PwC Partners With Decentralized Lending Platform to Provide Expertise in Stablecoin Launch

PwC Partners With Decentralized Lending Platform to Provide Expertise in Stablecoin Launch

“Big four” audit giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has partnered with decentralized lending platform Cred to provide tech expertise in the launch of their USD-backed stablecoin, the company announced on Monday, October 8. In the announcement, the professional services firm claimed that the new partnership is designed in order to boost the current market of U.S. dollar-pegged cryptocurrencies by bringing more trust to investors. PwC is touting their service as a solution to major existing problems associated with the stablecoin market, such as transparency and “substantiation,” which keep a number of investors away from the field. With the partnership, the audit firm notes it plans to ensure a “valuable perspective on how standards can be enhanced,” in order to provide “more transparent set of reserve functions.” The statement adds: “Many investors are looking for crypto assets that can be pegged to a stable fiat currency such as the US dollar, but these assets require a reserve ledger built for decentralized assets, that can provide 100% transparency and value substantiation.” The company also stated that it will provide clients with useful insights on governance, security, and risk management. PwC’s U.S. blockchain and cryptocurrency leader Grainne McNamara commented that the new stablecoin is an attempt to give another push to the development of a “quickly developing asset class” at an “increased level of comfort.” In late September, U.S. venture capital fund Andreessen Horowitz invested $15 million in blockchain startup MakerDAO (MKR), the firm that backs USD-pegged stablecoin Dai (DAI). And earlier in September, the Winklevoss twins, founders of crypto trading platform Gemini, acquired permission from New York regulators to launch their own USD-backed stablecoin. Subsequently, security researchers pointed out a feature of the recently launched Gemini dollar (GUSD) that allows custodian to completely change any transaction within GUSD network every 48 hours. Earlier today, Cointelegraph reported on four professional services giants including PwC having set up a solid long-term blockchain roadmaps in order to keep the leadership in crypto and blockchain industry.

Swiss Financial Watchdog Issues Country’s First Crypto Asset Management License

Swiss Financial Watchdog Issues Country’s First Crypto Asset Management License

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has issued the country’s first cryptocurrency asset management license to a crypto investment fund, Swiss-centered media outlet Swissinfo reports today, Oct. 9. The recipient is Crypto Fund, a subsidiary founded in 2017 by Zug-based Crypto Finance AG. The fund has reportedly until now only been able to distribute offshore-based cryptocurrency funds under FINMA rules. The new license, however, will permit the firm to legally offer a wide spectrum of collective investment products that track Bitcoin (BTC) and other crypto assets, including domestic funds. The license also allows the firm to provide investment consultancy services for institutional clients — essentially affording it the same freedom as that given to traditional Swiss asset managers, as the article notes. According to Swissinfo, there is a crush of rival crypto funds “queuing up” to get approval for a gamut of crypto-related products and services, which include applications for a license to offer full banking services for cryptocurrency operators in the country. Cointelegraph has recently reported on a Swiss blockchain startup that won approval to operate in the local financial market under the Financial Services Standards Association (VQF), which is authorized by FINMA to oversee anti-money laundering (AML) compliance. The firm in question is also reportedly seeking a banking license to enable it to offer securities investments in future. As previously reported, Zug known in the crypto industry by the moniker, “Crypto Valley,” given the high concentration of blockchain- and crypto-related projects active in the town. This summer, local companies partnered with the Zug government to trial a blockchain-based municipal voting system. Switzerland more broadly is markedly proactive when it comes to regulating the new crypto space. In February of this year, FINMA published detailed guidelines on ICOs, according to which many projects — specifically utility and asset tokens — are to be regulated under securities laws, whereas payment tokens fall under the Swiss Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) Act.

PwC Partners with Decentralized Lending Platform to Provide Expertise in Stablecoin Launch

PwC Partners with Decentralized Lending Platform to Provide Expertise in Stablecoin Launch

“Big four” audit giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has partnered with decentralized lending platform Cred to provide tech expertise in the launch of their USD-backed stablecoin, the company announced on Monday, October 8. In the announcement, the professional services firm claimed that the new partnership is designed in order to boost the current market of U.S. dollar-pegged cryptocurrencies by bringing more trust to investors. PwC is touting their service as a solution to major existing problems associated with the stablecoin market, such as transparency and “substantiation,” which keep a number of investors away from the field. With the partnership, the audit firm notes it plans to ensure a “valuable perspective on how standards can be enhanced,” in order to provide “more transparent set of reserve functions.” The statement adds: “Many investors are looking for crypto assets that can be pegged to a stable fiat currency such as the US dollar, but these assets require a reserve ledger built for decentralized assets, that can provide 100% transparency and value substantiation.” The company also stated that it will provide clients with useful insights on governance, security, and risk management. PwC’s U.S. blockchain and cryptocurrency leader Grainne McNamara commented that the new stablecoin is an attempt to give another push to the development of a “quickly developing asset class” at an “increased level of comfort.” In late September, U.S. venture capital fund Andreessen Horowitz invested $15 million in blockchain startup MakerDAO (MKR), the firm that backs USD-pegged stablecoin Dai (DAI). And earlier in September, the Winklevoss twins, founders of crypto trading platform Gemini, acquired permission from New York regulators to launch their own USD-backed stablecoin. Subsequently, security researchers pointed out a feature of the recently launched Gemini dollar (GUSD) that allows custodian to completely change any transaction within GUSD network every 48 hours. Earlier today, Cointelegraph reported on four professional services giants including PwC having set up a solid long-term blockchain roadmaps in order to keep the leadership in crypto and blockchain industry.

I Can’t Believe This Blockchain Is Free

I Can’t Believe This Blockchain Is Free

Michael J. Casey is the chairman of CoinDesk’s advisory board and a senior advisor for blockchain research at MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative. The following article originally appeared in CoinDesk Weekly, a custom-curated newsletter delivered every Sunday exclusively to our subscribers. As anger has grown over the power wielded by internet gatekeepers such as Facebook and Twitter, many blockchain advocates argue we could fix social media if it were built on decentralized, consensus-based networks instead of corporate-centralized platforms. Some developers, such as those behind decentralized social media platform Steemit and the cryptocurrency-driven journalism solution Civil, have even started putting these ideas into practice. Developers will still need to resolve thorny problems of privacy, identity and inefficiency if these new networks are to prove successful. Nonetheless, the principles behind the technology offer a framework for redesigning a broken system. This framework focuses the reform effort on the worthwhile goal of having more of the value generated by the content and data traveling over these networks accrue to those who produce it and less so to gatekeeping platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. But to get there, we need to understand the nature of the problem. And, right now, there’s a huge misunderstanding across society, one that’s captured in this one tweet, from none other than Twitter itself: I hate to break it to those who don’t yet get it, but we are most definitely paying for Twitter. In fact, collectively, you could say we are giving up the proverbial farm. To be fair, the tweet was a winking reference to an in-joke among Twitter users, who often write “I can’t believe this website is free” when conversations on the social media platform take entertainingly absurd turns. (The anachronistic use of the word “website” to describe a service most users access as a mobile app is deliberate.) But the fact that so many assume they are getting their yuks for free speaks volumes about how the information behemoths of the Internet 2.0 era have hoodwinked society – and perhaps their own staff, who may well believe they are giving away a “free” product. The good news is that the tweet gives us a nice way to home in on the nature of the problem. To me, it’s encapsulated…

Internet Giant GMO to Roll Out Yen-Pegged Crypto Stablecoin in 2019

Internet Giant GMO to Roll Out Yen-Pegged Crypto Stablecoin in 2019

Japanese IT giant GMO Internet is jumping on the stablecoin bandwagon with the launch of a yen-pegged cryptocurrency in 2019. The company said in an announcement Tuesday that it will start full-scale preparation to issue the stablecoin, called GMO Japanese Yen (GJY), in preparation for a move into the blockchain remittance and settlement business. GJY will be issued to Asian markets in the fiscal year of 2019 via Z.com, a cryptocurrency exchange subsidiary launched by GMO as part of its wider efforts to move into the cryptocurrency business. The firm added that the introduction of GJY to its crypto business would help GMO settle transactions since it also operates mining farms and recently launched a new web bank in partnership with Aozora Bank Group that will ultimately integrate blockchain technology for settling cross-border settlements. GMO is the latest in a flurry of notable companies to have issued a stablecoin – a cryptocurrency that uses various methods to maintain a stable price – in recent months. In July, IBM revealed it was working with the Stellar protocol on the launch of a U.S. dollar-pegged token. And, last month, crypto exchange Gemini, blockchain startup Paxos and crypto payments firm Circle all announced their own U.S. dollar-anchored stablecoins are now live for trading. GMO won’t be alone in offering a yen-pegged coin, either, as the founding partners of a $1 billion blockchain fund based in China also revealed plans to roll out a yen-anchored offering in mid-September. That launch is penciled in for the end of this year or early 2019. Japanese yen image via Shutterstock The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

UAE Securities Regulator to Introduce ICOs for Capital Markets in 2019

UAE Securities Regulator to Introduce ICOs for Capital Markets in 2019

The United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s national securities regulator plans to introduce Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) for capital markets in 2019, Reuters reported Oct. 8. Reuters notes that the regulator has embraced the innovative fundraising model to diversify the means through which companies can raise capital, noting that in recent years, “weak” equity markets, coupled with low oil prices, have been adversely impacting Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) in the country and wider region. Reuters quotes the CEO of the country’s national securities watchdog, Obaid Saif al-Zaabi, as saying that: “The board of the Emirates Securities & Commodities Authority [ESCA] has approved considering ICOs as securities. As per our plan we should have regulations on the ground in the first half of 2019.” Al-Zaabi added that the ESCA is currently drafting regulations for ICOs with international advisers, collaborating with the Abu Dhabi and Dubai stock markets to develop ICO trading platforms. Al-Zaabi also noted that the Ministry of Economy has proposed new regulations for IPOs that are currently under review by the Prime Minister. As well, he mentioned a separate initiative requiring that 20 percent of those appointed to the boards of listed companies are women. As previously reported, the ESCA announcement appears to corroborate government sources that indicated earlier this month regulatory proposals for ICOs would be formally entered into law upon imminent publication in the UAE’s Official Gazette, an official periodical containing all the country’s legislation. At the time, the reports stated that lawmakers were also planning the launch of a regulatory sandbox aimed at attracting greater fintech activity.

Bitwala Partners With Visa-Backed Solaris on Blockchain Bank Account

Bitwala Partners With Visa-Backed Solaris on Blockchain Bank Account

Blockchain startup Bitwala is aiming to launch Germany’s first “blockchain bank account” – and it’s struck a strategic partnership with Berlin-based fintech company solarisBank in order to pull it off. Built as part of solarisBank’s “Blockchain Factory” initiative, the partnership will enable Bitwala to offer banking services by way of solarisBank’s German banking license, spokesperson Roman Kessler told CoinDesk. The goal is to launch the service in mid-November, and Bitwala hopes to cater to those who already hold cryptocurrencies. Bitwala raised €4 million in new funding last month to support its efforts. Thus far, according to the company, 35,000 users have pre-registered for the upcoming service. Speaking to CoinDesk, Kessler stressed that “we are a blockchain banking service” and not a bank. That said, Bitwala hopes to get there one day, and is planning to seek a German banking license of its own next year. Bitwala’s partner has some notable backers, including Spain-based BBVA and card provider Visa. SolarisBank closed a €56.6 million Series B funding round earlier this year, according to TechCrunch, having been founded in 2016. Kessler explained two aspects of solarisBank drew Bitwala to it: the “fantastic technical platform that allows” any company the ability to easily “go in and plug your use cases” into the solarisBank API, and the regulatory access vis-a-vis its banking license. Indeed, solarisBank positioned itself as a possible partner for the crypto-industry through its Blockchain Factory effort. And the solarisBank partnership helps Bitwala avoid some of the regulatory pitfalls it’s encountered in the past. In January, Bitwala was one of several cryptocurrency companies affected when Visa Europe closed the account of its debit card issuer. “We are very proud to partner with solarisBank as we launch our new product. Their technical services and regulatory umbrella enable Bitwala to be fully compliant with German banking requirements while offering a reliable user experience,” Jörg von Minckwitz, president of Bitwala, said in a statement. Bitcoins and euros image via Shutterstock The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Australia Wants Citizens With Disability to Settle Insurance on a Blockchain

Australia Wants Citizens With Disability to Settle Insurance on a Blockchain

Australia’s federal science agency is working with one of the “Big Four” commercial banks in the country to test a blockchain application aimed to make it easier for citizens with disabilities to settle insurance payments. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) said in an announcement on Tuesday that the two are testing the proof-of-concept as part of a blockchain project dubbed “Making Money Smart.” The goal is to introduce a blockchain token coded with smart contracts to the country’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) so that participants and service providers can execute payments based on pre-defined conditions, such as who can spend certain funds by what deadline. CSIRO went on to explain that the reason for selecting participants and service providers in the NDIS to run the trial is because participants of the scheme need highly “personalized payment conditions.” “In the NDIS, participants have individualized plans that can contain multiple budget categories – each with different spending rules. The prototype app supports participants to manage their plan by enabling them to find, book and pay for services from NDIS service providers without the need for paperwork or receipts,” the announcement explains. Sophie Gilder, head of CommBank’s blockchain innovation lab, added that the distributed network can share information of NDIS participants across different parties and automate transactions, which gives the government a higher visibility of money flows and helps reduce the costs for service providers. The partners will release a further report for the Making Money Smart project in November, which will detail the designs, benefits, and limitations of the test with suggestions for other future applications. The joint effort is the latest blockchain exploration conducted by the two groups. As CoinDesk previously reported, CSIRO announced it had completed a global test of its own blockchain network that claimed to be able to process 30,000 cross-border transactions per second. The news also follows a recent report that CommBank worked with the World Bank Group to raise $81 million for a bond issued via a blockchain network developed by the bank. Australian dollars image via Shutterstock The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of…

Mischief-Maker Promises to Livestream a 51% Altcoin Attack

Mischief-Maker Promises to Livestream a 51% Altcoin Attack

Altcoins “On Oct 13, 3:00 CDT I will be doing a 51% attack against the cryptocurrency Einsteinium,” began the call-to-arms. As promises go, this one was as bold as it was brazen. The anonymous attacker has promised to assume majority hashrate control of an altcoin to demonstrate how easy the process is. As proof, they’ve not only given fair warning of the attack, but have promised to livestream the event. Also read: You Can Now 51% Attack a Coin for as Little as $500 51% Attacking Altcoins Is Now a Spectator Sport 51% attacks, in which a malevolent attacker gains majority control of a cryptocurrency’s hashrate, and then potentially uses this advantage to fraudulently double spend transactions, have been a recurring motif in 2018. During the course of three months, a string of altcoins were 51% attacked including bitcoin gold and verge, the latter succumbing twice. Now, another scrypt-based coin, einsteinium (EMC2), is in the spotlight after being singled out for attack. The entity responsible, operating under the handle of “piracy1”, has disclosed extraordinarily precise details as to when and how the attack will go down. The reasons stated are to “1. Demonstrate how easy these attacks are for anyone to do. 2. Generally teach people about the nuts and bolts of these attacks and potential mitigations.” For interested parties, a livestream link has been provided, with the action scheduled for 4am EST on October 13. Oct 13, 3:00 CDT (8:00 UTC) I’m doing 51% attacks against real live CryptoCurrencies and explaining the whole process on twitch. https://t.co/JQm34LrvhW — GeoCold (@geocold51) October 8, 2018 Low Hashrate Altcoins Have Become a Joke In selecting EMC2, the aspiring attacker could hardly have chosen an easier target. The altcoin is this year’s third worst performer, down 97% from its all-time high. Devalued PoW coins typically have a hashrate commensurate with their price, making them vulnerable to malicious or bored attackers. The monetary rewards to be derived from 51% attacking a coin such as einsteinium are likely to be negligible. In fact, all indications suggest that the would-be attacker has no interest in attempting to confirm double spent transactions. As a consequence, the attack is likely to cost piracy1 money in renting the necessary hashrate to complete their assault.…

To Scale Bitcoin, Little Improvements Will Need to Go a Long Way

To Scale Bitcoin, Little Improvements Will Need to Go a Long Way

Kaizen. The Japanese word for “improvement,” and as it relates to business, it’s the philosophy of continuous improvement on working practices. And with that as the tagline for the fifth edition of bitcoin engineering conference Scaling Bitcoin, it became a perfect way to summarize what’s happening today among the cryptocurrency’s developer ecosystem. With the scaling debate coming to a head last year – and ending with a group of big block supporting enthusiasts breaking off to form competing cryptocurrency bitcoin cash and bitcoin getting the long-awaited code upgrade Segregated Witness (SegWit) – this year’s Scaling Bitcoin conference just didn’t have the flair that perhaps past events had. What seemed pulled from another piece of the kaizen philosophy – the notion of eliminating waste for a lean business – many of the talks over the two-day conference held at Keio University in Tokyo revolved around little updates that could make a big difference in terms of efficiency of the network. From figuring out what to do with the vast amount of so-called dust (an output with tiny pieces of a bitcoin in them, small enough that the fees for sending eclipse the amount sent) on the network to fine-tuning the lightning network, Scaling Bitcoin seemed to present a much more relaxed and focused  developer community. Jameson Lopp, a bitcoin developer and engineer at bitcoin security startup Casa, agreed. “Most of the presentations were of small improvements that seem fairly likely to be implemented, which is arguably preferable to huge overhauls that promise significant improvements but add a lot of complexity and would be contentious,” he told CoinDesk, adding: “Lots of small improvements add up over time too large improvements.” Still, that doesn’t mean the several hundred developers, academics and Japanese technology enthusiasts in attendance weren’t reminded about the potential of the protocol. During Keio University professor Jun Murai’s opening keynote, he pointed out that in 2000, only 6 percent of the world population was using the internet, but by 2017, more than 54 percent of the global population was online. “When you are developing for the bitcoin scale, this is what you have to see and to think,” Murai said. Sweep up the dust One area of small improvements that several presentations touched on was the massive…