While most financial institutions have continued to be proponents of the ‘blockchain is good, cryptos are bad’ narrative, two of Russia’s largest banks are piloting a new cryptocurrency program for their clients. The two, Sberbank and Alfa-Bank, will offer their clients shares in a special new fund that will list six cryptocurrencies initially. The platforms will source their market data from some of the leading crypto exchanges including Kraken and Bitstamp. The initiative is geared towards the promotion of cryptocurrencies as legitimate financial assets in a country that has sent mixed signals to the crypto community.
Indian cryptocurrency exchanges have followed the Supreme Court’s suggestion for them to present their cases to the Reserve Bank of India. They have sent letters to the central bank, offering alternatives to the RBI’s banking ban.
Supreme Court’s Suggestion
Cryptocurrency exchanges in India have reportedly sent their pleas to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as directed by the Supreme Court’s ruling last month.
As institutional capital in the crypto space increases regularly, the need for blockchain technology and related enterprise support is at an all-time high, and several companies are working hard to provide both as the arena expands.
One of those companies is Coefficient Ventures, a crypto fund set on financing blockchain systems worldwide. Thus far, the company has made over 25 investments in companies and applications like Filecoin for decentralized storage; Raiden for scalability; and Zeppelin to improve smart contract capabilities.
Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, founding partner Chance Du described how she sees a central role for blockchain investment across all sectors of the global economy.
Last fall, the company Blockstack launched a Signature Bounties campaign in order to offer rewards for individuals and teams to build decentralized platforms. So far the campaign has helped produce popular apps like the messaging app ‘Stealthy,’ and ‘Graphite’ documents platform. Now Blockstack has announced it is partnering with the peer-to-peer exchange Shapeshift to offer a $ 50K bounty to a developer who can build a universal wallet application.
In the latest installment of its Signature Bounties campaign, Blockstack has partnered with ShapeShift to challenge developers to create a universal wallet. The contest, which began this morning, April 25, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. EST, will run until 11:59 p.m. on June 25, 2018. The winning project will be announced on June 29, 2018, and awarded $ 50,000.
“We’re really thrilled to be able to partner with ShapeShift for this bounty and to build on the success of the bounty program so far. This is something that speaks directly to the crypto community, who inherently understand the motivations behind decentralized applications,” Xan Ditkoff, a Growth Partner at Blockstack, told Bitcoin Magazine.
The decentralized social media platform Minds is making moves to implement the Ethereum blockchain into its core features. After launching in 2015, Minds.com has quickly grown to one million registered accounts and over 73 million unique page views.
Now, the project is taking decentralization even further with the launch of the Minds Crypto Social Network. This evolution of the platform will make it a fully functioning dApp running on the Ethereum blockchain for both mobile and web devices, replete with a white paper to outline this direction and the specifications of the project’s next step.
The global unbanked have been frozen out of most economic ecosystems, but Paxful is changing this through the selling of gift cards on their cryptocurrency exchange.
The rich and elite have a lot of options when it comes to economic decisions. They can invest in gold, stocks, bonds, precious gems, artwork, real estate, automobiles, and cryptocurrency. The only snag they face is the wait to convert the value of one asset into another, but such a problem is a minor one indeed. By contrast, the unbanked are essentially locked out of most economic ecosystems due to having to physically hand over fiat for goods and services. Even getting involved in cryptocurrency is an issue for the unbanked, but Paxful is offering an unexpected gateway: gift cards.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) appears to be taking steps to eliminate some of the ambiguity surrounding the status of ICOs as money services businesses (MSBs). On March 6, 2018, FinCEN released a letter it sent in February to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (the “Wyden Letter”). The letter stakes out a policy position that could be seen as somewhat inconsistent with prior FinCEN guidance and could foreshadow potential avenues of enforcement. ICOs would be wise to monitor FinCEN’s public statements and, if they haven’t already, should consider developing Bank Secrecy Act compliance programs to protect themselves from substantial fines and criminal liability associated with FinCEN actions.
The Winklevoss brothers are looking to add additional cryptocurrencies to the Gemini Exchange, while also praising the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent statements.
The Winklevoss twins’ cryptocurrency exchange Gemini Exchange is looking to expand with the addition of Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Currently, Gemini Exchange only offers Bitcoin and Ethereum trades.
Tyler Winklevoss claimed that the most obvious additions to Gemini’s roster of offerings “are from the Satoshi Nakamoto family tree – Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin.”
According to an announcement published Friday on Ripple’s blog, the UAE’s largest lender, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), has become the first bank in the Middle East to partner with Ripple. Through integrating Ripple’s technology, NBAD can now offer intrabank transfers and real-time cross-border payments to its customers.
Ripple to Provide Global Financial Settlement Solutions
Ramana Kumar, Managing Director and Head of Business and Product Management at Global Transaction Banking (GTB), appreciates the potential of blockchain technology as a way to offer efficient and transparent banking solutions:
The financial services giant is planning on offering digital asset trading beginning in the summer of 2018, sources close to the bank have reported.
Old Money Moving In
Goldman Sachs is becoming one of the first large banks in the US to embrace Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies, as the bank is currently building a team to tackle many of the issues that will come from implementing the trading. A major issue now is how the bank plans on storing the assets, as they will have custodial control of the assets.
It has been a busy week for popular peer-to-peer lending platform RCN. From announcing new strategic partnerships to upgrading key systems on its platform, RCN is working hard to deliver the best possible services and features to its users.
RCN Announces Decentraland Partnership
In addition to exploring and interacting with Decetraland’s 3D virtual world, users can also purchase land as well, creating an immutable record of ownership on the Ethereum blockchain.
Having invested in Bitcoin back in the early days could be considered a lottery win at today’s prices, however, the Gibraltar based Lottoland company has now introduced a 1,000 BTC Jackpot for their latest Lotto venture in Ireland.
With Bitcoin making the headlines throughout the year with its tremendous growth, it comes as no real surprise to learn that the Lottoland company will be conducting a lottery in Ireland with Bitcoin as it’s Jackpot. Cryptocurrency has already been welcomed into the gambling sector in the past, but the Lottoland Irish Bitcoin draw would appear to be the most high profile usage of Bitcoin so far seen.