News of the week

JP Morgan Created First US bank-backed Cryptocurrency

Engineers of JP Morgan created the “JPM Coin,” a digital token that will be used to instantly settle transactions between clients of its wholesale payments business. The trials set to start in a few months. Only a tiny fraction of payments will initially be transmitted using the cryptocurrency, but the trial represents the first real-world use of a digital coin by a major U.S. bank.

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Crypto Exchange Binance is Still Profitable ‘Even in This Bear Market’

Binance is still profitable despite last year’s market meltdown, its chief financial officer said. Binance’s CEO said last year the firm was targeting a net profit of between $500 million and $1 billion in 2018. The company is the largest virtual currency exchange by trading volume, according to CoinMarketCap. “To date, even in this bear market, we still run a profitable business,” Binance CFO Wei Zhou said.

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Ethereum Opens Regional Office in China

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance is opening a regional office in China. Weijia Zhang, vice president of engineering at blockchain interoperability startup Wanchain, has been appointed as the head for the new regional office. Zhang will reportedly be responsible “for supporting the advancement and adoption of EEA’s standards by taking part in local hackathons, workshops, training sessions, and conferences.”
The EEA itself is “a member-driven standards organization whose charter is to develop open, blockchain specifications that drive harmonization and interoperability for businesses and consumers worldwide.”

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Iran is Working with Crypto Startups as Part of Its Blockchain Embrace

The Central Bank of Iran unveiled plans for a more comprehensive cryptocurrency program at Tehran’s Electronic Banking and Payments conference. One of the initiatives is the Kuknos protocol, which was funded with government approval by private banks and granted permission to issue a gold-backed token called Paymon. A complementary infrastructure project called Borna is being developed in a private-public partnership and is funded directly by the Central Bank of Iran.

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Institute of Decentralized Economics Launches in UK to Study Blockchain

The Institute of Decentralized Economics has opened in London, the United Kingdom on Feb. 14. It’s study of blockchain-based economic systems and their impact on existing institutions, is backed by fintech company Sweetbridge. It is purportedly designed to investigate the potential of decentralized and autonomous systems and find real use cases. The idea behind the IDE is to “help organizations better understand the economics that underlie the blockchain industry.” The IDE will also study the design and viability of stablecoins and how government policy and “crypto-economic” technologies interact.

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Venezuelan Crysis Provoked an All-time High Bitcoin Trading

The amount of bitcoin traded in crisis-stricken Venezuela has exploded to reach an all-time high. In the last week, the amount of Bitcoin traded in the oil-rich, but cash-poor, country has soared by 30 percent to 2,454 bitcoins. That’s equivalent to approximately $8.95 million per week and $1.29 million per day. Bitcoin is currently trading at $3,553. The spike in weekly bitcoin trading volumes appears to show residents in Venezuela are opting to hold the world’s most popular cryptocurrency instead of their own national currency as a store of value.

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