Breaking: SEC Will Review Decision of Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF Rejection
The securities and exchange commission has granted a request by the Bats BZX Exchange, Inc. to review its decision of disapproving the bitcoin ETF back in March this year. According to a document signed by Eduardo A. Aleman, Assistant Secretary at the SEC:
“The petition of BZX for review of the Division’s action to disapprove the proposed rule change by delegated authority be GRANTED; and It is further ORDERED that any party or other people may file a statement in support of or in opposition to the action made pursuant to delegated authority on or before May 15, 2017.”
Aleman is the person who, through delegated authority, made the decision on March the 10th which some in the bitcoin community saw as an intentional slap. In a fairly angry article back then, I wrote
“How can one man have so much power? We were told there will be a vote, but apparently, the SEC commissioners didn’t think this decision was important, delegating it to Aleman. Then, what’s the point of the commissioners?… Delegating this decision to a faceless bureaucrat is an insult. For them to hide behind an Assistant Secretary, not even a Secretary, is an intentional slap.
The decision document mentions a specific date, data analyzed by the 28th of February. That’s almost two weeks ago. Could he have not released the decision then? Did he have to allow so much speculation? Was it an intentional insult to the entire bitcoin community for this clearly already long ago made decision to be released at the very last hour? Who knew of the decision before it was released? Did any of them trade the market?”
Aleman’s reasons for rejecting the ETF was because he wanted a surveillance sharing agreement between exchanges and because he said much of the trading was carried out in unregulated Chinese bitcoin exchanges.
The latter part was out of date even at the time of the decision. PBoC has moved in, laying out some red lines for Chinese exchanges. Aleman further said Gemini lacks liquidity, but that’s mainly because traders naturally go to exchanges with futures and margins, two necessary facilities that CFTC continues to deny to regulated American exchanges such as Gemini and Coinbase.
It is surprising, however, that the decision is now to be reviewed. Even more so because the person who rejected the ETF, Aleman, has approved the review of his own decision. It is still too early to say how this review will be carried out, but one thing I hope we can say for sure is that Aleman will have no further part in any of it.
That’s for obvious reasons which do not even need to be stated. One can’t review their own decision in an institutional context. It’s like carrying a judicial appeal in front of the same judge who clearly has already reached a decision against you.
This review should be carried out at the commissioners’ level. To them, I say what I said just a day before Aleman’s decision, a day when I thought it was the commissioners who were to decide, specifically the acting chairman of the SEC:
“Dr. Piwowar, open the doors for business. Welcome innovation. And not by default approval. Stand in front of the world and show that America has two parties, show that this administration means free market capitalism, hail the geniuses who bring new things to this world, lift the spirits of this great nation.”
German Finance Watchdog Shutters OneCoin Payment Processor
Germany's top finance regulator has moved to shut down a payment processor tied to the OneCoin cryptocurrency scheme, a digital currency service that has faced widespread allegations of fraud.
The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) said on 10th April that it was freezing the accounts of IMS International Marketing Services GmbH, which is registered in Germany.
According to BaFin, the firm accepted €360m on behalf of OneCoin between December 2015 and December 2016. Of that amount, €29m is being held in the accounts frozen by the regulator.
The agency went on to threaten financial penalties in excess of €1m, going on to say:
"In case IMS should not abide by the order to cease business, BaFin threatened to impose a coercive fine of €1.5m; for non-compliance with the winding-down order, it would impose a coercive fine of €150,000. By law, the administrative acts, including the threats of coercive fines, are immediately enforceable."
With the move, BaFin becomes the latest regulator in Europe to take action against elements of the OneCoin scheme.
OneCoin is a multi-level marketing scheme that pitches an eponymous digital currency as an investment opportunity. Prospective buyers purchase batches of tokens which can then be redeemed online, though those involved are strongly encouraged to find buyers of their own – a characteristic that lends itself to accusations that OneCoin is a pyramid scheme.
In the past year, regulators in several African countries have warned consumers about local efforts by OneCoin to solicit investors. In the UK, London police have been investigating OneCoin since as early as September, while in Italy, regulators moved last month to prohibit promotional efforts for OneCoin by local proponents.
Notably, BaFin made it clear in a statement that it was moving against the firm due to unlicensed money activities rather than the legality of sales of OneCoin tokens.
"BaFin does not have the right to decide as to the validity under the civil law of the 'OneCoins' sales contracts. It may therefore not answer questions of this nature," the agency said.
How to Build an Inbound Marketing Strategy in 24 Hours
"I'm active on social media."
"I'm blogging regularly."
"I'm using SEO best practices."
"I feel like I'm doing everything right, but I'm not seeing results."
Do any of these statements sound familiar? A lot of marketers and CEOs we talk to feel like they are doing all the right things. But, they aren't achieving their goals.
A recent survey from DM (Direct Marketing) News confirms this is common. 46% of the executives surveyed, stated that a "lack of an effective strategy" was the biggest obstacle in achieving their inbound marketing goals.
So why is everyone struggling? I'm not quite sure as to WHY, but in this blog, I'll show you HOW you can overcome this obstacle…and overcome it in the next 24 hours. Let's roll!
What is Strategy?
First, let's identify what strategy actually is. It really doesn't have to be that complicated. Strategy is simply a plan of action designed to achieve an expected goal. So, we need a goal to get started. For the purpose of this article, let's say that our goal is to generate 50 qualified leads per month for my sales goal.
A worthy goal.
Now, we need a plan of action that will get us there.
Note: You may have a different inbound marketing goal, so just apply this same framework in order to backtrack from your goal, to an activity plan.
If we're going to generate 50 qualified leads per month for your sales quota, we need to define a "quality lead". Let's pretend we're a coffee distributor that provides energizing weight loss coffee for coffee drinkers, dieters, fitness, etc. If we can get a “Sample” Request, a pre enrolled lead, we consider that a quality lead.
Okay, so now we've got an audience and we know what a quality lead is. We're getting closer to being able to build our plan of action.
Action Steps for Identifying Your Audience:
Nail down your target market. Target Market Example: Diet sites located in the United States, health clubs that are doing between $500,000 and $20M in revenue annually.
Talk to the sales team and establish what a quality lead is. In this case, we know we need 50 Sample Requests and Pre Enrollments each month.
Time Estimate: 2 hours
Honestly, this should be something you already know (your target market).But give yourself an hour to talk to a few people inside your sphere, friend networks and groups, read through your messaging, and establish who you're really after.
Give yourself another hour to talk to a few reps or the sales people in your network. Or potentially, set up a conference and invite others in your network that is similar in their business to yours.
Identify Where Your Audience Lives Online
Once we know who our audience is and what our goal is, we need to locate our audience. Where are they online? You'll want to look at social media, blogs, websites, and forums. Make a big list! Here's what I might do if I were looking for vertical markets.
First, I'd dive into social media. I know LinkedIn is better for B2B, so I head there first. There are tons of various groups, so I started looking for groups full of my audience. A quick search for "dieters" brings up 978 different groups.
I will continue my search for "fitness", " coffee drinkers ", and "weight loss". After spending some time gathering a list, hopefully I've identified at least 500 solid groups that have my target audience.
Next, I'll explore other social media options to see if there is anything market specific. After spending some time on Google, I run across Over Coffee, a social network for coffee drinkers, marketers and socializers.
Still further, I'll spend some time on Google again looking for blogs, forums and other websites where I might find my audience. As an example, it is a pretty sure assumption the Fast Diet forum fits. https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/
Another excellent tip is searching for the topics in Discuss. Since Discuss has no search abilities, Google comes in handy. But you have to know the tricks to search. I made a little video here to explain how quickly.
At the end of this research process, you should easily have 500-1000 websites (forums, blogs and other websites), groups (on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) and communities (on Google+) on your list. Now, we're getting somewhere! We're narrowing down the Web and locating the corners in which we want to spend our time and effort.
Action Steps for Finding Your Audience:
Spend time looking at social media, websites, blogs and forums for your target audience.
Create a master list with links to these places. Utilizing Markethive’s Backlink System, you can track backlinks, store login data, and manage campaigns easily.
Time Estimate: 4 hours
Don't shortchange yourself here.Put in the time to locate your audience.This step will serve you well for many inbound campaigns into the future, so spend about four hours doing your research.
Create the list in your MH backlinks as you go along.
Identify Pains, Problems, Questions
Ok, just to re-cap. We now know:
Who we're targeting
Where they live online
Now, it's time to dig for pain. As you're doing your research and visiting groups, websites and blogs with your audience, start listening. What does that mean, really? How do you listen? What are you listening for?
What you want to do is listen to the problems that your audience is expressing. You want to write down the questions they are asking. Write down the things they are complaining about. You want to be able to speak their language.
You'll start to see different discussion questions, comments on blogs, or frustrations. Here are a few sample discussion topics I pulled from a LinkedIn Group full of dieters.
Obviously, you want to identify challenges and pains around the product or service you offer, but sometimes you can get some really powerful insight just by writing down any common questions or problems. You'll start to see some trends.
As you'll see in the next section, we want to use these questions, pains and problems in our content and messaging.
Action Steps for Identifying Pains, Problems and Questions:
Go to 10-20 places on your master list and start copying and pasting your audience's discussions and questions.
Time Estimate: 2 hours
This should take you about 2 hours, but don't be afraid to spend 3 or 4 if you feel you're not seeing any trends.
Create a Content Calendar
Alright, now we're ready to create a content calendar. Most people want to rush into this step because it feels like you're accomplishing something. However, this step won't be worth much if you haven't dedicated the time to your research.
There are articles that walk through this step in much more detail, so I'm not going to do that. This will be a high level overview.
Basically, now that we've got a sense for what our audience is dealing with, we can brainstorm some effective blog titles, maybe some webinar topics and definitely some e-book ideas. If we think back to our goal of 50 qualified leads per month, you might be asking, "How many blog articles should I be writing?" or "How many capture pages, do I need?"
You can make an educated guess, but this is always the unknown with strategy. (Strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty) You make the best plan of action you can to achieve your goal, but you'll need to adjust your plan over time depending on how close you are getting to that goal.
Based on my experience, without knowing how much traffic this hypothetical website is getting or how many leads it's currently generating, you'll want to be creating 2-3 blog posts per week.
With your blog posts WordPress plugin, your Markethive blog system becomes a BlogCasting system.
The subscribing potential your blogs will have with other Markethive social members. Case in point the Proprietary subscribe system.
Blog Casting option that allows others to “plagiarize” your work with your permission thereby automatically taking an exact copy of your blog to their account
The Markethive Blogcasting Word Press plugin allows your blog articles massive syndication to other Markethive members Word Press blogs.
The SNAP plugin for Word Press then allows greater broadcasting to over 25 social networks and literally millions of LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ groups and Twitter hash tagged directories.
The potential of just the “SNAP | Word Press | Markethive Broadcast” plugins can literally build reaches into the billions. We know because we have achieved this.
You'll also want to have at least two or three e-books that you can leverage to capture leads. This is not a difficult process. Spend some time writing your story, your perspective of the industry you are chasing. For instance I have written the following ebooks (7):
You also have Markethive to offer. It is a million dollar platform, offering a monthly service others charge $1000s for, with free membership. But if you are in a vertical market, like diets or coffee, you might want to offer ebooks, live webinars, samples, etc.
In addition to the e-books, you'll want to integrate the Markethive nurturing program that moves leads down the funnel towards the level of being joined to you as an Alpha Entrepreneur. Markethive’s lead nurturing system is a quantum leap from other so called lead nurturing when in reality they are nothing more than disguised email espionage.
Don’t know how to produce an ebook? No problem, I wrote a blog on how and why just for you.
Markethive uses Google’s calendar. It is available on all platforms, Droid, iPhone, Tablets, Laptops and Desktops. It integrates with other Google calendar accounts; it allows events, notes, hidden appointments and reminders, to do lists, and sharing with others who have set up a calendar. Like Markethive’s calendar.
Brainstorm blog topics, e-book and/or webinar topics.
Map out how many blog articles you'll need to create each week.
Plan your e-book creation.
Plan your lead nurturing sequences.
Time Estimate: 2 hours
Spend 1 hour brainstorming topics and titles.
15 minutes for mapping out your blog calendar.
20 minutes for planning out your e-books.
20 minutes mapping out your lead nurturing sequences.
Create a Promotions Plan
Your promotions plan is just as important, if not more important that your content plan and calendar. Most marketers feel like once they hit "publish", it's time to start working on the next piece. Not true! Once you hit publish, it's time to go to work promoting that article.
You spent time writing it, editing it, finding an amazing photo and placing a relevant call to action. Now, it's time to zero in on our audience and share that content with them. This is how we'll drive people back to your content, they'll click on your e-books, receive your emails and ultimately sign up for that demo, service or product!
Creating your promotional plan will be much easier now that you've got a master list of where your audience lives. You'll be able to share your blog articles as discussions in exactly the right Facebook Groups, Google Groups, LinkedIn Groups and Twitter automatically as you blog. (it is a SNAP)
See blog on video on SNAPPING https://markethive.com/group/marketingdept/blog/the-reach-aka-blog-casting
You'll be able to comment on other websites and blogs and reference your content in a super relevant fashion because you know exactly what your audience’s challenges and pains are. You'll be able to craft blog titles that are irresistible to your audience because you studied their problems and pains.
Your promotions plan should basically be the time you spend promoting your article to all the places on your master list. It might look something like this:
Blog Title: Lose Weight with Coffee
Create a discussion in all 20 LinkedIn Groups and frame it with the question "What is your biggest weight lose challenge right now?"
Share article on Twitter using the hashtags #coffee diet #lose weight with coffee #healthy coffee. Rotate hashtags. Schedule 10-20 Tweets over the next 30 days. (Markethive automates this)
Jump into a couple of forums and find the discussions around coffee and diet. Add value to the discussion and add a link to the blog post as a reference point.
Find individual dieters on Facebook Groups or other websites and send a personal email with a link to the article.
Send out an email to all current leads in the database and share the article.
So, your promotions plan will have some activity that you'll do every time you create a blog post. Then, for specific topics, you may have additional activities you'll want to add that make sense based on the topic.
Action Steps for Content Calendar:
Write out all the possible promotional activities you might have for a specific blog post. Each time you publish, go to that list and execute as many as possible!
Time Estimate: 1 hour
Spend an hour brainstorming all the ways you could promote a blog post, e-book or piece of content.
Phew! There's a lot of work there, but you can do it… and you can do it in less than 24 hours! The total time spent in this process totals 11 hours. Obviously, it would be a long work day to push through these activities, but you'll be setting yourself up for success over the next several months, if not years. If you can't block off an entire day to do this, spend a couple hours each day for a week and you'll be all set.
Your goals and strategy will change over time, but I wanted to break down a very simplistic way to create a strategy quickly and start moving forward.
Just to re-cap what you need to do:
What is your goal?
Who are you targeting?
Where do they live online?
Develop your content calendar.
Create a promotional list.
I'm curious… how much time do you spend on research before diving into content creation?
European regulators should embrace cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, the prime minister of Malta argued in a speech yesterday.
Speaking at the CEPS Ideas Lab in Brussels on 23rd February, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat argued that governments in the European Union should "double down" on the tech, which he pointed out is slowly catching on amongst the bloc’s financial institutions, according to a transcript published by Live News Malta.
Muscat's remarks were in the context of reinvigorating the EU, which has faced rising socio-economic pressures in recent years. He also proposed that leaders in the bloc create financial mechanisms to invest in areas that may be inclined to leave the EU, as was with the case of the UK's so-called "Brexit" vote last year.
Though prefacing his statements by saying that he is opting to advocate for "outright insane" sounding ideas, Muscat argued that "the rise of cryptocurrencies can be slowed but cannot be stopped".
He went on to tell event attendees:
"My point is that rather than resist, European regulators should innovate and create mechanisms in which to regulate cryptocurrencies, in order to harness their potential and better protect consumers, while making Europe the natural home of innovators."
Among the firms in Europe testing the tech is Malta’s primary stock exchange, which in December formed an internal "Blockchain Committee" dedicated to exploring how the exchange might utilize the tech.
The exchange further indicated its intention to set up a domestic blockchain consortium in Malta, aimed at creating a basis for the development of new applications.
Many bitcoiners like to travel. In 2017 there are ways for people to use their bitcoins to book flights, car rentals, and hotels. Indeed, there are many options available to purchase any travel amenities imaginable without having to convert bitcoin to fiat.
Did you know there are quite a few options out there to pay for flights and travel accommodations with Bitcoin? In fact, everyone’s favorite cryptocurrency can pay for plane tickets, purchase a rental car, and book lodging in cities across the globe. Over the past few years, a good handful of travel companies have embraced Bitcoin, thus enabling people to visit worldwide destinations on the decentralized currency.
Cheapair.com is well-known in the cryptocurrency community for offering affordable flights for Bitcoin. The California-based company introduced Bitcoin support in 2013. Cheapair believes it was one of the first travel firms to accept the digital currency for payment processing.
“We will do whatever it takes to make travel buying easier and give Cheapair customers more options,” said Jeff Klee, CEO of Cheapair at the time. “We’re intrigued by the growing Bitcoin phenomenon, and we are happy to provide Bitcoin users an easy, secure way to book flights.”
The platform’s interface is pretty straightforward and operates like any other online travel service. Users can book flights to anywhere in the world from most airports and major airline services. Cheapair can also provide hotel accommodations and car rentals for trips as well. All of these services can be purchased with bitcoin immediately by using the company’s shopping cart portal.
BTCTrip believes it is “the travel agency for the cryptocurrency community.” The New York-based company, founded in 2013 by Yamil Alis and Martin Fernandez, enables users to pay with bitcoin for travel needs. Currently, the service offers flight and hotel accommodations, covering many destinations worldwide. The user interface is fairly simple, allowing users to fill out where they would like to travel, followed by departure and return dates. The travel company also accepts Dogecoin and Litecoin payments.
Expedia is probably one of the most popular online travel agencies and has been around since 1996. The full-service travel giant announced it would accept bitcoin back in June 2014. The announcement pleased the cryptocurrency community, as it meant a degree of mainstream acceptance. The company partnered with Coinbase to facilitate bitcoin purchases for flight and travel accommodations.
Fred Ehrsam, co-founder of Coinbase, explained that “By accepting bitcoin as a form of payment, Expedia is giving a wider community of users the opportunity to book hotels from their site’s inventory of properties all around the world quickly and easily.”
Expedia users simply choose a flight, hotel or car rental using the company’s online platform, and proceed to pay with bitcoin at checkout. Expedia does have a separate terms and conditions page specifically for bitcoin purchases. The site explains how Coinbase facilitates the payment, tells its customers about miner fees, and how bitcoin transactions are irreversible.
More Flights for Bitcoin
There are other companies that offer airline tickets for bitcoin payments. If you are planning to travel around the European mainland a company called Abitsky offers discounted flights and travel accommodations for travelers paying with bitcoin. Destinia is another company that offers trip amenities for destinations all around the world using cryptocurrency payments. Destinia recently said it would rather “build bridges than walls”, speaking out in opposition to Donald Trump’s immigration statements. The travel agency is offering a 5 percent discount for those traveling from Mexico to the U.S.
Another full-service travel agency that accepts bitcoin payments is Fluege.com, which offers flights, hotels, and car rentals worldwide. Furthermore, the well-known airline service Airbaltic has offered alternative payment choices, such as bitcoin for flights, since 2014. The well-known airline takes passengers to many Baltic state destinations, and the company can be found at many local airports worldwide.
While planning a trip can be frustrating, finding a travel agency that accepts Bitcoin is pretty easy.
Have you ever used any of these companies to purchase travel arrangements with bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Pixabay, BTCTrip, Expedia, and Cheapair.
Whether you’re a beginner or a long-time bitcoin player, there’s always something interesting going on in the bitcoin.com Forums. We are proud free speech advocates, and no matter what your opinion on bitcoin we guarantee it’ll be seen and heard here. We don’t censor.
Altcoins are springing up on a daily basis, you might have noticed that they appear pretty regularly in the lists of CoinMarketCap. However, Ethereum Classic's Charles Hoskinson predicts that as much as 90 percent of altcoin will probably die out in the near future.
Speaking to Cointelegraph about the sustainability of cryptocurrencies, Hoskinson, who was with Ethereum before crossing the carpet to ETC, outlined what makes a digital currency thick.
"As for most cryptocurrencies, I agree completely they will likely die out," Hoskinson related. "As 90 percent of businesses usually fail in the first few years, there is no reason to believe that coins are any different."
Treasury Mechanic system
To ensure sustainability of cryptocurrency he is convinced Treasury Mechanic measures should be explored and taken seriously:
"I think all cryptocurrencies should strongly consider a treasury mechanic. It creates long-term sustainability if it's correctly implemented. We are going to look closely at our own treasury for ETC."
Recently some altcoins have come under scrutiny for employing pump and dump tactics to swindle its holders. Case in point is CageCoin, that recently rose by 31,000 percentage point but fell miserably within 24 hours.
It is very imperative that community members undertake the necessary due diligence when they are investing in any coin. This is very crucial at a stage where digital currency is scaling and convincing sceptics, it is not a nine-day wonder but has really come to stay.
Bitcoin is sustainable
On the contrary, Hoskinson holds the view that Bitcoin is not in the category of the unsustainable coins and the strength of every currency is in its communities, not its technology per se.
"Technology can incentivize more community to come but it cannot replace it. Bitcoin has the strongest community of all cryptocurrencies and also the most resilient. It has survived over a billion dollars of theft, dozens of death declarations and exchange failures alongside many so called leaders trying to hijack to project and the founder leaving. It's absolutely stunning that Bitcoin has survived and thrived. I don't think Bitcoin is going to die. Rather the better question is where does it stop."
Truly, that is the only thing for all currencies including the US Dollar. It is merely strong because people accept it for goods and services. Imagine if they suddenly stopped, the dollar would be in trouble
Bitcoin won't die
"I don't think Bitcoin is going to die. Rather the better question is where does it stop?" Hoskinson queries. He articulates it will either become a universal payment system or simply a digital gold standard that stores value.
With the standard of measurement improving swiftly with infrastructures like ATMs, debit cards, hundreds of thousands of merchants, it is hard to dispute Charles Hoskinson on this.
"Many contractors in Eastern Europe do dev work for Bitcoin – it is very popular in Ukraine, for example," Hoskinson remarked. If you would like to earn and have Bitcoin traded for you automatically?
Dutch and Korean Mainstream Media Extensively Cover Bitcoin Rally
Bitcoin is sustaining a strong price rally, maintaining its stability at the US$1,020 margin. Within seven days, the price of bitcoin rose by 9%, pushing the demand for the digital currency in exchanges worldwide. As a result, bitcoin began to gain extensive coverage by mainstream media in South Korea, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
Extensive Coverage in Belgium and the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, de Volkskrant, leading daily morning newspaper with a circulation of nearly 250,000 nationwide and De Telegraaf, the largest Dutch daily newspaper with a circulation of 430,000, provided extensive coverage on bitcoin and its recent price rally to their mainstream audience ever since bitcoin reached the $1,000 milestone.
Analysts at De Telegraff offered insightful and accurate assessment of bitcoin’s rising value, stating that current global economic instability and uncertainty led to the increase of demand for bitcoin. Researchers at the firm also mentioned China’s role in bitcoin’s recent price rally, explaining that investors, traders and households purchased bitcoin to move the Chinese yuan out of the country.
De Telegraff stated:
Bitcoin has in recent months was sought after by investors due to the uncertainty in the international economy. According to analysts, the popularity of bitcoin is enhanced by strong demand from China, where virtual currency investors are seeking for an interesting alternative to the yuan.
While tightening regulations and capital controls initiated and imposed by the Chinese government indeed played a vital role in pushing the price of bitcoin, experts like Vinny Lingham told users and investors that it is important to consider the impact of the Federal Reserve’s increase in interest rates on bitcoin.
The global economy is dependent on the US dollars directly and indirectly. Currencies like the Chinese yuan and South Korean won depend on the performance of US dollars and thus, when the US dollars rise in value, they decline in price.
Inevitably, when the Fed raised rates in December, the demand for bitcoin surged in countries like China and South Korea due to the rising number of investors and traders seeking for alternative assets to avoid currency devaluation.
De Tijd, a major newspaper in Belgium with 41,000 in circulation, also provided coverage on bitcoin on its online media outlet, emphasizing bitcoin’s strong performance throughout the year. Analysts at De Tijd noted that bitcoin was worth less than $500 in the beginning of 2016 and it reached a 3-year high price on the first day of trading in 2017.
South Korea: Fed Rate Hikes, Bitcoin Demand Rises
The South Korean economy is slowly recovering from controversies surrounding President Park’s involvement in bribery and other serious offenses.
When the Fed announced its plans to raise interest rates last month, mainstream media outlets in South Korea expressed their concerns with the decreasing value of the South Korean won. Such coverage led to increasing demand for bitcoin within the country and ultimately, extensive coverage from mainstream media.
Mainstream media coverage in leading countries like the Netherlands and South Korea are exposing millions of people to bitcoin on a daily basis. If bitcoin continues rise in price, it will aid mainstream adoption of the digital currency in the long run.
Microsoft Announces Availability of R3’s Corda Blockchain Platform on Azure
R3’s blockchain software Corda, developed by the Fintech startup alongside 70 of the world’s biggest banks forming the R3 consortium, is now available on Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure.
Announced quietly last week, the revelation comes soon after Corda’s code was contributed to the Linux Foundation-led Hyperledger Project on November 30. R3 first announced its decision to go open-source with Corda, the product of its Concord blockchain product, in October this year.
Elaborating on R3’s year-long development, Richard Brown, technology chief at R3 claims:
Corda is a distributed ledger platform designed from the ground up to record, manage and synchronize financial agreements between regulated financial institutions. It is heavily inspired by and captures the benefits of blockchain systems, without the design choices that make blockchains inappropriate for many banking scenarios.
Corda’s availability is the latest offering and addition of Microsoft’s blockchain services toolkit called Project Bletchley. First announced in June 2016, Project Bletchley is Microsoft’s endeavor to push for “an open, modular blockchain fabric powered by Azure.” Fundamentally, Microsoft is looking to provide comprehensive solutions with blockchain technology for customers on various platforms, as Blockchain as a Service (BaaS).
R3’s Blockchain Demo Available
Microsoft’s announcement includes a demo offering of Corda via virtual machine image. While this author hasn’t tried the demo prior to publishing, Microsoft claims the demonstration will showcase Corda’s capabilities through real-world scenarios such as interest rate swap deals. Details reveal that deployment will take 3-5 minutes for the virtual machine to be created, one which will deploy a multi-member Corda demo network. The demo isn’t charged, but usage of Microsoft’s resources including storage, networking and computing will be billed.
R3’s blockchain software Corda is now available on Microsoft’s clould computing platform, Azure.
Brown’s comments above point to a marked difference in the ‘design choices’ made by Corda compared to a public blockchain, like bitcoin’s ledger. These choices include developing the Corda blockchain platform within the confines of legal and regulatory frameworks, a focus on privacy and the means to achieve a modular consensus.
R3’s CTO added:
By making simple Corda demos available on the Azure Marketplace, R3 and Microsoft are making it easy for newcomers to experience Corda for themselves before joining the community.
R3’s efforts to push its blockchain product for wider adoption (with its notable call to go open-source) comes during a time when the New York-based startup is losing some of its notable banking members. The likes of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Banco Santander have all decided to exit the consortium after a year’s membership.