Local Media: Afghanistani Tunisian Central Banks Consider Issuing Bitcoin Bonds

Local Media: Afghanistani, Tunisian Central Banks Consider Issuing Bitcoin Bonds

                                 

Afghanistan and Tunisia’s central banks are looking to issue a bitcoin (BTC) bond,

Hong Kong-based news outlet Asia Times reports on April 17. Per the report, the governors of the two country’s central banks spoke at the annual Spring Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Washington between April 8 and 14. Afghanistan’s central bank governor Khalil Sediq allegedly told Asia Times that the institution is considering issuing a sovereign crypto bond to raise $5.8 billion. The funds would be used for private-sector investment in mining, energy and agriculture. Alongside bitcoin, Sediq reportedly mentioned metal futures (for instance lithium) and pointed out that the country’s mineral reserves are estimated to be worth over $3 trillion.

On the other hand, Marouane El Abassi, governor of Tunisia’s central bank and former World Bank official, purportedly declared that the institution is looking into the issuance of a bitcoin bond. According to the report, Abassi also claimed that the country was one of the first to issue a digital currency and already implemented payments through a digital system.

Furthermore, Abassi also reportedly lauded bitcoin, blockchain and Hyperledger as a tool for central banks to combat money laundering, manage remittances fight terrorism and limit grey economies. Lastly, the article also notes that Uzbek ambassador Javlon Vakhabov mentioned that Uzbekistan does not rule out the development of a bitcoin bond either.

As Cointelegraph reported in September last year, Austria’s government also launched €1.15 billion ($1.35 billion) of government bonds on the Ethereum (ETH) public blockchain. More recently, in March, Germany’s justice and finance ministries have proposed to launch a state-run register to boost the use of blockchain for electronic bonds.

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Adrian Zmudzinski

Adrian is a newswriter based out of Pisa, Italy. He's passionate about cryptocurrency, digital rights, IT, tech and futurology and likes to think about the future in a positive way.

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Binance Chain Launches Firm Expects to Execute Mainnet Swap on April 23

Binance Chain Launches, Firm Expects to Execute Mainnet Swap on April 23

                                 

Binance has launched its mainnet Binance Chain

and expects to execute the swap of its native token Binance Coin (BNB) on April 23, according to an announcement on April 18. The major crypto exchange first revealed its plans to launch its own blockchain in December 2018, intending to build a basis for issuing new cryptocurrencies and initial coin offering tokens.

According to the announcement, Binance is producing blocks with consensus from the genesis block as of today, with its native coin BNB planned to be issued in the genesis block. Binance Chain Explorer and Web Wallet will be available to selected partners in beta testing mode and are expected to be opened to public access “around April 23, 2019,” the announcement notes. Along with the launch of Binance Chain, the exchange provided details for the conversion of ERC-20 BNB tokens into native Binance Chain-based BNB (BEP2) coins. As such, Binance emphasized it will not support the withdrawal of ERC-20 BNB tokens after April 23.

Specifically, Binance will be releasing more BEP2 coins as more users convert their ERC-20 BNB to its native BEP2 BNB, while the proportional amounts of ERC20 BNB will be burned while “keeping the total supply across both networks constant.” The exchange will not list any initial trading pairs until the conversion of the first batch of BNB has occurred, the statement reads.

Binance is currently the third largest crypto exchange by adjusted daily trading volume. As recently reported, Binance’s Q1 2019 profits surged 66% compared to the previous quarter. According to another report, Binance saw $78 million in Q1 profits due to a massive growth in its over-the-counter trading platform. Recently, Binance’s charity arm launched a crypto donation channel to support the reconstruction of the Notre Dame cathedral.

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Helen Partz

Helen is passionate about learning languages, cultures and the Internet. She has years of experience working at international online advertising projects. Growing interested in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in late 2017, she joined Cointelegraph as a writer.

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US Gov’t Blockchain Spending Expected to Increase 1000 Between 2017-2022: Study

US Gov’t Blockchain Spending Expected to Increase 1,000% Between 2017-2022: Study

                                

The United States federal government is expected to raise its blockchain spending

to $123.5 million by 2022 — an over 1,000% increase as compared with the $10.7 million it spent in 2017. The forecast was made in a report from IDC Government Insights, published on April 18. IDC states that blockchain spending among state and local governments is also anticipated to grow, from $4.4 million in 2017 to $48.2 million in 2022 — similarly an almost 1,000% rise.

Federal civilian agencies — who reportedly spent less than $20 million on the technology in 2017 — are likely to spend over $80 million by 2022, the report continues. The Defense Department — which likewise spent less than $20 million in 2017 — could almost double this figure and hit $40 million by 2022, the IDC claims. Government investment in blockchain technology is likely to evolve and expand to include more complex areas over time, the IDC’s research director

Shawn McCarthy outlined:

"We believe asset management, identity management, and smart contracts will be the leading blockchain solutions for government. Early spending will focus on supply chain and asset management solutions, while spending in later years will expand to include more identity management and complex financial transactions."

IDC also notes that blockchain is likely to become a cornerstone technology for trade legislation, and is likely “to be implemented as a standard feature for some types of authorized international trade and also as a standard for many types of government procurement.” In terms of specific implementations of the technology, the report argues that a hybrid blockchain approach — combining aspects of private and public networks — is likely to prove the most popular among government agencies.

As reported last month, the current Republican Minority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives has recently argued that blockchain should be implemented to improve the transparency of the legislative process and bring more security and accountability to government. A separate IDC report from 2018 forecasted that worldwide blockchain spending would grow to $9.7 billion in 2021.

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Romanian Central Bank Official Says Crypto Will Not Fulfil Basic Roles of Currency

Romanian Central Bank Official Says Crypto Will Not Fulfil Basic Roles of Currency

                                

An official from the Romanian central bank has stated that cryptocurrency

will not replace currency issued by central banks as it is not necessarily a currency. The news was published by local media outlet Business Review on April 16. Daniel Daianu, a member of the Romanian National Bank (BNR)’s Administration Council, reportedly stressed the necessity to be aware of the difference between institutions and their roles, ensuring that those roles will not disappear. Daianu also addressed the importance of making the distinction between blockchain technology and digital currencies.

Daianu said:

“In my opinion, these are financial assets, not cryptocurrencies, and they won’t be able to fulfil the basic roles of currency. […] Cryptocurrencies will never be able to substitute the currency issued by a central bank. What can happen is for central banks to have a digital currency, but that will also be issued by the bank, and commercial banks will receive digital currency that can multiply. I do agree, however, that new technologies lead to disintermediation and this feature of decentralization shows us the merits of networks.”

Romania — which became the first Eastern European chapter affiliate of American nonprofit corporation Bitcoin Foundation back in 2014 — released a draft Emergency Ordinance that regulates the issuance of electronic money (e-money) last July. The draft reportedly described electronic money as “monetary value stored electronically, including magnetic, representing a claim on the issuer issued on receipt of funds for the purpose of performing payment transactions and which is accepted by a person other than the issuer of electronic money.” A recent report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) revealed that at least 40 central banks globally are conducting research projects and pilots with blockchain technology that aim to address such issues as financial inclusion, payments efficiency and cybersecurity. The WEF provided ten use cases for distributed ledger technology ?t central banks including the development of retail central bank currency, among others.

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Ana Alexandre

Total change in her career took Anastasia into the world of analytics and business information as a researcher and translator in 2010. Some time later she got into FinTech, a dynamically developing segment at the intersection of the financial services and technology. Ana joined Cointelegraph in September 2017.

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Major Auditing Firm Ernst amp Young Releases Updates to Two Blockchain-Related Products

Major Auditing Firm Ernst & Young Releases Updates to Two Blockchain-Related Products

                               

Big Four auditing firm Ernst & Young (EY)

has released two new blockchain developments, a new version of its Blockchain Analyzer and a zero knowledge proof protocol. The company revealed the products in two separate press releases on April 16. EY has launched the second generation of its analytics tool EY Blockchain Analyzer. While the first generation of the product was available to only EY audit teams facilitating gathering companies’ entire transaction data from multiple blockchain ledgers, the upgrade made the analyzer accessible for EY teams and non-audit customers as a business application. Paul Brody, EY Global Innovation Leader for blockchain, said that the company intends to build a platform solution that can be deployed for various purposes, including audit, tax and transaction monitoring. The new version of the analyzer will support tax calculation for crypto assets from the Andy Crypto-Asset Accounting and Tax (AndyCAAT) tool that automatically calculates capital gains and losses on transactions in compliance with United States tax law.

As for EY’s zero knowledge proof protocol, the company aims to facilitate the adoption of secure, private transactions over public blockchains. Paul Brody, EY Global Innovation Leader, Blockchain, said that “making public blockchains secure and scalable is a priority for EY. The fastest way to spread this privacy-enhancing technology was to make it public.” “The main component allows for secure, private transfers and payments on the public Ethereum network. This supports fungible token payments compatible with the ERC-20 standard and unique asset transfers compatible with the ERC-721 standard.  The ERC standards are publicly accepted open standards for tokens on the Ethereum blockchain,” the release explains.

EY also notes that since the launch of the initial prototype in 2018, the company has managed to  significantly reduce transaction processing costs by more than 90%. Currently, the software code is reportedly undergoing final reviews and is scheduled to be launched into the public domain in the next four to six weeks. In March, EY launched a tool called EY Crypto-Asset Accounting and Tax (CAAT) designed for accounting and preparing taxes on cryptocurrency holdings. The product can reportedly get information about cryptocurrency transactions from “virtually all” major exchanges, consolidate data from various sources, and automatically produce reports, including cryptocurrency-related U.S. Internal Revenue Service tax returns.

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Ana Alexandre

Total change in her career took Anastasia into the world of analytics and business information as a researcher and translator in 2010. Some time later she got into FinTech, a dynamically developing segment at the intersection of the financial services and technology. Ana joined Cointelegraph in September 2017.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/major-auditing-firm-ernst-young-releases-updates-to-two-blockchain-related-products

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CoinMarketCap Releases New Mobile App Version With User Accounts Price Alerts

CoinMarketCap Releases New Mobile App Version With User Accounts, Price Alerts

                                 

Crypto data tracker CoinMarketCap

has released a new version of its app for iOS and its first Android app today, April 16, with added features for price tracking and user accounts. According to the website, the mobile app will include candlestick charts, daily historical open-high-low-close chart data and the option for setting price alerts on all cryptocurrencies available on CoinMarketCap. In order to use the app, users will have to make a CoinMarketCap account and log in. The app will also allow users to follow news from various media outlets, as well as compare cryptocurrency prices with other cryptos. Last August, CoinMarketCap had launched a professional, paid API targeting developers and funds, which tracks crypto-based derivatives markets, with support for futures, options and over-the-counter exchanges for a monthly fee.

In March, the crypto data tracker announced that they would be releasing two crypto benchmark indices on the Nasdaq Global Index Data Service, Bloomberg Terminal, Thomson Reuters Eikon and Börse Stuttgart. Also this year, CoinMarketCap noted that it would be altering its listing metrics for cryptocurrency exchanges following research that claimed most of the exchange data was faked. The first iOS app from CoinMarketCap was launched last May in honor of the site’s fifth birthday. At the time, the site was ranked 175th in the world for most trafficked sites: the current ranking as of April 26 is 482th.

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Coincheck Owner Mulls Addition of Crypto to Its Retail Offerings

Coincheck Owner Mulls Addition of Crypto to Its Retail Offerings

                                 

Online brokerage Monex Group Inc.,

owner of the hacked Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck, is considering adding crypto to its retail client offerings in a bid to become more competitive in the local brokerage market. The news was reported by Bloomberg on April 15. As previously reported, Monex acquired Coincheck in April 2018 in the wake of the exchange’s industry record breaking $532 million hack in January of that year.

According to Bloomberg, Monex now sees its Coincheck involvement as potentially instrumental in restoring its erstwhile market dominance. Founded in 1999, Monex was reportedly once the country’s most popular online brokerage, but has since reportedly been eclipsed by rivals such as Rakuten, SBI Holdings and Mastui. Monex’s brokerage unit is thus mulling the addition of digital currencies to its offerings for retail clients in collaboration with Coincheck. Monex Securities Inc.’s new president, Yuko Seimei, conceded that a new strategy is critical to

reviving the firm:

“We’ve fallen a little behind — we can’t deny that. If we keep doing things the way we have, we may not be able to close the gap.”

Amid increasing competition in the brokerage market, Japanese investors’ enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies could help the organization reclaim clients, Bloomberg notes. The Japanese yen currently accounts for ~46.5% of national fiat currencies traded for bitcoin (BTC), according to crypto statistics site Coinhills. As reported, under the stewardship of Monex, Coincheck took a series of measures to improve its protection and trading systems, as well as reimbursing those customers affected by the hack. In mid-November 2018, Coincheck resumed crypto trading and was granted an operating license from Japan’s Financial Services Agency in December 2018. Monex Group’s financial report on Q3 for the 2019 fiscal year revealed that Coincheck had halved its losses in Q3, as compared with the preceding quarter.

This March, Monex announced major changes to its management composition, appointing three Coincheck executive directors to Monex roles to enhance cooperation between the two firms. This week, Money Forward Inc., the operator of one of Japan's most popular personal budgeting apps, announced a decision to halt its plans to launch a crypto asset exchange, citing profitability concerns amid the bear market. Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has meanwhile just opened registration for users of its crypto exchange Rakuten Wallet, which is set to go live in June.

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Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/coincheck-owner-mulls-addition-of-crypto-to-its-retail-offerings

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Nestl Carrefour Work With IBM to Track Mashed Potato Brand With Blockchain

Nestlé, Carrefour Work With IBM to Track Mashed Potato Brand With Blockchain

                                 

Switzerland-based food giant Nestlé, French supermarket chain

Carrefour and IBM have partnered to use the latter’s blockchain technology to track a famous French convenience food, the companies announced in a press release on April 15. Nestlé and Carrefour, both of which are members of IBM’s Food Trust blockchain platform, will use the technology from today to track the supply chain of Mousline, a well-known brand of instant mashed potatoes. Once it rolls out, shoppers will be able to scan a QR code with their smartphones to know exactly where the potatoes in a specific packet came from, as well as their journey to the specific Carrefour store.

“Using the QR code on the product’s packaging, each consumer will be able to use a secure platform on their smartphone to access information on the production supply chain, including the varieties of potato used, the dates and places of manufacture, information on quality control, and places and dates of storage before the product reaches the shelves,” the press release confirms.

The announcement comes just days after United States supermarket chain Albertsons said it was using Food Trust to track one of its products — iceberg lettuce — with the potential for more to follow. Worldwide, around five million different food items already employ blockchain in their supply chain in some form as the industry niche grows. “This partnership is based on the shared values of each company to bring consumers greater transparency in the food sector,” Carrefour continued in the press release.

The firm added:

“By simply scanning a product using a smartphone, consumers will receive reliable and unfalsifiable information on the supply chain and production.”

As Cointelegraph reported, Carrefour has itself stepped up blockchain integration in recent months by applying the technology for tracking milk.

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William Suberg

William Suberg got into Bitcoin while completing his Masters degree and hasn't looked back since, writing about anything crypto-related which makes him sit up and pay attention. He started working with Cointelegraph in October 2013.

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94 of Surveyed Endowment Funds are Allocating to Crypto Investments: Study

94% of Surveyed Endowment Funds are Allocating to Crypto Investments: Study

                                  

94% of endowments have been allocating to crypto-related investments

throughout 2018, a new survey published on April 12 reveals. The study was conducted in Q4 2018 by trade publications Global Custodian and The Trade Crypto, in partnership with blockchain security firm BitGo. Out of 150 surveyed endowments, 89% of the respondents were reportedly based in the United States, with the rest either in the United Kingdom or Canada.

The survey indicated that despite widely-reported concerns around regulation, custody and liquidity, endowments will continue to allocate investments to the new asset class — with only 7% of respondents saying they anticipated any decrease in their allocations over the next year. Jonathan Watkins, managing editor at Global Custodian and The Trade, remarked on the results of the survey,

stating that:

“All the talk over the past 18 months has been around when institutional investors will begin participating in cryptocurrency investments, but it turns out they had already arrived, in the form of endowment funds.”

The survey reportedly revealed that 54% of respondents were directly investing in crypto assets, with 46% investing via various kinds of funds. Over the next 12 months, 50% revealed they expect to increase their crypto investments, with 45% anticipating their allocations will remain at their current levels.

According to the survey, the top three characteristics that endowments are seeking when they select crypto funds are that they comply with robust regulation, have sufficient capital flow and liquidity and offer account security. The Trade suggests cautious optimism is an apt overall summary of endowment sentiment in regard to the nascent asset class, citing one respondent’s belief that crypto “is the future of investing,” and others’ characterizations of the process as “a very wild ride” and “hair-raising.” As reported, this February, the University of Michigan’s $12 billion endowment unveiled plans to bolster its investment in a crypto fund managed by U.S. venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Details of reported crypto fund investments from Ivy League titans Yale and Harvard surfaced in fall 2018 — the latter of whose ~$39.2 billion endowment for the 2018 fiscal year was the largest of any university endowment globally. Crypto investment claims have also been made for Stanford University, Dartmouth College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of North Carolina. As reported this month, Harvard’s endowment is set to become a direct investor in a planned $50 million token sale from decentralized computing network Blockstack. If approved, the sale would be the industry’s first Securities and Exchanges Commission-qualified offering.

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Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/94-of-surveyed-endowment-funds-are-allocating-to-crypto-investments-study

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Cryptocurrency Price Trends Could Signal End of Bear Market Says Binance Research

Cryptocurrency Price Trends Could Signal End of Bear Market, Says Binance Research

                               

Bitcoin (BTC) prices and altcoin prices could have already hit their lowest point,

new analysis from cryptocurrency exchange Binance concluded on April 11. In the latest edition of its research bulletins, the exchange’s dedicated analytics arm, Binance Research, investigated various current phenomena and trends within cryptocurrency markets. Among them was correlation between Bitcoin and altcoin prices, data from 2014-2019 confirming that the 90 days to mid-March represented the longest period of high correlation in market history. According to historical behavior, such periods tend to trigger trend reversals. The 90 days to mid-March incorporated Bitcoin’s drop from $6,500 to around $3,100, leading Binance to suggest that markets could now rebound following the end of the record correlation period.

“Having emerged from a period of the highest internal correlations in crypto history, the data may support the notion that the cryptomarket has already bottomed out,” the exchange summarized. As Cointelegraph reported, Binance had previously eyed the changing relationship between Bitcoin and altcoin prices, concluding altcoins were becoming less correlated with Bitcoin but more so against USD. The latest bulletin also held insights about cryptocurrency’s investor makeup: institutional investors control around 7% of the supply, Binance says, roughly equal to one-thirteenth of the institutional control of the United States stock market.

Last week, another well-known voice meanwhile endorsed the narrative that crypto markets had bottomed. Thomas Lee, senior market analyst and co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors, pointed to three-year high readings on his so-called “Bitcoin Misery Inde (BMI) as potential proof that no further downside would occur. “The main takeaway is […] further evidence the bear market for Bitcoin likely ended at $3,000,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

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William Suberg

William Suberg got into Bitcoin while completing his Masters degree and hasn't looked back since, writing about anything crypto-related which makes him sit up and pay attention. He started working with Cointelegraph in October 2013.

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