Mongolia Partners With Stablecoin to Use Blockchain for Lending Services, Money Transfers

Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaanbaatar has partnered with a stablecoin company to release instant money transfer and lending services, Asia’s largest tech media platform e27 reported on Jan. 11.

Ulaanbaatar City’s administration has agreed to partner with a South Korean blockchain company, dubbed Terra, in order to eventually replace the current payment methods for utility bill and government subsidies with the Terra stablecoin, according to the publication.

The pilot program is scheduled to be launched within the next six months, and will start in the city of Ulaanbaatar’s Nalaikh District, with plans to expand throughout the whole city. The article also states that the program within the Mongolian capital will contain both peer-to-peer payments and mobile payments.

Terra is a stablecoin project co-founded by Daniel Shin, the creator of South Korean e-commerce marketplace Ticket Monster. The stablecoin project closed a $32 million funding round in August 2018, with participation from Binance Labs, OKEx and Huobi Capital, as well as Polychain Capital.

Back last fall, the Bank of Mongolia, the country’s central bank, had given permission to Mongolia’s largest mobile telecoms operator to issue its own digital currency, as Cointelegraph reported on Sep. 28.

Terra, the stablecoin project, had already partnered with South Korean messaging app giant KakaoTalk back in last November as well. The partnership is aimed at developing a blockchain-based payment system and creating a blockchain ecosystem that would allow a large number of people to use its services, Cointelegraph wrote on Nov. 14.

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Blockstream, Swiss IT Consulting Firm Sign MoU for Blockchain Integration Services

Global blockchain company Blockstream has partnered with а Swiss crypto consulting firm to launch a blockchain-driven settlement network, according to a press-release Dec. 17.

Inacta AG and Blockstream have reportedly recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide integration services for Liquid — a sidechain solution launched by Blockstream in October. Liquid reportedly combines key features of public and permissioned blockchains, allowing for the issuance and transfer of different crypto tokens.

As per inacta AG’s release, the company will focus on “helping financial institutions to leverage the benefits of the Liquid blockchain.” The Swiss firm will provide support for clients considering issuing their own assets via Liquid.

In addition to that, inacta has integrated Liquid with its own platform, Tokengate, that was initially developed to make the initial coin offering (ICO) market in Zug Valley compliant and transparent.

This week, Blockstream also announced that it has expanded its crypto satellite services. The company is now broadcasting the BTC blockchain to all of Earth’s major land masses, with the recently-added fifth satellite covering the Asia Pacific region.

Switzerland’s Zug Valley, dubbed Crypto Valley for hosting multiple industry-related startups, has recently been ranked the fastest-growing tech community in Europe.

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Israel: Financial Services Firm GMT Joins RippleNet

Israel-based financial services firm GMT has joined Ripple’s bank and payment provider network, the company confirmed in a recent press release.

The result of a “long and precise process,” the move reportedly will help the company remain “at the forefront” of the local finance industry.

Ripple, which operates blockchain-based financial products using its XRP token, has partnered with multiple financial institutions and banks to expand its international reach in recent years.

“After a long and precise process GMT was chosen to be Ripple’s representative in Israel, by so joining Ripple, and its partners, in creating a global financial system, with high-end technology and values such as; [sic] transparency and affordable costs,” GMT’s statement reads.

In a private statement to Cointelegraph, a Ripple representative said that they can “confirm that [GMT is] a Ripple customer, similar to the 100+ customers on RippleNet.”

Ripple’s partners currently include MoneyGram, American Express and Japan’s SBI Group, among others.

Remittances have formed a central area of interest for new partners. This month, the United Arab Emirates’ UAE Exchange partnered with the blockchain firm to set up a payments corridor to Asia.

Earlier this month, enterprise blockchain consortium R3 chose XRP as the first cryptocurrency in its new universal payments decentralized application (DApp).

Ripple has meanwhile faced mixed publicity over its corporate structure, with criticism coming from the conflicting accounts about its relationship with XRP.

XRP is currently up almost 3 percent on the day to press time, trading at $0.33.

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Bithumb Resumes Deposit and Withdrawal Services – Upbit Reveals 127% Cash Reserves

Exchanges

South Korean exchange Bithumb has resumed deposit and withdrawal services for a number of cryptocurrencies after the recent hack. Another major Korean exchange, Upbit, has released an audit report showing more crypto and cash reserves than needed to pay customers. Meanwhile, all customer deposits at Korbit will now be held by a bank.

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

Bithumb Resumes Deposit/Withdrawal Services

Bithumb Resumes Deposit and Withdrawal Services - Upbit Reveals 127% Cash ReservesBithumb, South Korea’s largest crypto exchange, announced on Saturday, August 4, that deposit and withdrawal services for nine cryptocurrencies will be resumed on August 4 at 7 p.m. KST.

The nine cryptocurrencies are BTC, ETH, ETC, XRP, LTC, BCH, ZEC, QTUM, and MITH.

This list was revised from an announcement two days prior which stated that 10 cryptocurrencies would be included and the services would restart at 11 a.m. KST. XMR was subsequently left out of the new list without explanation.

The exchange detailed:

Bithumb has been undergoing system security check and security upgrade, the enhancement in the customers’ order to secure our asset. As the security check and upgrade have been completed, we would like to re-open cryptocurrency deposit and withdrawal services.

However, the exchange noted that “some cryptocurrencies with a significant price difference of about 10% between the Bithumb market and the standard market will be opted out for this round in view of protecting our customers’ assets.”

Recently, the exchange suspended issuing new virtual accounts after NH Nonghyup Bank refused to renew its real-name account service with the exchange, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.

Upbit Audit Report Shows Plenty of Reserves

Bithumb Resumes Deposit and Withdrawal Services - Upbit Reveals 127% Cash ReservesUpbit, South Korea’s second largest crypto exchange, released an audit report Friday. The audit was conducted on June 28 and 29 by Eugene Accounting Corp and focused on 145 coins and the exchange’s deposits, according to Upbit.

The report “was completed after checking the company’s balance in its digital wallet and bank account,” the Investor detailed, adding:

Upbit operator Dunamu said its cryptocurrency reserve ratio stands at 103 percent of total deposits made by customers with cash reserve ratio of 127 percent. The company, however, has not revealed the exact figures.

Bithumb Resumes Deposit and Withdrawal Services - Upbit Reveals 127% Cash ReservesDunamu CEO Lee Sir-goo was quoted saying “we hold excess amounts of cryptocurrency and cash reserves than what we have to pay our customers,” noting that “this indicates we are able to pay whenever our customers wish to (withdraw).”

In May, the authorities started investigating Upbit since they were concerned that the exchange may not have the funds to repay customers due to its business practices and agreement with the US exchange Bittrex. Upbit was accused “of inflating their balance sheets without holding sufficient reserves,” the news outlet described.

Korbit Lets Bank Hold all Customer Deposits

Bithumb Resumes Deposit and Withdrawal Services - Upbit Reveals 127% Cash ReservesKorbit, another of the country’s four largest crypto exchanges, has become the first exchange in the country to exclusively use the real-name system.

Since the government implemented this system at the end of January, “Korbit has been implementing real-name verified deposit and withdrawal account services for cryptocurrency trading,” the exchange explained Thursday. This is “to comply with the government’s measures to promote the sound development of the cryptocurrency market,” Korbit noted, adding:

In line with the government’s efforts, Shinhan Bank has strengthened its policy on separate custody of customer deposits, and as a result, Korbit’s customer deposits will be managed by Shinhan Bank starting from August 2018.

The exchange clarified that, under this arrangement, withdrawals of Korean won from customer accounts “will not be available to users who have not completed the real-name verification. Due to government policy, real-name verification is only available to Korean citizens at this time.”

The real-name system has been partially used by the country’s largest exchanges: Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit. The regulators want all crypto trading accounts converted into real-name ones but the conversions at each exchange have been progressing slowly.

What do you think of Bithumb resuming deposit/withdrawal services, Upbit audit report showing excess reserves, and Korbit fully using the real-name system? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bithumb, Upbit, and Korbit.


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Qtum Platform Now Available Through Amazon Web Services

Singapore-based Qtum has launched its decentralized application (DApp) development platform on Amazon Web Services (AWS). With this launch, AWS users and developers will be able to develop and launch smart contracts using an Amazon Machine Image (AMI), made up of Qtum Core, Solidity and Qmix web IDE.

Qtum is a hybrid platform, developed by the Qtum Foundation, which uses the Account Attraction Layer, an interface layer, to merge the strength of Bitcoin’s blockchain with the Ethereum Virtual Machine to build decentralized applications. Designed as a toolkit, the platform uses the proof-of-stake model to reduce the network’s computational difficulty while mitigating and solving scalability.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Qtum Foundation CIO Miguel Palencia said, “Qtum’s launch in the AWS marketplace provides an easy-to-use and powerful cloud-based solution for end users and the Enterprise. Anyone who wants to develop/build DApps on the Qtum platform or use it as a staking node will benefit from this.”

Usage

One of the benefits of using the new Qtum AMI on AWS is the ease of getting started on the blockchain without the “hassle of handling dependencies.” The platform makes it possible for anyone to run a Qtum node or use Qtum pre-installed to launch a server on its mainnet or testnet.

According to Palencia, this is what makes the Qtum technology attractive to both small and large businesses. Companies can launch the servers without “having to spend a large amount of resources on infrastructure.” The Qtum AMI is also free for AWS customers to deploy a Qtum instance (server). Users can deploy a test network on the instance to simulate a public blockchain without paying a fee.

Features

Among some of the features of the Qtum AMI is a Qmix development IDE — the development libraries and tools created for the desktop QT wallet — which launches by default. Users will also get the Qtum and Solidity compiler needed for building and executing smart contracts.

Amazon Web Services has been quite active in the blockchain space since it opened its arms to blockchain startups in 2016. Earlier this year, ConsenSys partnered with AWS to launch Kaleido, a service similar to Qtum’s, which simplifies the adoption and implementation of blockchain technology.

The difference between Qtum’s offering and Kaleido, according to Palencia, is that Qtum is not strictly for enterprise, “but for end users, as well as anyone wanting to create and build something on the Qtum blockchain.”

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