The top news in the last 24 hours are shown below:
Facebook is reportedly talking to crypto exchanges about listing its coin
Facebook has held talks with exchanges about listing its cryptocurrency, The New York Times reports. According to the Times’ sources, the Facebook crypto project is “far enough along that the social networking giant has held conversations with cryptocurrency exchanges about selling the Facebook coin to consumers.” Facebook employees are telling these exchanges that they plan to get a working product out in the first half of 2019.
QuadrigaCX Ethereum Storage Found
Based on the transaction analysis included in the report, it appears that a significant amount of Ethereum (600,000+ ETH) was transferred to Kraken, Bitfinex & Poloniex exchanges as a means of ‘storage’ during the years that QuadrigaCX was in operation and offering Ethereum on their exchange. Given the testimony in Jennifer Robertson’s affidavit stating that neither she nor the other involved individuals at QuadrigaCX were knowledgeable about where Gerry Cotten was moving and storing crypto, it is possible that QuadrigaCX, the creditors, and other entities are unaware of this discovery.
Ethereum’s Constantinople and St. Petersburg Hard Forks Have Been Activated
On February 28, the two most anticipated upgrades went live on the Ethereum blockchain. The Constantinople and St. Petersburg hard forks have been activated on the main network at block 7,280,000, as it was planned. Initially, the upgrade has had two names of two originally separated updates, but now they are combined into one. According to Ethernodes.org, not all Ethereum users have adopted the updates. Only 22.3 percent of Geth and Parity clients have started running the Constantinople-compliant version. However, major US crypto exchanges have supported the upgrade, seeing it as a prosperous initiative.
JPMorgan Tests Ethereum Privacy Tech ‘AZTEC’ with Zero-Knowledge Proofs
It doesn’t seem that the CEO of JPMorgan Chase Jamie Dimon is a huge fan of Bitcoin (as it was him who named it a fraud last year). Nevertheless, his company has nothing against emerging technology and digital assets. Let us remind that on February 14, the bank launched its own blockchain-based digital currency JPM Coin which caused a rather controversial reaction of the community. But it’s not the end of the bank’s work with the new technologies. Now it has become known that JPMorgan is testing an Ethereum-powered privacy technology called zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs).
TRON’s Odyssey 3.5 Hard Fork Brings Interesting New Upgrades
TRON is currently one of the most talked-after blockchain projects in the global blockchain and crypto community. Over the last year, the TRON blockchain network has made significant progress. In mid-2018, TRON acquired the peer-to-peer global internet network BitTorrent. Ever since then, TRON is on an exponential growth trajectory. On Friday, February 28, TRON underwent a successful hard fork to bring new sophisticated upgrades to its blockchain network. Justin Sun, the founder of TRON Foundation, had informed the community priorly before the event.
SWIFT’s GPI Counters Ripple’s Emergence in the Global Money Remittance Space
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) still dominates the industry with its innovative strategies. A recent report claims that SWIFT global payments innovation (GPI) supported over 50% of messaging traffic in the interbank network in 2018. Thus, the firm is not ready to give up its hold to XRP‘s creator Ripple in the remittance industry. Navin Gupta, the managing director of Ripple in South Asia and MENA, gave a factual assertion. In his claim, he stated that people are now drifting their interest from high street banking to networking. As we published earlier, Ripple added 13 new institutions to take its customer tally to over 200.
Hacked Crypto Exchange Cryptopia Reveals Losses
The famous cryptocurrency exchange Crpytoptia, which is based in New Zealand, has recently disclosed the losses it suffered from a cyber-attack last month. Since the attack, the exchange has been silent until it released several updates through twitter. Perhaps the most noteworthy information provided was the total amount of assets which were lost on the platform during the hack. Cryptopia stated:
“We are continuing to work on assessing the impact incurred as a result of the hack in January. Currently, we have calculated that worst case 9.4% of our total holdings was stolen.”
New York Times Reports That Facebook Wants to ”Succeed Where Bitcoin Failed” With ”Facebook Coin”
It would seem Facebook is about to bet big on cryptocurrencies. That is at least according to a fresh article from The New York Times, alleging that Facebook is ”hoping to succeed where Bitcoin failed.” ”Facebook Coin” might be integrated with Facebook Messenger. Specifically, The New York Times’ piece takes a closer look at Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, a highly confidential venture which is still shrouded in secrecy.
Alex Jones Says George Soros Offered Him $5 Million to Pump Bitcoin
The controversial conspiracy theorist and founder of Infowars, Alex Jones, has left the limelight somewhat since being ousted from several social platforms last year. Now, however, he has returned to the spotlight through being interviewed on the popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Moreover, Jones also made some interesting comments regarding Bitcoin. Soros reportedly pushed for a Bitcoin pump. Jones suggested that George Soros – who Jones has publicly criticized countless times – had reached out to Jones in an effort to pump the price of Bitcoin.
German Government to Introduce Blockchain Strategy in Mid-2019
The chief executive body of the German government, the Cabinet of Germany, has revealed that the country’s blockchain strategy will be introduced by mid-2019. The Cabinet commented on the development of fintech in the country on Feb. 26, following a request for information from parliamentarians in the Bundestag. The document notes that fintech sandboxes are currently present in five member states of the European Union: Denmark, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom.
Swiss Crypto Bank Warns Customers About Company Masquerading as Partner
Switzerland-based cryptocurrency bank Dukascopy has warned customers that forex trading company GCG Asia is fraudulently claiming to be the bank’s authorized firm in an announcement published on Feb. 27. In the statement, Dukascopy Bank — purportedly the first regulated bank to launch its initial coin offering (ICO) — cautions that neither it nor any entities of Dukascopy Group have relations with GCG Asia, although the latter fraudulently claims the opposite. The warning reads:
“GCG Asia is fraudulently using Dukascopy’s name and logo for attracting clients/investors, without Dukascopy Bank’s permission. We are taking actions against this dishonest organization.”
Report: Swiss Fintech Market Grew by 62 Percent in 2018
The Swiss fintech market grew by 62 percent in 2018, according to a recent study by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences published on Feb. 27. The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences undertook an in-depth review of Switzerland’s fintech market for the fourth time. The report dubbed “IFZ FinTech Study 2019” reveals that on a global scale the cities of Zurich and Geneva remain in second and third place for the best cities for fintech, respectively. The fintech sector inside the country grew 62 percent over the previous year.
Crypto Exchange Kraken Offers $100,000 Reward for QuadrigaCX’s Missing Funds
Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has posted a $100,000 reward for the discovery of the major Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX’s missing funds. Kraken announced the offer in a blog post on Feb. 28. QuadrigaCX has faced financial difficulty following the sudden death of its founder Gerry Cotten in December last year. Since then, Quadriga has not been able to access its cold wallets where it kept most of the assets, because Cotten was solely responsible for the wallets and corresponding keys.
California Bill Would Legalize Crypto for Tax Payments From Cannabis-Related Businesses
Lawmakers in the United States state of California have introduced a bill to allow cannabis-related business to pay fees and taxes in stablecoins. The California State Assembly introduced the bill on Feb. 21. Assembly Bill 953 would let the state, city, and county tax offices in California to accept stablecoins — cryptocurrency pegged to a physical asset or a fiat currency — from cannabis-related companies seeking to pay their excise or cultivation taxes, with effect from Jan. 1, 2020. The bill further reads:
“The bill would authorize that city or county in determining what method to either accept stablecoins directly into a digital wallet controlled by that jurisdiction or to utilize a third-party digital asset payment processor that allows for the immediate conversion of any payments made by stablecoins into United States dollars and deposit into an account of that jurisdiction.”
New York-based Signature Bank to Offer Services to Fintech Firms in Bermuda
New York-based commercial bank Signature Bank will begin offering financial services to fintech firms in the island nation of Bermuda, local news daily the Royal Gazette reports on Feb. 28. According to the Royal Gazette, banks in Bermuda have mostly avoided dealing with the fintech industry, which requires financial services. Bermudian Premier David Burt said:
“Signature Bank’s willingness to consider Bermuda-licensed businesses for banking services is a significant vote of confidence in an endorsement of Bermuda’s efforts to create a leading high standard regulatory regime for fintech business.”
Big Four Auditor PwC Trials Blockchain System for Verifying Employee Credentials
Big Four audit and consultancy firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is conducting a trial of its new blockchain-powered platform for ensuring the integrity of employee credentials. The trial, launched in partnership with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), was announced in a PwC press release published on Feb. 28. PwC’s “Smart Credentials” platform, earlier unveiled on Feb. 13, implements blockchain to issue, store and securely share digital certificates for employees’ professional qualifications.
Ripple Head of Markets: XRP Token Listing Was ‘Coinbase’s Independent Decision’
Blockchain payment network Ripple did not influence United States cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase’s decision to list XRP, a senior executive claimed on social media on Feb. 27. As part of a Twitter debate involving United Kingdom-based entrepreneur and investor Alistair Milne, Ripple’s head of markets, Miguel Vias, broke ranks with previous correspondence from Ripple about Coinbase.
US Fed Considers Including BTC Market Crash as ‘Salient Risk’ for Stress Tests
The United States Federal Reserve (the Fed) is considering the inclusion of this year’s Bitcoin (BTC) market collapse as one of the “salient risks” to be taken into account for its supervisory stress tests. The proposed amendment was revealed as part of a policy statement published on the official federal government daily journal, The Federal Register, on Feb. 28. The Fed’s annual supervisory stress tests provide the framework for covered companies to conduct their internal stress tests. These have been mandatory according to the landmark Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act (effective 2010), which was introduced as a direct response to the 2008 financial crash.
Crypto Valley Association ‘Looking Into’ Improper Conduct by Member Platform Blue Trading
Swiss cryptocurrency industry organization the Crypto Valley Association (CVA) is investigating allegations of foul play by one of its members after the platform closed down last month, CVA officials confirmed in a statement on Feb. 28. According to its website at press time, Blue Trading, also known as BlueTrading, shuttered investment services after what it described as a software malfunction, discovered Feb. 21, caused widespread losses of funds.
Circle Introduces Market Surveillance to Fight Insider Trading, ‘Pump and Dump’ Schemes
Blockchain finance company Circle will use digital financial services company Nice Actimize’s market monitoring tools to fight manipulation, a press release confirmed on Feb. 27. Nice Actimize, which forms a branch of Israeli enterprise software giant Nice Ltd., offers professional client tools in the areas of financial crime, risk, and compliance. Circle will use Actimize’s Cloud Markets Surveillance (CMS) to prevent and detect malicious trading activity on its platform proactively, including insider trading, layering, and even so-called pump and dump schemes.
US Court Denies Ex-Mt. Gox CEO Karpeles’ Motion to Stay Lawsuit Against Him
Former CEO of now-defunct Bitcoin (BTC) exchange Mt. Gox, was denied his motion to stay the United States lawsuit against him in light of rehabilitation proceedings in Japan, fintech news agency FinanceFeeds reported on March 1. On Thursday, Feb. 28, the motion by ex-Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles was reportedly denied by the Illinois Northern District Court Judge Gary Feinerman. The court also ruled to extend the deadline to submit responses to any already provided discovery requests to May 15, 2019.
Malaysian State to Launch Blockchain Solution to Track Agricultural Products, Says Official
The Malaysian state of Penang is considering the use of blockchain technology in food and agricultural products supply chains, local English-language newspaper The Star reports on March 1. According to the country’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, Sim Tze Tzin, cited by the press, the technology can be used for various applications in the industry. For instance, consumers would be able to track the origins of a particular product they purchase by scanning codes. Additionally, the industry can quickly warn consumers about the outbreaks of dangerous foodborne diseases.
ExxonMobil, Chevron and Five Others Form Global Oil and Gas Blockchain Consortium
Seven global oil and gas firms, including American industry giants ExxonMobil and Chevron, have partnered to form a blockchain consortium, according to a press release on Feb. 26. The so-called Oil & Gas Blockchain Consortium, residing under the Offshore Operators Committee (OOC), intends to conduct proofs of concept (PoC) to explore and apply the benefits of the blockchain, as well as contribute to global adoption of the tech. According to the press release, the consortium represents the first initiative of its kind in the oil and gas industry in the United States.
Cryptocurrency Accounts for Less Than 2% of All Japanese Money Laundering Cases
Money laundering cases related to cryptocurrencies in Japan increased significantly in 2018. Nevertheless, their number remains a fraction of the total. According to the Japanese press, the majority of reported money laundering instances involve banks and other traditional financial institutions.
Thailand Now Has 4 Approved Cryptocurrencies
The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced a list of four approved cryptocurrencies for use as base trading pairs in the country. The regulator reportedly took into account factors such as sufficient market liquidity and a well-designed decentralized system.
Indian Crypto Community Rallies to Influence Government’s Decision on Regulation
In March 2019, cryptocurrency enthusiasts and experts across India will make their voices heard at a nationwide roadshow. They intend to draw up a joint report which will be handed to the Indian government instead of the upcoming release of a crypto regulation framework.
Auction of Seized Bitcoin Draws Interest From 110 Countries
Wilsons Auctions on Feb. 28 successfully sold off 315 bitcoin seized by the Belgian police from dark web drug dealers. The 24-hour online auction attracted interest from buyers from 110 countries.