IBM Working on ‘Permissioned But Public’ Blockchain Networks 847

International Business Machines Corporation, aka IBM, is developing ‘permissioned but public’ blockchain networks in response to high demand for digital asset issuance, according to Jesse Lund, the newly appointed head of blockchain technology.

IBM To Converge Public and Private Blockchains

IBM has been heavily invested in the blockchain space for some time now as it offers a commercial platform for companies and developers wanting to experiment and work with the technology. The technology giant believes blockchain can disrupt governance and business, supply chain, healthcare, and many more industries. IBM is working in over 400 distributed ledger projects.

While the company firmly advocates for blockchain, the technology is still maturing and many are still figuring out how to approach it in the way it gets mainstream adoption. This volatile and unregulated asset class has raised many doubts with security flaws, scams, and hacks, still prospering to this day. Blockchain as a technology is getting very positive feedback from experts and capital markets, despite some concerns regarding the energy consumption. Cryptocurrency as … currency, is not as consensual.

IBM may be exploring a middle ground, where cryptocurrencies can really change the financial paradigm as we know it. Jesse Lund, the new Head of Blockchain Development at IBM, has said in an interview that the company is seeing “tons of demand for digital asset issuance across the board” and this has caused the “emergence of a new segment that could actually be one of the biggest segments, that is a ‘permissioned’ but public blockchain network typology.”

The demand comes from executives from commodities trading platforms, central banks, and large corporations. This wide variety of institutions is mainly looking for securities tokens, utility tokens, and commodities tokens that represent physical assets.

“We’re going to see a lot more convergence between those two ends of the spectrum. The bitcoin and cryptocurrency space that has been hands-off for enterprises and the private, country club blockchain space that is on the other side”, Lund added.

‘Permissioned but public’ is a concept that attempts to bring together the public vs permissioned (private) discord. The company has already worked on a trial project that used digital currency to make transactions in near real-time throughout the South Pacific across a 12-country banking network. The digital currency was called Lumen, which traded on a non-profit Stellar blockchain. It was the start of a “permissioned but public” network.

Lund believes this could become a significant pathway to the widespread adoption of crypto-currencies in the future.

 

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Ripio Partners with Circle to Accelerate USDC Stablecoin Adoption Across Latin America 4418

Ripio, a leading crypto company in Latin America, and Circle, a global financial technology firm, today announced that Ripio will leverage Circle’s platform services to support USD Coin (USDC) liquidity and fund flows across its exchange and wallet products. Ripio also unveiled “Ripio Earn,” a USDC yield account that provides a six percent annual interest rate return, available today to Ripio’s more than 500,000 users in Argentina and Brazil.

Global demand for stablecoins has surged over the past six months with USDC growing by nearly 500% year-to-date from just over $400 million in circulation at the beginning of the year to a market cap of more than $2.8 billion today. One of the key drivers has been dollarization. As many currencies continue to strain under macro conditions and show increased volatility, businesses and institutions are pursuing strategies to access US dollars. USDC has emerged as one of the most efficient and effective vehicles in the flight to safety.

One of the regions experiencing the most significant growth in stablecoin demand is South America, where the urging for US Dollars as a store of value -amidst high inflation and devaluation rates, plus fierce capital controls in the case of Argentina- has ballooned over the last couple of years. At Ripio, stablecoin transactions during Q2 2020 increased over 800% compared to the previous quarter.

To service increasing demand for USDC across the region, Ripio is working with Circle in order to implement Circle’s transactional services, business accounts, and platform APIs to support the conversion of local currencies into and out of USDC, manage liquidity and custody funds, and automate associated treasury operations across Ripio’s exchange and wallet products.

Ripio’s newest wallet feature, Ripio Earn, works exclusively with USDC and is available today to customers throughout Argentina and Brazil. The minimum amount to access Ripio Earn is 50 USDC while the maximum placement amount will be 5,000 USDC. The initial interest rate for Ripio’s yield-generating product is 6% annually.

“From crypto traders and investors to freelance workers and small business owners, the rush to stable assets is growing rapidly, and Ripio continues to be at the forefront of this trend with product and services that make the acquisition and usage of ‘crypto dollars’ fast, efficient and low cost,” said Sebastian Serrano, Ripio co-founder & CEO. “The addition of Ripio Earn for our customers in Argentina and Brazil is an enormous leap forward for those who want to participate in the DeFi economy and generate additional income from our interest-bearing accounts. We are very happy to have a partner like Circle with a powerful and flexible stablecoin platform that keeps pace with our rapidly evolving product suite, and shares our vision for a more fair and inclusive financial system.”

“Ripio is a fintech pioneer that continues to be in the vanguard of not only the crypto industry, but also the broader consumer and B2B finance sectors in Latin America,” said Circle co-founder & CEO, Jeremy Allaire. “We are excited to see Ripio take advantage of our platform services to accelerate the adoption of digital dollars and introduce innovative new products like Ripio Earn. From investors to gig-economy workers, the broad availability of digital dollars championed by Ripio promises to increase access to new economic opportunities for many more people than previously possible.”

About Circle
Circle is a global financial technology firm that enables businesses of all sizes to harness the power of stablecoins and public blockchains for payments, commerce and financial applications worldwide. Circle’s platform has supported over 100 million transactions worth tens of billions of dollars, with nearly 10 million retail customers, over a thousand businesses, while storing and securing more than $5 billion in digital currency assets. Circle is also a principal developer of USD Coin (USDC), which together with Coinbase and the Centre Consortium oversees the standards and protocol for what has become the fastest growing, regulated, fully-reserved stablecoin. USDC now stands at a $2.8 billion market cap and is adding nearly $300 million net new digital dollars in circulation every week. Today, Circle’s transactional services, business accounts, and platform APIs are giving rise to a new generation of financial services and commerce applications that hold the promise of raising global economic prosperity for all through programmable internet commerce. Learn more at https://circle.com

About Ripio
Founded in 2013, Ripio offers Blockchain-based products to different segments of the Latin American population, including a digital wallet, crypto brokerage and corporate services for institutional investors. The company is also one of the first crypto companies in the region with a solid compliance department, KYC / AML and transaction monitoring procedures. Ripio aims to democratize access to the new digital economy in emerging markets. Learn more at https://www.ripio.com

Bitcoin Association to partner with Saxion University on Bitcoin SV massive open online courses 5486

Bitcoin Association, the global industry organisation that works to advance business with the Bitcoin SV blockchain, today announces that it has entered into a partnership with Saxion University of Applied Sciences to produce a Bitcoin SV-focused massive open online course (MOOC) This will be the first of an anticipated series of four MOOCs designed to educate about the immense power of Bitcoin’s protocol and how to build applications on the Bitcoin SV blockchain.

The MOOCs, including all assessments, will be offered free of charge, with the first course expected set to be launched in early-2021. The MOOCs will follow a progressive curriculum, beginning first with a Bitcoin Basic Course for decision makers, before moving into further, more technically advanced Bitcoin development courses. While offered by Saxion University, the courses will be available to anyone, from anywhere in the world, on demand at any time. At the end of each online course, participants will be able to take an assessment test to demonstrate their proficiency.

Saxion University has been a leader in the development of blockchain education and research programmes in the Netherlands. In 2019, Saxion established the country’s first blockchain professorship, appointing Dr. Jan Veuger as Professor of Blockchain at Saxion University of Applied Sciences and the leading professor of the newly founded Saxion Blockchain Institute.

The partnership with Saxion University is the latest in a series of Bitcoin SV education initiatives to be announced by Bitcoin Association. Last year, the Association announced its sponsorship of the Cambridge University Metanet Society, which is focused on educating students about Bitcoin SV’s ability to power a new Internet. This year, the Association announced partnerships with two online software development communities – CSDN, the largest IT and software development community in China, with 31 million users; and WeAreDevelopers, a major European development community. In 2020, Bitcoin Association has hosted a pair of Bitcoin SV DevCons – two-day virtual developer conferences, each attracting thousands of participants– to complement a growing online repository of developer resources and programming, including a new Bitcoin SV Wiki to correct misconceptions about Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Association also offers developers the opportunity to put their skills into practice with Bitcoin SV Hackathons, multi-day coding competitions for major cash prizes. The final of the 3rd Hackathon is set to be contested at CoinGeek Live September 30 – October 2 with USD $100K in BSV at stake.

SpaceChain Partners Elecnor DEIMOS to Develop Blockchain-enabled Credit Management and Payment Service for the European Space Agency-funded ECOMI Project 7185

SpaceChain UK Limited (SpaceChain) today announced a partnership with DEIMOS to collaborate under the project ECOMI – E-COMmerce platform for MIcro-geoservices. The aim of the project is to develop an e-commerce platform, store4EO, with blockchain-enabled credit management and payment services. Elecnor DEIMOS is a leader in providing systems engineering, ground segment, mission analysis, satellite integration, satellite navigation, Earth observation (EO), space situational awareness, and launchers. Through this partnership, SpaceChain will develop the underlying blockchain network that supports decentralised and transparent service purchase and distribution.

Funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), the ECOMI project is led by Elecnor DEIMOS to provide EO services to consumers in Europe and ESA partner countries. It also seeks to democratise access to EO services while ensuring secure and transparent credit management. The introduction of blockchain to the space-based e-commerce platform decentralises the distribution of services to consumers and facilitates transactions in a frictionless and transparent manner.

The store4EO e-commerce platform’s goal is to facilitate the delivery of innovative EO services to various industries, the public sector and the general public easily, and securely reinforcing that the utilisation of EO services will become the new norm.

“Our partnership with Elecnor DEIMOS is an important milestone as we collectively uncover new possibilities with e-commerce and enable the commercialisation of EO services,” said Nick Trudgen, Chief Commercial Officer and UK Director of SpaceChain. “Elecnor DEIMOS’ industry-leading engineering solution and knowledge of space, combined with SpaceChain’s expertise in decentralised infrastructure with blockchain provides an unmatched synergy for a reliable solution and unparalleled customer experience.”

EO services coupled with blockchain technology are expected to enrich the industry as more business use cases continue to increase. Redefining the way EO services are distributed is one of the driving forces behind the integration of blockchain in the project while enhancing data processing in the digital and physical supply chains of tomorrow.

“We are redefining how EO services are reaching out to consumers, and are thrilled to team with SpaceChain, given its innovation in integrating blockchain with space technologies,” said Koushik Panda, service strategy manager of ECOMI Project. “Through our shared vision to build a platform economy for EO, we are now one step closer to delivering sophisticated EO services and data to the wider public. Our ultimate goal is to create a more efficient market for EO, and in the long run, enable EO services to address industry issues that were once impossible to surmount.”

White Star Capital Announces the First Close of its $30M Digital Asset Fund 7396

White Star Capital, a global multi-stage technology venture capital investment platform, today announced the first close of its new $30M Digital Asset Fund. The new fund will invest in crypto-networks and blockchain-enabled businesses at each layer of the tech stack including protocols, infrastructure and applications. The Digital Asset Fund will deploy between $500,000 and $2.0 million in initial investments into 15-20 companies with a core focus in Europe and North America. The team will take a research-driven approach to maximize returns through early access in both equity and tokens. To date, the fund has made two investments: dfuse, a blockchain API company that helps developers build performant applications by organizing the world’s decentralized data; and Multis, a Y Combinator backed company, which offers “crypto-first” business banking accounts with an aspiration to bridge the gap between Decentralized and Legacy Finance.

The Digital Asset Fund marks White Star Capital’s first specialty fund and will be run by New York based General Partner Sep Alavi and supported by Principals Thomas Klocanas in New York and Sanjay Zimmerman in Toronto. The fund will also benefit from White Star Capital’s extended team in London and Paris, as well as a network of venture partners in Tokyo, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Switzerland.

As an early-stage investor since 2013, Sep has been investing in crypto assets and involved with blockchain companies for the past five years. Previous to joining White Star Capital, he spent 12 years working in capital markets in Paris, Chicago and New York City. Thomas, started his career as a research analyst in the fintech and financial sector at Barclays in London before spending two years at Consensys in New York and consulting for various blockchain projects such as Coinhouse and Blockstack. He joined White Star Capital eighteen months ago. Sanjay joined White Star Capital in Montreal in 2017 and was recently promoted to Principal after completing his MBA at INSEAD in Singapore, Philadelphia and Fontainebleau.

“Digital Assets are gaining adoption, and venture valuations and token round distributions have rationalized, which is an attractive entry point,” said Sep Alavi. “Incumbents are rapidly entering the space and embracing the next wave of innovation. At WSC Digital Asset, we are looking to partner with the next generation of startups building global networks and frictionless business models. We are actively interested in investing in crypto protocols, infrastructure and middleware, privacy, financial, gaming, and social use cases”

While regulation continues to evolve pragmatically and positively around the sector, enterprise and institutional giants like Fidelity, JP Morgan, Facebook, Walmart and Square are embracing blockchain technology at an accelerating pace and this is just the beginning. According to a report by Andreesen Horowitz, startup and developer activity in the space have been growing 53.9% and 74.4% CAGR since 2010.

“White Star Capital’s international footprint and network, as well as our team’s blockchain expertise position us well to make an impact in the digital asset sector,” said Eric Martineau-Fortin, Founder and Managing Partner of White Star Capital. “Our platform and network will give us access to exceptional deal flow from various companies across blockchain use cases.”

TADS Awards – The World’s First Annual International Awards for Tokenized Assets & Digitized Securities Launched in Hong Kong 8596

TADS Awards (which stands for “Tokenized Assets & Digitized Securities Awards”) is the world’s first annual international award for the asset tokenization and digital securities sectors. It celebrates these industries by recognizing and honoring significant contributions and distinguished achievements worldwide. Hosted annually, TADS Awards gathers together individuals and businesses to share the energy that tokenization brings to the financial markets around the world — https://tadsawards.org/.

The World Economic Forum forecasts that by 2027, 10% of the world’s GDP will be tokenized — with an estimated market capitalization of US$24 trillion. TADS Awards nurtures the growth of TADS industries by jointly establishing “best practices” and setting “measuring standards” for high-quality tokenized assets and digitized securities through close collaboration with other industry leaders on the global market.

“TADS Awards creates important recognition for best of breed ideas and solutions in emerging technologies like Blockchain and Digital Assets. Such a platform not only aids in creating awareness, but also fosters a healthy competitive spirit that is vital for progress and growth of the industry imperatives,” said Nitin Gaur, Director of IBM Financial Sciences and Digital Assets at IBM.

“Tokenization is a futuristic business model, providing a platform for key information exchange, empowering sustainable growth and operational efficiency through digitized and FinTech based incentives,” commented Peter Koo, APAC leader of IT & Specialized Assurance, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

Martin Sabine, Chairman of Somerley Capital said, “The TADS Awards recognizes pacesetters in a breakthrough area of activity which Somerley believes has the potential to disrupt and enhance the provision of financial services.”

“Asset tokenization is not the future, but the present. It is happening in front of our eyes. As our industry emerges as a whole, it is important to recognize outstanding projects and the pioneers behind them, who are paving the way for a more accessible, efficient and transparent financial future,” reflected Emi Lorincz, Board Member of the Crypto Valley Association.

“As the digital technology flagship of Hong Kong and home to the largest FinTech community with over 360 FinTech companies, we are committed to strengthening Hong Kong’s international finance center position under the digital economy era,” said Peter Yan, Chief Executive Office of Hong Kong Cyberport. He further added, “TADS Awards is a strong impetus in recognizing innovative and impactful solutions in the digital asset area. We look forward to seeing winning solutions under TADS Awards being brought to a new stage of development.”

“Asset tokenization is reinventing capital markets. Digitization of securities can facilitate cross border investment and allow investors to access valuable and unique investment opportunities worldwide. Enterprises are able to access global liquidity at a fractional cost, as  compared to the conventional financial market,” said Mr. Chan Heng Fai, Executive Chairman of American Pacific Bank.

CelerX Becomes First Mobile Esports Platform on Blockchain to Surpass $3 Million in Player Winnings in One Month 12033

Since the global release of BUST-A-MOVE Real Money Tournament in July 2020, Celer Network’s mobile eSports platform CelerX has seen new record-highs in the number of games played each week and users making an average of $20 per day – with top users making $1,000+ per day. So far, mid-August has proven to be the biggest gaming day of 2020 and complements CelerX’s $3 million worth of player winnings across the mobile esports platform and game portfolio in one month.

Following the game’s recent introduction and joint collaboration with TAITO, Next Gaming and CelerX, BUST-A-MOVE is a leading skill-based game on iOS. As the world’s first mobile eSports app that runs on blockchain and the first (and only) approved by Apple to download, CelerX supports transactions made with cryptocurrency – including 20% of BUST-A-MOVE’s player deposits. Cryptocurrency offers borderless and permission-less benefits allowing players across the globe to access the game, even if they are part of the unbanked population.

“It’s no surprise that the mobile gaming market is pegged to become a $100 billion industry by 2021. But despite the rapid growth over the past decade, monetization strategies for game developers and the user’s experience has been in a holding pattern,” said Dr. Mo Dong, Co-Founder of Celer Network. “CelerX is proud to help reshape the industry with the world’s first mobile eSports app that runs on blockchain and provides a revenue model that benefits game developers and operators on a per match approach vs. in-app purchase or ad supported monetization. As a result, the companies we work with are generating ten times the Average Revenue Per Daily Active User (ARPDAU). BUST-A-MOVE is an incredible example of this successful model that offers an innovative user experience and the game has seen record growth in a short timeframe.”

The rise of BUST-A-MOVE is met by the decline of casino visits and an increased interest in gaming due to COVID-19. The closure of entertainment centers and casinos as part of the shelter-in-place orders and the pandemic has led to challenges for the gambling sector. To that end, the global market for casinos is expected to decline by 10.8% in the year 2020 (ResearchAndMarkets.com). Meanwhile, mobile esports has benefited from lockdowns and CelerX has seen double digit growth on daily active users and revenue month over month.

Finally, after adding 800,000 first-time players in 2020 with more than 6 million games played to date spanning an international reach, the CelerX platform now boasts more than 120,000+ active global players per month.