Friday, August 26, 2016

Banks want to issue their digital currencies


A few international banks want to issue their digital currencies soon. 

According to a recent report, those banks include UBS, BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank and Banco Santander.

These four banks, also members of the R3 Blockchain Consortium, are working together with ICAP, a UK e-broker and aim at developing a cheaper way to do money transfers using digital currencies.

This banking group didn’t make an official announcement yet, but the new cryptocurrencies are expected to be available in 2018. 

Speaking about the pros of using digital currencies, Banco Santander commented that the traditional banking system makes it hard for banks to cooperate. 

To avoid this problem, banks could use the blockchain to transfer funds between wallets within a couple of minutes. 

Those banks want to issue their digital currencies to implement the same process that happens through the blockchain into the traditional system. 

To do so, they are working to create their cryptocurrencies to be used only within their network and banks will be miners that validate and store transactions on a blockchain. 

According to Oliver Wyman, this system can save banks between $65-$80 billion a year.

Blockchain Voting: Russian government will use the ledger


Blockchain Voting: Russian government will use the ledger

Today Moscow government revealed its plan to study the blockchain voting system.

According to, deputy Andrey Belozerov explained that the Department of Information Technologies (DIT) of Moscow is studying how to apply the distributed ledger to various use cases, including blockchain voting to avoid frauds.

Moscow government could incorporate the blockchain into Active Citizen, an application for e-government that aims at getting Russian citizens more active in local decisions. 

One of the greatest Russian Sberbank could also be involved in this project.

Russia and Digital Currencies

Russian government previously tried to pose a ban on cryptocurrencies, but this position changed as major financial institutions expressed their own interest in exploring the blockchain and digital currencies.

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bank of Tokyo works on a Blockchain project with Hitachi


Bank of Tokyo works on a blockchain project with Hitachi

Bank of Tokyo works on a blockchain project to manage electronic check together with tech giant Hitachi. 

According to a press release, this proof of concept system aims at creating a digital platform to issue, transfer and collect e-checks. 

Asiatic magazine Nikkei reports that in the next few days there will be further trials, and that the full version could be released in 2018.

Tech giant Hitachi announced:

"Using the system, BTMU issues and settles checks and some of Hitachi Group companies in Singapore receive the electronic check and deposit the funds. Through the PoC testing, Hitachi and BTMU will be able to identify issues from various perspectives such as technology, security, operation and legal perspectives and aim to realize new FinTech services including digitalization of checks."

This project comes after a previous Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ statement about its investment in the blockchain and about the project to release a new digital currency. 

Also, a few months ago Hitachi announced the creation of new studies for fintech applications, as the company is a member of the Hyperledger project, the Linux Foundation program related to the distributed ledger.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

South Africa Bank will open to blockchain


According to a new announcement, South Africa Bank will open to blockchain and digital currencies.

South Africa Bank will open to blockchain

During a recent speech at a cybersecurity event organized in Johannesburg, governor Lesetja Kganyago revealed that the South Africa Bank will open to blockchain and other innovations. 

Kganyago, who works at the Central Bank since 2014, commented that the South Africa Reserve Bank wants to use technologies that could help the bank to execute their mandate more effectively.

Kganyago explained in his speech:

"As a central bank, we are open to innovations despite the different opinions of regulators on matters such as cryptocurrencies. We are willing to consider the merits and risks of blockchain technology and other distributed ledgers."

This news came after a position paper released a few years ago about digital currencies and blockchain use cases.

South Africa Bank Whitepaper on Digital Currencies

On this paper, the bank warned local consumers about the risks of using digital currencies such as money laundering and cyber fraud. However, it marked that it "does not oversee, supervise or regulate the VC landscape".

Also, other institutions in South Africa revealed that they want to study and test the distributed ledger not only for fintech applications.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The FCA wants to approve blockchain startups in England


The English FCA wants to approve blockchain startups.

In fact, a “small but significant number of firms” that use the blockchain and works in the fintech industry could officially receive the FCA authorization.

To do so, the FCA is looking for projects involved in the Project Innovate program.

The FCA is evaluating more than 150 startups and 40 of them will be approved for further study.

The number of blockchain startups is growing fast, but regulators are always concerned about illegal activity and bitcoin volatility.

The FCA director of strategy and competition, Chris Woolard explained:

"We do think blockchain has got some potentially interesting applications and we are talking to firms thinking about how to apply that to financial services and how it could benefit consumers or indeed make the business of compliance easier.— There may be areas where we might want to encourage it a bit."

He explains the FCA will announce more details about this project by the end of 2016. 

These startups will be the first to receive approval from the English FCA. 

Blockchain investments

Companies such as Greenwich Associates, EY, Accenture, and PwC explained that they believe that financial institutions will spend $1 billion USD for the distributed ledger technology during the current year.

Jeremy Millar of Ledger Partners said:

"Reports have claimed up to $100bn could be saved on the post-trade settlement process by using blockchain. Another estimate by Goldman Sachs said there could be $50bn of savings in the US repo market alone. The numbers are huge."

The technology behind Bitcoin is growing its popularity within the fintech industry. More and more financial institutions and governments are developing and studying its applications. 

This way, the English FCA could be the next authority to officially recognize the potential of the ledger.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Airbus joined Hyperledger Blockchain Project


French airplane firm Airbus joined Hyperledger Blockchain Project, or the Linux Foundation program related to the distributed ledger.

Airbus joined Hyperledger Blockchain Project

Last year Airbus sold more than 1,000 aircraft and now the company is joining the same blockchain project that also sees the participation of firms such as IBM, Red Hat, Intel and JPMorgan. 

Hyperledger director Brian Behlendorf explained to Coindesk how the Airbus partnership shows that the distributed ledger technology has lots of applications beyond fintech:

"A key factor to the project’s success will be member expertise and guidance, and as such, I look forward to collaborating with the bright team at Airbus to drive this technology forward."

Blockchain beyond finance

This announcement reflects how the airline industry is increasing its own interest in the blockchain technology. 

Previously in May, in fact, the blockchain startup called ShoCard started a partnership with the airline firm SITA with the goal of developing new applications for identity management.

This is not the first time a company wants to use the Blockchain for identity-related issues. 

A few months ago, in fact, we spoke about the Microsoft’s project that aims at using the distributed ledger to solve problems related to identity in the digital world. 

The Hyperledger Blockchain Project

Launched in the beginning of 2016, the Hyperledger Project has more than 80 members among its partners and it is managed by the Linux Foundation.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bank of America to use the Blockchain to authenticate bank data


Bank of America and HSBC joined forces with the Singapore government’s IT and telecom agency to develop a project related to the blockchain.

Revealed today on Business Times, Bank of America, HSBC and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore have started to create a blockchain application within the Hyperledger system.

The project’s the goal is replicating the letter of credit transaction process among banks, exporters and importers and they aim at understanding how the distributed ledger could place trust between parties.

In fact, usually parties need to rely on banks to issue and recognize documents for facilitating trade.

Bank of America to use the Blockchain

According to International Business Times, the proof-of-concept project is composed by a seven-step process that will show how a blockchain can be used to authenticate data.

"Many people are talking about the theory of blockchain, but for the first time we can start to see how this technology might be used to solve the real world challenges our customers face," said Vive Ramachandran, global head of product for HSBC trade finance business.

This is not the only project to be launched, in fact, Bank of America and IDA are already working on similar goals related to the blockchain.