allow movie-goers to buy everything from tickets to popcorn with bitcoin and other digital currencies.

The endeavor follows a partnership with Swiss fintech developer RapidzPay wherein the multiplex operator will deploy a digital payment ecosystem built by the latter firm to ingrate cryptocurrency payments at point-of-sale (PoS) machines at its theatres, according to Thai publication The Nation.

Cryptocurrency adopters and holders can send their payments to RapidzPay’s digital wallet via a mobile app to make those purchases whereas merchants in the same transaction will also be able to use the Swiss firm’s PoS platform to accept both cryptocurrencies and fiat baht.

Major Cineplex owns 678 screens across Thailand including 7 in Camodia and 9 in Laos, with plans to expand to 1,000 screens by 2020, Forbes reports. The chain’s founder Vicha Poolvaraluck also owns McThai, the company with the developmental licensee for all McDonald’s outlets in the country, operating 250 McDonald’s restaurants in Thailand.

Major Cineplex’s director of marketing Chanya Tamrongweenichai stated:

“With RapidzPOS and the RapidzPay mobile app, you’ll be able to buy any services and products from us, such as movie tickets, popcorn and other different products with cryptocurrency.”

RapidzPay’s memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Major Cineplex follows the Swiss firm’s own expansion with a new office in Bangkok earlier this month.

RapidzPay is targeting a million active users in Thailand within the first year of its operations following the launch of its wallet app which allows users to hold, trade and exchange multiple cryptocurrencies as well as buy crypto with fiat.

Thailand Warms to Cryptocurrency

The developments come at a time when Thailand is proactively emerging as a friendly jurisdiction for the cryptocurrency, blockchain and initial coin offering (ICO) ecosystem, under regulation. Thailand’s official securities markets regulator said it realized the “potential of ICOs” in late 2017, hinting at regulation – in effect legalization under a rulebook – at the time.

In March this year, the governor of Thailand’s central bank confirmed authorities were working on legislation to “comprehensively regulate” the cryptocurrency sector. To that end, the cabinet of Thailand approved two royal decree drafts aimed at regulating crypto transactions and enforcing taxes on adopters.

Thailand’s tax authority moved to waive a 7% value added tax (VAT) on individual cryptocurrency investors in May, a move certain to encourage further adoption.

In a firm nod, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Thailand announced an ICO regulatory framework – now in effect since July 16 – that allows ICO issuers to receive payments in seven cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple. The regulators’ embrace has also seen the primary body of Thailand’s securities firms plan a joint cryptocurrency exchange in recognizing the growing retail and institutional interest in cryptocurrency trading.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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China: World’s Fourth Largest Bank by Assets Trials Blockchain Loans Backed by Land

The Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), the world’s fourth-largest bank by assets, has issued its first loan on blockchain, local news outlet Financial News reported July 31.

State-owned ABC, which counts itself among China’s “Big Four” lenders, revealed it had issued a loan worth around $300,000 backed by a piece of agricultural land in the Guizhou province.

According to Financial News, the bank will “buil[d] blocks with local people, pilot land and resources bureaus, and agriculture and animal husbandry bureaus,” through the blockchain system, adding that the loan aimed to “support the local tea industry.”

The blockchain project received participation from third parties, including the provincial branch of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), acting as nodes to keep tabs on the validity of loan data.

In the future, the bank says, other types of loans will come under the auspices of blockchain, the decentralized ledger technology allowing ABC to prevent the issue of clients applying for loans at different banks using the same piece of land as collateral.

China continues to adopt blockchain technology with considerable speed, with the government keen to deploy industry-wide standards next year.

In July, China’s joint technical committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) announced they would lead an international research group on the standardization of the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain technology.

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Largest Movie Theater Chain in Thailand Going Crypto

News

Thailand’s largest movie theater chain, Major Cineplex, is reportedly integrating crypto payments to allow customers to pay for its services and products with cryptocurrency, including movie tickets and popcorn. Thailand recently began regulating crypto businesses. This week, the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission started accepting license applications from crypto operators.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Largest Cinema Chain in Thailand to Accept Crypto

Largest Movie Theater Chain in Thailand Going CryptoThe largest operator of movie theaters in Thailand is building a digital payment ecosystem in the country through a partnership with Swiss payment company Rapidzpay, the Nation Multimedia recently reported.

Founded in December 1995, Major Cineplex currently lists 143 theaters throughout Thailand on its website, 43 of which are in the greater Bangkok area. The group owns “678 screens, including 7 in Cambodia and 9 in Laos, and plans to expand to 1,000 screens by 2020,” Forbes reported in May last year.

Among the group’s properties is Thailand’s largest multiplex, the Paragon Cineplex, with 16 screens, 5,000 seats, and an Imax theater. It is located in one of Bangkok’s most prestigious shopping malls, the Siam Paragon, known for its luxury goods, floors of restaurants, an aquarium, an art gallery, a large bowling alley, a karaoke center, and a concert hall. It was also at the Paragon Cineplex that Major Group and Rapidzpay signed their partnership agreement.

Largest Movie Theater Chain in Thailand Going Crypto
Rapidzpay iOS app.

Merchants can use Rapidz point-of-sale system to accept cryptocurrencies as well as fiat currencies, the Nation detailed. “Major and Rapidzpay will integrate cryptocurrency payments into established payment gateways to make payment for Major products and services more seamless, secure and efficient.”

While Major Group has not announced which cryptocurrencies will be accepted, the coins supported in both the iOS and Android Rapidzpay apps currently include BTC, BCH, and LTC.

Chanya Tamrongweenichai, the director of marketing at Major Cineplex Group, was quoted by the Nation saying the group believes “Rapidzpay will expand to our other businesses and lead the change for Thailand’s financial ecosystem to be cashless,” noting:

You’ll be able to buy any services and products from us, such as movie tickets, popcorn and other different products with cryptocurrency.

Thailand’s Crypto Regulation in Effect

Largest Movie Theater Chain in Thailand Going Crypto
Rapee Sucharitakul.

Thailand’s cryptocurrency regulation recently went into effect with the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as the primary regulator of crypto businesses. The SEC announced last month that it will allow seven cryptocurrencies to be traded at exchanges in the country: BTC, ETH, BCH, ETC, LTC, XRP, and XLM.

The SEC’s Secretary-General, Rapee Sucharitakul, was quoted explaining this week that “the SEC is (now) open for application approval for operating a digital asset business, as the Finance Ministry’s announcement on digital asset licenses has come into force,” the Nation further detailed:

Rapidzpay is targeting a million active users in Thailand within its first year by attracting both existing and new crypto-enthusiasts who are looking for a simple and convenient platform to convert between fiat and cryptocurrency.

What do you think of Major Group adding crypto payments? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Thai SEC, Rapidzpay, and Major Group.


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Mining Round-Up: AMD GPU Sales Decline, Hut 8 Claims to be Largest Miner in Canada

Mining

In recent mining news, AMD has reported declining sales of mining hardware during the second quarter of 2018, Hut 8 has claimed to now comprise the largest bitcoin mining company in Canada by operating power following the construction of its second facility, and Chinese authorities have shut down what they have described as “illegal” mining operations taking place in the autonomous Xinjiang Uyghur region in the country’s north-west.

Also Read: Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean Market

AMD Reports Declining GPU Sales During Q2

Mining Round-Up: AMD Reports Declining GPU Sales, Hut 8 Claims to be Largest Mining Company in CanadaMajor manufacturer of graphics cards (GPUs), Advanced Micro Devices (ADM), has become the latest mining chip maker to report declining sales during Q2, 2018.

It the company’s latest quarterly earnings report, AMD reports a 3% quarter-to-quarter decline in revenues generated by the company’s Computing and Graphics division. The chief executive officer of AMD, Lisa Su, also indicated that roughly 6% of the company’s revenue came from mining hardware sales during Q2 – down from 10% during Q1.

The report states: “Computing and Graphics segment revenue was $1.09 billion, up 64 percent year-over-year and down 3 percent quarter-over-quarter. Year-over-year revenue growth was driven by strong sales of Radeon products and continued growth of Ryzen products. The quarter-over-quarter decline was primarily related to lower revenue from GPU products in the blockchain market.”

Looking forward, the report anticipates further decline in GPU sales, stating: “For the third quarter of 2018, AMD expects revenue to be approximately $1.7 billion, plus or minus $50 million, an increase of approximately 7 percent year-over-year, and non-GAAP gross margin to increase to approximately 38 percent, driven by the sales growth of Ryzen and EPYC products, partially offset by lower sales of GPU products in the blockchain market.”

Hut 8 Completes Construction of Second Facility, Claims to be Largest Miner in Canada

Mining Round-Up: AMD Reports Declining GPU Sales, Hut 8 Claims to be Largest Mining Company in CanadaHut 8 Mining Corp. has announced the completion of the construction of its second bitcoin mining facility which is based in the city of Medicine Hat.

According to a press release issued by Hut 8, the new facility hosts 40 “BlockBox datacenters” at the site, representing “48 MW of operating power.” The company now claims to wield a total of “66.7 MW of fully-funded operating power.“

Andrew Kiguel, the president and chief executive officer of Hut 8, stated: “As a result of our employees’ hard work, our partners at the Bitfury Group and the cooperation from the City of Medicine Hat, our construction is complete – ahead of schedule and on budget. We are pleased to have surpassed our September 2018 completion target. With 66.7 MW of aggregate operating capacity, we believe we are the largest cryptocurrency miner in Canada and the largest publicly-traded cryptocurrency miner by operating capacity in the world. In addition, we are actively pursuing further opportunities to deliver value to our investors.”

Since beginning operation in December 2017, Hut 8 claims to have mined more than 1,900 BTC.

China Cracks Down on “Illegal” Mining in Autonomous Xinjiang Uygur Region

Mining Round-Up: AMD Reports Declining GPU Sales, Hut 8 Claims to be Largest Mining Company in CanadaChinese media have reported that the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Economic and Information Technology Commission has issued a “notice on the removal of illegal mining enterprises” which demands that mining companies in the region cease operations by the 30th of August.

The notice specifically targets “Unauthorized mining enterprises that fail to go through the formalities of industrial and commercial registration, tax registration, social security and other insurances in accordance with national laws and regulations” and “non-regulated electricity use.”

The notice adds that “the main body responsible for the […] illegal use of electricity shall be the power generation enterprise.”

When do you think that demand for mining hardware will again show growth? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, hut8mining.com


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