Payment Network RippleNet Exceeds 200 Customers, Garlinghouse Highlights Fiat Volatility

Crypto and blockchain company Ripple has reported today, Jan. 8, that 13 new financial institutions have signed up for the RippleNet payment network, bringing the total number of customers over 200.

The new institutions range from locations including Sweden, England and Kuwait, with 40 countries in total across all customers. Ripple’s blog post notes that five of the new additions — JNFX, SendFriend, Transpaygo, FTCS and Euro Exim Bank — will use Ripple’s digital asset, XRP, for liquidity when sending customer cross-border payments.

Other institutions new to RippleNet, like the named CIMB or Olympia Trust Company, will use Ripple technology for immediate settlement and more transparency payments.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse noted in the post that RippleNet is seeing two or three new customers join each week since last year, with a 350 increase in 2018 in customers sending live payments.

Speaking to CNBC, Garlinghouse, addressing a common concern that crypto payments are a poor substitute for fiat payment due to the currency’s volatility, noted foreign currencies can also be volatile. He said:

“The average Swift transaction takes three days — but really what we’re seeing is three business days. You’re taking fiat volatility risk while markets are closed over the weekend.”

In March, SWIFT’s blockchain proof-of-concept reportedly was completed successfully with a focus on Nostro accounts — a bank’s account in a foreign currency in another bank. At the end of November, SWIFT India also partnered with a fintech firm to test a distributed ledger (DLT) network with the aim to increase the efficiency and security of financial products.

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Major Chinese Tech Magazine Adds Payment in Bitcoin to Show Blockchain ‘Practicality’

Beijing Sci-Tech Report (BSTR), China’s oldest media publication covering the tech industry, has announced it will offer subscriptions payable with Bitcoin (BTC), local media outlet Guangming reported Sunday, September 30.

An evidently rare occurrence from China, were government pressure has forced crypto exchanges and Initial Coin Offering (ICO) operators to halt activities over the past year, BSTR says it wishes to promote blockchain and crypto use through “practical actions.”

“[S]ubscribers can pay subscription fees to the specific bitcoin receiving address of the newspaper to complete the subscription,” Guangming confirms.

The product on offer is an annual subscription to the publication’s ‘Tech Life’ magazine, which costs 0.01 BTC (about $65).

Chinese authorities continue to clamp down on trading and promotional operations related to cryptocurrency, Cointelegraph reporting on fresh efforts to tackle overseas platforms by blocking access to them online in August.

At the same time, owning and investing in cryptocurrency is not officially illegal.

Responding to queries about the BSTR move on social media, Chinese cryptocurrency news commentator cnLedger underlined the fact that by offering a Bitcoin subscription, the publication was not breaking the law.

“Owning and investing in crypto is not banned,” it wrote.

“Otherwise Jihan (Wu, CEO) of Bitmain and Leon (Li, CEO) of Huobi would be among the first ones to get fined/caught. Thousands if not millions would have been arrested already (large amount of OTC tradings).”

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Hong Kong University Receives $20 Mln Research Grant for Payment Systems, Blockchain

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Business School has received a $20 million research grant to improve the security capabilities of electronic payment systems, China News reported August 12.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Business School has reportedly partnered with the University of Hong Kong (HKU), the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), and the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) to work on the research project.

Apart from the enhancement of the electronic payment security system, the parties will also explore blockchain technology applications, and discuss the possibility of Hong Kong’s transformation into a global financial technology hub.

The interdisciplinary research will reportedly be coordinated by professor Tan Jiayin, who is known for his work on the “Strengthening Hong Kong’s Strategic Position as a Regional and International Business Center” with a focus on blockchain, network security, and artificial intelligence (AI). He welcomed the participation of banks as the research will also explore digital currencies and financial product design and distribution services.

In 2017, in order to “significantly reduce the input of human resources and time that trade finance normally requires, and reduce chances of fraud,” the Hong Kong government announced plans to establish a blockchain-powered trade financing system. The system was expected to benefit the country in its participation in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to promote trade links between China and its global partners.

In June of this year, Alibaba subsidiary Ant Financial, formerly known as AliPay, trialled its first blockchain remittances, sending a transaction between AliPayHK app in Hong Kong and Filipino payment app GCash in three seconds.

Last month, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and a Ping An Group fintech subsidiary announced the launch of their own blockchain trade finance solution with 21 banks. The solution aims to reduce the amount of time and bureaucracy involved in signing up new fledgling businesses for banking services by smoothing over transactions.

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BTC/BCH Payment Service Bitpay Reports Growing Usage Processing $1.2 billion USD

Economy & Regulation

Bitpay’s chief operating officer, Sonny Singh, recently attested to the efficacy of bitcoin as a means of payment, stating that “bitcoin is being used all around the world for things other than speculation and trading.” The COO also reported that Bitpay processed $1.2 billion USD worth of bitcoin payment in 2018.

Also Read: Swissquote Reports 44% Increase in Profit After Adding Cryptocurrency Services 

It Does Not Matter To Bitpay Whether It’s ”Crashing”

itpay COO Believes Bitcoin is "Working" as Means of PaymentSonny Singh, the chief operating officer of Bitpay, recently discussed the use of bitcoin as a means of payment.

Mr. Singh stated that “Bitcoin is actually working,” adding that when “people say ‘wow the price has gone down so much, it’s crashing’ – that’s not relevant to what I’m doing.”

The Bitpay CEO asserted that “The key thing is that bitcoin is actually being used all around the world for things other than speculation and trading.” Mr. Singh claims that Bitpay “did 1.2 billion dollars last year in payments,” adding that such “means people spent $1.2 billion dollars of payments using bitcoin.”

Need for Greater Crypto Education to Foster Adoption

Bitpay COO Believes Bitcoin is "Working" as Means of PaymentDespite his belief that bitcoin is currently “working” as a means of payment, Mr. Singh emphasized the need for greater education regarding the benefits of cryptocurrency in order to foster adoption.

“In America, everyone’s so used to credit cards or goes online and types credit card numbers. But it’s safer and easier to do this through QR code because you don’t have to give your credit card numbers. […] The merchants save money in America by paying with bitcoin, because they pay 1% of the transaction fee, but with credit cards, that’s 4%. So the merchants can make a lot of money if you are paying with bitcoin. But yet they don’t understand it, they have to be educated about it. And the consumers have to get the habit of spending with bitcoin. For them, it’s better and quicker than credit cards, and better for privacy,” he stated.

Mr. Singh added that the typical American cryptocurrency-user is principally concerned with speculation rather than the utility of bitcoin, stating: “A lot of people in America have heard of bitcoin, but not a lot of them own bitcoin. Even the tech people and college kids bought bitcoin, they’ll not spend it. They bought it only for speculation. And if you ask them about bitcoin, they can tell you about the price but nothing else, because they treat it as an investment tool. We need to get these people to actually start to spend bitcoin.”

Asian Region a Key Market for Bitpay

itpay COO Believes Bitcoin is "Working" as Means of PaymentThe Bitpay COO indicated that Asia comprises the company’s major market, stating “I have to say that Asia is a very big market for Bitpay and for bitcoin overall. And it will be that way for a long time, not just for trading, but for businesses as well. If you [live] in China or Korea and you have to pay an invoice to America, let’s say a million dollars, and you use bank services, it’ll take you 3 to 5 days for that payment to happen and it cost 3% to 4% in fees. We can do the whole thing in one day for 1% fee by bitcoin. That’s how bitcoin solves a real pain point. It’s cheaper and quicker than bank wire in most regions of the world.”

Mr. Singh also expressed his confidence that bitcoin “will become a main street product in the next couple of years,” adding “It just takes a little time.”

Do you think that bitcoin fulfills its utility as a means of exchange? Join the discussion in the comments section below!


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The Bitcoin universe is vast. So is Bitcoin.com. Check our Wiki, where you can learn everything you were afraid to ask. Or read our news coverage to stay up to date on the latest. Or delve into statistics on our helpful tools page.

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Bitpay COO Believes Bitcoin is “Working” as Means of Payment

Economy & Regulation

Bitpay’s chief operating officer, Sonny Singh, recently attested to the efficacy of bitcoin as a means of payment, stating that “bitcoin is being used all around the world for things other than speculation and trading.” The COO also reported that Bitpay processed $1.2 billion USD worth of bitcoin payment in 2018.

Also Read: Swissquote Reports 44% Increase in Profit After Adding Cryptocurrency Services 

Bitpay COO Promotes Bitcoin as Means of Payment

itpay COO Believes Bitcoin is "Working" as Means of PaymentSonny Singh, the chief operating officer of Bitpay, recently discussed the use of bitcoin as a means of payment.

Mr. Singh stated that “Bitcoin is actually working,” adding that when “people say ‘wow the price has gone down so much, it’s crashing’ – that’s not relevant to what I’m doing.”

The Bitpay CEO asserted that “The key thing is that bitcoin is actually being used all around the world for things other than speculation and trading.” Mr. Singh claims that Bitpay “did 1.2 billion dollars last year in payments,” adding that such “means people spent $1.2 billion dollars of payments using bitcoin.”

Need for Greater Crypto Education to Foster Adoption

Bitpay COO Believes Bitcoin is "Working" as Means of PaymentDespite his belief that bitcoin is currently “working” as a means of payment, Mr. Singh emphasized the need for greater education regarding the benefits of cryptocurrency in order to foster adoption.

“In America, everyone’s so used to credit cards or goes online and types credit card numbers. But it’s safer and easier to do this through QR code because you don’t have to give your credit card numbers. […] The merchants save money in America by paying with bitcoin, because they pay 1% of the transaction fee, but with credit cards, that’s 4%. So the merchants can make a lot of money if you are paying with bitcoin. But yet they don’t understand it, they have to be educated about it. And the consumers have to get the habit of spending with bitcoin. For them, it’s better and quicker than credit cards, and better for privacy,” he stated.

Mr. Singh added that the typical American cryptocurrency-user is principally concerned with speculation rather than the utility of bitcoin, stating: “A lot of people in America have heard of bitcoin, but not a lot of them own bitcoin. Even the tech people and college kids bought bitcoin, they’ll not spend it. They bought it only for speculation. And if you ask them about bitcoin, they can tell you about the price but nothing else, because they treat it as an investment tool. We need to get these people to actually start to spend bitcoin.”

Asian Region a Key Market for Bitpay

itpay COO Believes Bitcoin is "Working" as Means of PaymentThe Bitpay COO indicated that Asia comprises the company’s major market, stating “I have to say that Asia is a very big market for Bitpay and for bitcoin overall. And it will be that way for a long time, not just for trading, but for businesses as well. If you [live] in China or Korea and you have to pay an invoice to America, let’s say a million dollars, and you use bank services, it’ll take you 3 to 5 days for that payment to happen and it cost 3% to 4% in fees. We can do the whole thing in one day for 1% fee by bitcoin. That’s how bitcoin solves a real pain point. It’s cheaper and quicker than bank wire in most regions of the world.”

Mr. Singh also expressed his confidence that bitcoin “will become a main street product in the next couple of years,” adding “It just takes a little time.”

Do you think that bitcoin fulfills its utility as a means of exchange? Join the discussion in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


The Bitcoin universe is vast. So is Bitcoin.com. Check our Wiki, where you can learn everything you were afraid to ask. Or read our news coverage to stay up to date on the latest. Or delve into statistics on our helpful tools page.

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Tom Lee’s Market Research Firm Fundstrat Adds Bitcoin as Payment Method

Fundstrat Global Advisors, market strategy and research provider, announced the firm will start accepting Bitcoin (BTC) for content via Bitpay, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph July 31.

In what the company claims is a first for research firms, Fundstrat has added Bitcoin payments to its platform via payment operator BitPay, which processed more than $1 bln in Bitcoin payments in 2017.

According to the press release, the new feature will allow institutional investors, as well as financial advisors, high net worth individuals and other entities to use Bitcoin to purchase access to Fundstrat’s reports on different financial sectors.

According to BitPay’s Chief Commercial Officer Sonny Singh, the addition of Bitcoin as a payment method for Fundstrat will enable a global client base from Asia, Africa, and Latin America that “has been nearly impossible before” to access the firm’s content.  

In July, BitPay was granted a BitLicense by New York State’s financial regulator, which allowed the global crypto payments operator to do business with customers in the state, enabling them to use Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) for purchases worldwide.

Fundstrat’s co-founder and head of research Tom Lee commented that accepting payments in BTC via BitPay would make the process “considerably simpler, faster and less expensive.”

In early July, Lee reiterated his stance that Bitcoin could reach to anywhere between $22,000 to $25,000 by the end of 2018, clarifying that his recent prediction is not a bearish setback from his previous forecast of $25,000. Earlier this summer, June 27, the Fundstrat’s Head of Technical Research predicted that the BTC downtrend that took place in June, would be reversed if Bitcoin could push through a resistance point of $6,300-6400.

Bitcoin 3 months price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

Bitcoin, which broke $8,000 level last week and reached $8,483 July 25, is trading at $7,555 at press time, having lost around 7.5 percent over the week, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin price index.

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Government of India to Recognize Crypto as a Payment Method, Experts Optimistic

Cryptocurrencies have found an unlikely ally in their quest to become legalized in India, following intense legal battles between companies, consumers, and the Reserve Bank of India. The recommendation to legalize crypto comes from the law commission of India, as they are a vital part of their case against a blanket ban on sports betting.

India’s Controversial Ban on Cryptocurrencies

The Indian government’s battle against virtual currencies first began in April of 2018, when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) barred all financial institutions from doing business with cryptocurrency exchanges.  The result of this ban was grave, drying up liquidity from the affected exchanges and damaging Indian based cryptocurrency investors.  The RBI gave banks three months to cut all ties with crypto related companies, making July 5th the official start date of the ban.

The Reserve bank of India made a statement at the time of the ban, saying:

“It has been decided that, with immediate effect, entities regulated by RBI shall not deal with or provide services to any individual or business entities dealing with or settling cryptocurrencies. Regulated entities which already provide such services shall exit the relationship within a specified time.”

As the July deadline loomed, exchanges and investors increased their efforts to protest the cryptocurrency ban, putting their petitions in front of the country’s highest court.

The Indian Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, ruled in favor of the RBI, upholding the cryptocurrency ban and accepting the RBI’s arguments.  The RBI’s main argument was that Indian law inherently prohibits cryptocurrencies, as it requires all legal currencies to be physical, and to be stamped by the government.

Ban on Crypto by India Was Only Temporary

Following the court’s decision to uphold a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies, there was another twist to the complicated situation. An unnamed government official within the Indian government recently told Quartz India that the government is actually leaning against a sweeping ban on the trading of cryptocurrencies and is considering classifying them as commodities instead.

“I don’t think anyone is really thinking of banning it (cryptocurrencies) altogether. The issue here is about regulating the trade and we need to know where the money is coming from. Allowing it as (a) commodity may let us better regulate trade and so that is being looked at,” the anonymous senior government official said.

The government official seemed to insinuate that the April ban was more of a temporary measure, put in place while the government figured out how to regulate the industry.

He also explained that the government isn’t concerned with cryptocurrencies themselves, but rather the illegal activities that they could be used for, saying, “Trade is not a criminal offence…what has to be in place is a mechanism to be sure that the money used is not illegal money, and to track its source is the most important thing.”

Legalization of Sports Betting Could Lead to Crypto Approval

The law commission of India may sway the government’s decision on how to regulate cryptocurrencies, due to their recommendations in a case against a sweeping ban on sports betting in the country.

The commission has been preparing a case against the ban on sports betting, which could, in turn, influence future rulings on cryptocurrencies.  In their case, the commission first recommended making all betting transactions cashless, which would make tracking transactions significantly easier. In their recommendation, they said “gambling transactions should be made cashless, making use of electronic means of payment such as credit cards, debit cards, net-banking, virtual currencies, etc.”

While speaking to Quartz India, Nischal Shetty, founder and CEO of Indian based cryptocurrency exchange WazirX, said that this ruling is “the first time that a body appointed by the government has given recognition to virtual currencies that they have value and can be used for a transaction,” and that it is a “very positive sign, especially considering the report has come out after a lot of deliberation.”

The final hearing for the case on the legalization of cryptocurrencies will occur on September 11th, and those effected by the ban are hopeful that the commission’s recommendation on using virtual currencies for gambling will carry weight in the case against the RBI.

Featured image from Shutterstock

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Indian Law Commission Recognizes Cryptocurrency as an ‘Electronic Payment’: Report


The cryptocurrency ecosystem in India may have just found a lifeline, albeit an unlikely one.

According to a legal report released in July 2018, the country’s lawmakers are considering legalizing the multi-million dollar sports betting industry – naming cryptocurrencies as a legally acceptable payment method akin to credit and debit cards.

India Explores Cryptocurrencies in Sports Betting

Titled “Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India,” the report explores the usage of digital payment mechanisms, including cryptocurrencies, as the country prepares to legalize the sports betting sector.

The report stems after police investigations into million-dollar betting allegations during the popular Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches revealed fan-favorite celebrities and politicians used “black money” for placing their bets, superseding the government’s widespread, yet ineffective, crackdown on betting circles.

After observing this fallacy, judges of the Indian Supreme Court proposed the legalization of the sports betting market, while appointing the Lodha Committee to explore this suggestion further while collaborating with the Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI).

The committee stated there is a subtle boundary between match-fixing and recreational betting, and the former could undoubtedly remain a legal offense while the latter could serve as a means of generating tax, after legal regulation.

Interesting, the law commision considered cryptocurrencies as a method of digital payment akin to credit cards, debit cards, and net banking, stating:

“Similar restrictions should also be prescribed for the purpose of the amount one would be allowed to stake while using electronic money facilities of the likes of credit cards, debit cards, net-banking, VCs, etc.”

Citizens Await Cryptocurrency Regulations

The commission noted betting activities have become potentially more accessible in recent years after the rise of cryptocurrencies “since the transactions are difficult to trace.”

Unlike many countries, the Indian government made sports betting, and other forms of gambling, an illegal activity since the 1800’s. However, people flocked to using cash for placing their bets and created a criminal, yet vibrant, betting industry over the years.

Nischal Shetty, the founder of peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange WazirX, told Quartz:

“It is the first time that a body appointed by the government has given recognition to virtual currencies that they have value and can be used for a transaction. Therefore, it is a very positive sign, especially considering the report has come out after a lot of deliberation.”

Following the Indian central bank’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies, crypto-enthusiasts are awaiting developments and regulations for the burgeoning sector. At the time of writing, money cannot be withdrawn from cryptocurrency exchanges, although peer-to-peer exchanges like WazirX and Koinex Loop make cashing out possible.

The much-awaited July regulation on the legality of cryptocurrencies was shifted for September 11, 2018, hearing in the Indian Supreme court, as reported by CCN.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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