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Blockchain Startup Power Ledger Brings Electricity Sharing to Silicon Valley

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Australian based peer to peer energy trading platform Power Ledger will collaborate with Silicon Valley Power to track the renewable energy use of electric vehicles.

First Carbon Credit Project

Perth startup Power Ledger has been pioneering blockchain based peer to peer renewable energy projects in countries around the world. Now the company has announced its first carbon credit project as it partners with Silicon Valley Power in Santa Clara, California and the Clean Energy Block Chain Network to create a digital record of Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) transactions. With its aim being to reduce both the processing time and cost of LCFS credits.

The project has two main goals, using Power Ledger’s cutting edge blockchain technology which tracks energy production, storage, and use in a transparent, auditable record. To be used in order to manage the consumption of low-carbon energy from Santa Clara solar and batteries at one of California’s largest public electric vehicle charging facilities. While also cutting the time and cost of processing LCFS credits by digitizing the management system that tracks low-carbon electricity as a fuel path.

The platform aims to cut out the need for additional software, hardware or engineers to connect the city-owned PV and SVP electric power grid by utilizing API data from pre-existing meters.

Power Ledger Managing Director and Co-Founder David Martin was quoted about the project,

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Vietnam Internet Crackdown Damages Plans to Become Blockchain Hub

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Vietnam legislators approved a cybersecurity bill on June 12 putting tighter rules on tech companies from the start of 2019. Vietnam has been recognised as a potential hub for blockchain activity but doubts still remain over regulatory uncertainty.

New Cybersecurity Bill Approved

The new bill requires tech companies to hold important personal data locally which means they will need to have a physical presence in the country. It also makes sweeping bans over using the internet in ways that may undermine the state or spread incorrect information.

Lieutenant-general Hoang Phuoc Thuan, director of the ministry’s Cybersecurity Department, had spoken to major tech companies including Facebook in the run-up to the bill being passed.

He told VnExpress:

“They said that this [law] was appropriate and that they will research to modify their companies’ strategies accordingly,” and added, “Providing customers’ data to security authorities is not a violation of privacy.”

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Asian Blockchain Investment Accelerates as Crypto Hedge Funds Falter

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The Financial Times has reported that profits for cryptocurrency hedge funds have taken a sharp decline, in direct correlation with the negative price action seen with the overall cryptocurrency market.

Cryptocurrency Hedge Funds Down 35% In 2018

Hedge Fund Research, a reputable hedge fund analysis firm, has found that cryptocurrency hedge fund performance is down 35 percent in the first half of 2018 alone according to the FT. Despite posting an average gain of 45 percent in April, these hedge funds still declined in value over the other four months included in the HFR report. HFR’s research specifically targeted hedge funds that allocated a majority of its assets towards investing in cryptocurrency and blockchain projects alike.

However, it has become clear that these hedge funds took some action to mitigate risk, with the whole cryptocurrency market dropping by over 70%, but hedge funds only losing 35% on average since the start of the year.

This may have been due to the fact that these hedge funds invest into other classes of assets, which are still linked to the cryptocurrency industry. Some of these investments might have included startups, ICOs, and long-established cryptocurrencies firms that still produce profits in a market downtrend.

Despite 2018’s losses, the hedge funds analyzed were still profitable while looking at longer timeframes, with these funds increasing in value by over 2700% in 2017 alone. This staggering gain has been directly tied to the collective market cap of all cryptocurrencies, which rose by over 3000% in the span of 12 months.

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World’s Smallest States Attracting Biggest Players in Blockchain

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Blockchain technology, which is the backbone to everything crypto and the key to decentralization, has the potential to be implemented in almost every existing industry to enhance security, information sharing, and transparency. Innovators in the tech sector predict its effects will be as far reaching as the development of the internet itself, yet the countries that would seem the obvious choices to embrace and develop the technology, US, UK, Japan, Korea are hindering its progress with regulatory red tape leaving some of the world’s smallest, autonomous regions open to welcome cutting-edge tech companies.

Blockchain Companies Flocking to the World’s Smallest States

City-states with small populations and limited industries see tech companies with major financial backing as a path to future economic growth. While the tech companies get the kind of access to legislators and regulators that would be impossible to reach in countries like the US or Japan.

For instance, the tiny, mountainous micro-state of San Marino has gone into business with Estonian backed Polybius to create a ground-up ecosystem for blockchain innovation. In exchange for the company’s financial investment, the government has given them complete support. Sergio Mottola, executive chairman of San Marino Innovation, was quoted in the BanklessTimes saying,

“The Government of the Republic is willing to take the lead on this transformation and is superbly placed to promote digital innovation through the constitution of a forward-looking legislation and jurisdiction to favor the growing blockchain infrastructure.”

Gibraltar, which already has links to two industries expected to be substantially affected by blockchain, financial services, and online gaming, is well suited for fintech companies to move in. The country is already home to multiple financial institutions familiar with anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) requirements that are becoming de rigor in the cryptocurrency space.

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Mastercard Considers Blockchain a Viable Asset Against Fraud

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Do you think blockchain technology can help fight credit card fraud? Let us know in the comments below.

Even though cryptocurrencies remain somewhat controversial, their underlying blockchain technology is very different.  In fact, it has become apparent there are quite a few issues Mastercard can solve with this new technology.

Ending Fraud with Blockchain

Blockchain has been heralded as a major revolution for the financial sector. Mastercard holds out high hopes for this technology moving forward. With close to thirty blockchain patents in its portfolio, the card issuer can explore many different options. In this world of growing financial fraud, something has to change. Utilizing blockchain technology for this specific purpose can yield surprising results.

For now, there is still some uncertainty as to how Mastercard will incorporate the blockchain, although different business models can be explored in the coming years. For major credit card issues, dealing with payment fraud will be one of the top priorities. Merging that with distributed ledgers will be challenging, although one patent hints at an interesting concept.

More specifically, Mastercard holds a patent to put credit cards on a public blockchain. As such, the ledger will be used to validate and verify payments. Whether this will happen by encoding the information directly or using intermediary mediums remains unclear. The use of a publicly-accessible chain will especially raise a lot of questions in this regard.

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Blockchain Offers Viable Alternative to Outdated Online Advertising

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Can blockchain technology disrupt today’s woefully outdated online ad tech? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Even a decade ago, television was the sole king of advertising, while the internet had to take its dust together with billboards and radio ads. Over the years, however, the situation has changed: last year, online advertising has outgrown television for the first time in history, with more than $200 billion spent on ad campaigns on the internet.

It is fairly obvious that the internet provides advertisers with an incomparably wider range of tools that TV could possibly offer. Television is incapable of allowing them to address to a specific audience, and the coverage of TV ads is gradually declining as more and more people prefer to use the internet for entertainment. Still, television has one significant advantage over the online environment when it comes to advertising: it has never seen as many problems as the internet related to ad campaigns.

The Plagued Industry

There are numerous issues plaguing online advertising that old-fashioned media could not even imagine. They include but are not limited to various frauds, lack of user consent to see ads, imprecise targeting, banner blindness, and privacy concerns. All in all, the model widely accepted in the existing online ad industry has let down both advertisers and audiences.

Added to that are thousands of intermediaries and utter intransparency of payments that tangle the matter even worse. For example, existing real-time bidding platforms that enable advertisers to compete for the chance to show you that ad you’ve already gone really sick of before that YouTube video you really want to watch, never disclose the bids or provide any other substantial information to prove that the highest bidder is actually the highest bidder. All they do is state the highest bid, and that’s it.

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Blockchain Real Estate Platform: ‘Security Token Would Kill Our Business’

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Industry experts and lawyers discussed whether companies should issue security tokens in a panel debate at real estate-focused event BitcoinCRE on June 14.

Part of London Tech Week, the event looked at regulations across the world and happened hours before Ether was declared ‘not a security‘ by the SEC.

In favour of issuing a security token, Lior Abehassera, co-founder of Leaseum Partners, a real estate agent token backed paying out dividends, said that it isn’t the easiest option, but that if done with good partners, ‘will help you from ending up in jail.’ He advised to be wary of market restrictions and to commit to performing know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) checks on investors.

Abehassera said: “The challenge is what happens on the secondary market where there can be money laundering. If you’re selling a security token, you don’t want that. How to deal with compliance on the secondary market? You embed into your token a whitelist. When anyone has your token they have to go through whitelisting.”

In contrast, the founder of CPROP, Sandy Selman, highlighted the risks of tokens being classified as securities and blamed the lack of global regulation on the lack of consensus between regulators.

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Ripple: Blockchain is About Growth Not Cost Savings

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A Ripple Executive has downplayed the cost-savings of blockchain technology over traditional banking arguing that growth is a stronger message for attracting business clients, including banks.

Blockchain: Next Evolution of the Internet

Danny Aranda, Managing Director of Strategic Growth at Ripple, discussed how the firm attracts banks to their payment solutions and how they work with regulators. In an interview at the CryptoCompare MJAC conference in London, he said the crypto community need to look past cost savings to the element of growth.

Aranda said:

“I don’t think the real value proposition will come around cost savings. I think it’s about growth, about revenue potential. A lot of times when we speak with banks it’s more about how you can offer a new kind of service to your customers and how you will be able to pursue new customers and break into new kinds of markets.”

Aranda also argued that the lack of a global bank and global payments system provides the problem for blockchain technology to solve. He said that “blockchain is the next evolution of the internet. There will be a new internet and money will be embedded in it.”

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Blockchain to provide real value to millions of migrants

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Often we hear about the blockchain technologies disrupting industries such as investment, finance, data security or healthcare. However, for many people living in developing countries and unfamiliar with bitcoin and latest IT trends, the concepts of “blockchain” or “digital currencies” seem to be not just ‘terra incognita’ but also an impractical innovation. How can blockchain be applied in their real life and solve vital problems?

Dollars wrapped with love

Migration is one of the main demographic trends of the last decades. According to the UN statistics, as of 2018, there are 258 million migrants in the world. The reasons for this demographic phenomenon can vary from political instability and natural disasters to the search for a better life and, of course, work.

Labor migration is typical for developing regions such as Africa and Asia. Residents leave their homeland to earn money and help financially their families left at home.

As stated in the UN report, in 2017 the total amount of money transfers exceeded

$596 billion, of which $450 billion was sent to developing countries. In such regions remittance payments quite often make up the bulk of the budget on which the families live. This money is used to meet basic needs, including food, clothes, education, transportation or medical services. In other words, for millions of people in Asia or Africa the adequate standard of living almost entirely depends on remittance transfers received from relatives working abroad. Moreover, even the economy of these states is based on them. For example, in the Philippines over 10% of its GDP comes from remittances.

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Jimmy Wales: Blockchain Can’t Be Banned

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The name Jimmy Wales (born August 7, 1966), may not sound familiar to those outside the world of IT, but when it is taken into consideration that his name appears in the Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of 2006, his credibility and prestige begin to prove evident.

“Jimbo” (his moniker) became world famous thanks to the success of Wikipedia, which has already become an international reference for the search for information.

He is currently working on a new project: WikiTribune, which seeks to revolutionize the world of journalism through a platform that promotes impartiality and fights fake and unsubstantiated news.

During the BlockShow Conference in Berlin, Jimy Wales was interviewed by Cointelegraph about his career prospects. The vision he showed about the world of cryptos and blockchain technologies is quite compelling.

Concerning cryptocurrencies, Catherine Ross, the interviewer, asked him if he was still holding to his previous statements in which he said he considered cryptocurrencies to be a bubble. Jimmi Wales joined the “Crypto is a Bubble” team, but with a reasonably objective vision:

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Blockchain Technology is Gaining Ground – But Not Where You’d Expect

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Do you agree or disagree with our findings? Are there other blockchain projects that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below.

When blockchain first started to capture global attention, everyone predicted it would take the world by storm, disrupting major industries starting with finance. Since then, we’ve come to realize that progress has been slower than we initially anticipated, not to say there hasn’t been any.

A lot of people have been wondering if there are any fully realized blockchain projects actively in use. There are, in fact, many, and the patterns both agree with and go against the early predictions. Keep in mind, these projects are active, and in use, but they are still being added to and improved upon.

Contrary to predictions, the industry in which blockchain has shown greatest promise and progress so far is not finance, but rather, logistics and supply chain. In fact, almost all actively used blockchain-based platforms are in some way connected to the logistics and supply chain industry. Why that particular industry? According to experts at BlockchainDriven:

The use case for logistics and supply chain is simple, so it stands to reason it would be built out faster. The benefits of blockchain technology for this particular use case are more immediate and apparent. Because of the simplicity of the use case, it is easier to measure the results from initial field testing and implementation.

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Blockchain Will Reduce Dominance of Tech Giants Over Consumers’ Daily Lives

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Blockchain technology can transform many business models known today. Distributed ledgers are making vast inroads among various sectors and industries. Especially in the technology industry, powerhouses such as Google, Facebook and Amazon may be on the brink of losing their dominant position.

Tech Companies Embrace Blockchain

For most technology firms, innovative technologies are always worth checking out. This also means these companies are experimenting with blockchain and distributed ledgers. Although most efforts are kept under wraps rather than made public, these undertakings shouldn’t be ignored. This space will primarily be dominated by banks, but other companies are making their mark.

Apple, for example, is relatively quiet on the blockchain front. That doesn’t mean the company isn’t actively exploring these opportunities. A recent patent filing shows Apple wants to use DLT to timestamp specific data. A rather vague development, albeit one with potentially major implications. Having an immutable record of timestamps and data can be of great value to any technology firm.

Additional companies are also looking into this industry as of right now. That list includes Microsoft, Alphabet, and Walmart, among others. It is evident there is a bright future ahead for distributed technologies. What all these companies are trying to achieve exactly, remains to be determined. A lot of different options remain on the table at this time.

Threatening the Dominance of Companies

While it is good to see these technology giants focus on blockchain, there are some caveats too. More specifically, these companies have such a dominant position thanks to their centralized position.  As such, it is a bit counterproductive to see such firms explore technology which can effectively render them irrelevant in the long run. Not all technology companies will suffer such a fate, but some companies may be replaced by blockchain solutions in the long run.

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South Africa’s Central Bank Test Ethereum-Based Blockchain Payments

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South Africa’s Central Bank – also known as SARB – is moving towards blockchain technology. The institution has revealed the latest results of a project known as Khokha, which aims to replicate interbank payments and settlements on a private Ethereum blockchain.

SARB Tests Blockchain Technology

Eight different South African banks decided to participate in the project that aims to improve the financial system of the country. We can mention different institutions, including: Absa, Capitec, Discovery Bank, FirstRand, Investec, Nedbank and Standard Bank. ConsenSys was the technical partner and PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. (PwC) offered support.

According to the head of financial technology at the Reserve Bank, Arif Ismail, the bank was working with these companies mentioned so as to implement a permissioned blockchain based on Etheruem.

The bank informed that the platform was deployed in a ‘realistic test environment’ where they were able to handle the daily volume of South Africa’s Real Time Gross Settlement System (SAMOS), which is linked to 70,000 transactions, in over 75 minutes.

An important point to mention is that the transactions were processed within 2 seconds and with full confidentiality and 100% settlement rate.

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Binance Invests in Malta-based Blockchain Esports Company

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What are your thoughts about Binance teaming up with chiliZ? Will the new government regulations in Malta attract more cryptocurrency and blockchain investment into the country? Keep the conversation going in the comment section below.

Binance, the cryptocurrency exchange behemoth has invested in Malta-based chiliZ, a blockchain esports company. ChiliZ revealed the news via a blog post on May 5. This move represents Binance’s first significant investment in Malta since announcing its intention to transfer its operations to the Mediterranean Island country.

Binance Teams up with chiliZ

According to the blog post, both Binance and chiliZ recognize the immense opportunities in the $110 billion video game industry. The cryptocurrency exchange wants to team up with the eSports company to bring blockchain technology to the gaming industry. With cryptocurrency and gaming appealing largely to the same user demographic, a melding of interests and strategies between the two companies could facilitate faster blockchain and cryptocurrency adoption within the gaming industry.

The monetary value of Binance’s investment in chiliZ is unknown, but the eSports company has already raised more than $27 million in a private funding round. Commenting on the investment deal, chiliZ CEO, Alexandre Dreyfus said:

Binance’s significant investment in chiliZ will boost our current private placement offering and help us to move faster. Their support will help us deliver our vision globally, increase our visibility in the blockchain ecosystem and empower our technical vision.

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Walmart Leading the Way for Blockchain Based Tracking Systems

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Blockchain has gained recognition as the backbone of cryptocurrency, but industry has been adopting the technology in order to improve efficiency and to increase transparency in the origins of commodities. The food and drink sector is a prime place for distributed ledger technology to have a real and positive impact on the way consumables are sourced, shipped and sold.

Blockchain Being used to Ensure Food Safety

As the food supply chain grows ever longer incidences of mistaken and premeditated contamination have become almost regular occurrences. The industry has long been ready for a fundamental change and many involved see blockchain as the best way to monitor products through the supply network both guaranteeing it’s origin and ensuring it has not been altered en route.

What may be a surprise to many is that Walmart has become an early adapter and advocate for using blockchain to track food products in real time through the supply chain. Having teamed up with IBM and Tsingua University’s National Engineering Laboratory for E-Commerce Technologies to create a blockchain food safety alliance, Walmart aims to establish a standard for collecting information on the origin, safety and authenticity of the food they import.

Frank Yiannas, vice-president for food safety and health at Walmart has also found that using blockchain has greatly reduced tracking times. The VP said it now takes only seconds to find information that before may have taken days of searching through paperwork. Having that information at hand goes a long way to increasing food safety which was a key reason for Walmart getting involved, Yiannas said.

Beyond ensuring safety, establishing a clear provenance of food is another issue the food industry is using blockchain to solve. Though it may be nice for some to know that the Kobe grass-fed beef they are buying is actually from Japan, not Kansas, the more pressing issue is to establish that cocoa beans haven’t been picked by child slaves in Africa.

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Ripple Announces $50 Million Blockchain Research Initiative

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Ripple to partner with universities in order to encourage the development of an ever more robust and valuable ecosystem according to Insights, the companies blog.

Ripple to Contribute $50 Million to Universities

The company states that as one of the most mature entities in the space Ripple is uniquely situated to act as a partner with academic institutions to lead blockchain development projects. That is why it has started the University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) to support research and technical developments in the fields of blockchain, cryptocurrency and payment systems.

According to the company, 17 prestigious schools around the world have been chosen for their first wave of funding. The company is committing $50 million as well as their technical resources and collective expertise in the space but the schools will determine their own areas of research while working with Ripple to:

Collaborate on research and technical development that will stimulate widespread understanding and innovation in blockchain. Create new curriculum to meet high student demand for learning about blockchain, cryptocurrency and other FinTech topics. Stimulate ideas and dialog among students, faculty, technologists and business leaders on topics of shared interest.

Ripple has listed the seventeen institutions chosen on their blog and has gone on to flesh out some of the details of the individual partnerships. For instance, Princeton University is creating a UBRI program to study the impact of cryptocurrency and blockchain in the US and internationally through their center for Information Technology Policy (CITP).

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab will partner with UBRI along with almost a dozen companies in the financial services industry to perform research on the blockchain, cryptocurrencies, cybersecurity and global payments.

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How Edgar Allan Poe Inspired a Composer to Build a Blockchain Platform for Creatives

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Qravity’s decentralized content production and distribution platform is on the verge of helping creators own and profit from their work. In doing so, it aims to stimulate the continuous creation and consumption of premium digital content – forevermore.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.

Lifestyles of the Poor & Famous

 On January 29, 1845, Edgar Allan Poe became an overnight sensation with the New York Evening Mirror’s publication of a poem that still thrills and haunts readers, listeners, and viewers to this day.

Despite the overwhelming popularity of The Raven, it netted Poe a total of $24; over half of that amount was charity that he received for what may have been a draft. Adjusted for inflation, his literary masterpiece netted him a total of $754.91 in 2018.

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Cyber Cult: Ex-Augur Founder Launches New Blockchain Religion on Ethereum

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Matt Liston, formerly of Augur, has been embroiled in a $150 million lawsuit with Augur claiming that he was forced out of the company – but that’s not why he’s in the news today.

Liston is starting his own religion, and he’s putting on the blockchain.

The religion is called 0xΩ and is based on the consensus methods used in blockchain technology. Donations will be received and spent via smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain and decision making will also be decentralized and blockchain-based using Token Curated Registries which allow people to agree on rules and information without oversight.

A religious ceremony was held in New Museum, New York last week as part of a larger exhibition hosted by the Rhizome arts group in which Liston distributed copies of a “flame paper” that he intends to use as the basis for the sacred religious texts of the blockchain cult. However, the crypto-congregation will ultimately be the ones who decide what does and does not constitute religious scripture within 0xΩ.

“It’s a religious framework that could allow for belief sets to update much more quickly and also to democratize the relationship between membership and convergence on what everyone believes in this religion,” said Liston

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Blockchain Startup Raises $65 Million to Facilitate Cryptocurrency Trading

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The cryptocurrency industry has had a rough start in 2018. After hitting all-time highs in early January, all markets have lost a lot of value. Despite this negative market pressure, startups are still of great interest. Paxos, a blockchain and cryptocurrency startup, recently raised $65m from various VC investors. The interest in cryptocurrency firms is not slowing down, by the look of things.

The Success of Paxos

In the world of cryptocurrency, Paxos has become a relatively big name. The company specializes in bringing Bitcoin and other currencies to the mainstream. This is mainly made possible thanks to the firm obtaining a trust company charter in New York state. That particular region of the US is not too cryptocurrency-friendly, mainly because of its BitLicense implementation.

Considering how the company initially started out as a Bitcoin exchange, a lot of things have changed. Providing services using blockchain is their main objective under the current business model. Even so, the company is looking to enter the cryptocurrency industry once again. To do so, Paxos team members have dedicated a lot of time and resources into exploring new trading options.

It seems this latest venture has attracted the attention of VC firms. Paxos recently closed a $65m funding with the help of RRE Ventures and Liberty City Ventures, among others. With this new funding, the company will expand its operation and further develop its cryptocurrency exchange operations. More competition in the cryptocurrency trading ecosystem can only be a good thing.

VCs Remain Charmed by Cryptocurrency

Even though 2018 hasn’t been the year of Bitcoin, the overall expectations remain positive. Consumers and enthusiasts are confident things will turn around for this industry later this year. This new funding round by Paxos seemingly confirms interesting things could be on the horizon.

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China: Calls For Lift On Cryptocurrency Ban After Xi Blockchain Speech

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Expectations are growing that China will ease its cryptocurrency ban this week after president Xi Jinping called Blockchain part of the “new industrial revolution.”

Xi’s Blockchain ‘Breakthroughs’

Commentaries in both the local press and on cryptocurrency social media claim the time is right for Beijing to readdress the ban, which began in September 2017.

Xi mentioned Blockchain during a speech at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ nineteenth annual conference in Beijing May 28.

Along with other new technologies, he said that “breakthroughs” were constantly coming, echoing China’s ongoing commitment to implementing projects of its own. The country is set to develop national Blockchain standards by the end of 2019.

“Ever since the start of the 21st century, a new generation of industrial revolution is substantially reshaping the global economic structure with artificial intelligence, internet of things and Blockchain constantly making application breakthroughs,” one translation of the speech uploaded to Reddit reads.

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