CEDEX and U2 Diamonds enter joint venture to facilitate diamond ETF

CEDEX Holdings Limited (“CEDEX”) and U2 Diamonds (“U2”) have entered into a joint venture to support issuers that are looking to issue the first diamond ETF. 

CEDEX is a global, digital diamond exchange, focused on transforming diamonds into a new financial asset class. CEDEX developed a unique proprietary technology called the DEX, and combined with blockchain, provides a diamond spot price feed and gives investors the ability to trade in individual diamonds as a financial asset.

U2, through its subsidiary U2 Diamond Prices, is regulated in the UK by the FCA as an EU Benchmark Administrator.  U2 uses prices from arms’ length transactions in the wholesale diamond market to publish investable diamond indices that can be used to link to financial products.

The joint venture creates clarity and certainty to the market by providing price point transparency and combining DEX technology with the FCA regulated indices of U2. This breakthrough in regulatory approval for financial diamond indices, alongside CEDEX’s technology, will allow institutions to generate financial contracts and instruments with appropriately-priced underlying assets linked to them – making a diamond ETF achievable. With only 1% of the current value of the diamond market being used for financial investment, the JV creates the opportunity to develop diamond linked products as a non-correlated alternative asset class for investment and preservation of wealth similar to the way precious metals are used as a safe haven by investors.

In addition, the joint venture will undertake the following:

  • Marketing of polished diamond indices to ETF and Future issuers.
  • Enhance the Advanced Diamond Index accuracy based on the CEDEX proprietary algorithm DEX price feed.
  • Will jointly promote and market advanced diamond Indices to market participants.

Eventually, CEDEX plans to build a complete and regulated ecosystem that digitalizes diamonds as financial assets accessible to the global financial market.

Saar Levi, CEDEX CEO, said:

“This is a unique and exciting opportunity for CEDEX. The partnership with U2 Diamonds unlocks an exciting new development, not only for the diamond market, but for the global financial market as a whole. An FCA-regulated diamond index coupled with the DEX creates the infrastructure for a new financial asset class. This infrastructure with the increased security and efficiency the blockchain offers, will not only allow diamond holders to liquidate their assets at a fair price thanks to CEDEX’s price feed, but financial institutions will be able to trade diamonds at low carry cost and with a diversified risk profile that matches their trading strategies.

“We have connected to diamond suppliers and listed already over $100 million worth of diamonds on our platform. We are currently in talks with tier 1 & 2 ETF and Futures Issuers, Index Providers, Market Makers, Authorized Participants (APs), banks, exchanges and other financial institutions.”

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Bitcoin as Free Speech: The Overlooked Reason Why the USA Would Struggle to Ban Bitcoin

Caption: Hey, you Bitcoin, are you protected under the Constitution?

As the price of Bitcoin continues to rise, those who are not too bullish about the long-term future of cryptocurrency will continue to doubt the obstacles that lay ahead. In fairness, they have a good mind, too. Still, there may be one overlooked reason why the USA would struggle to ban Bitcoin entirely: A Bitcoin ban may go against the First Amendment protection of free speech.

The Situation 

Bitcoin exists as a decentralized network. Aside from the philosophical implications, decentralization makes it technically difficult for anyone to shut down the Bitcoin network entirely. The same would go for well-established altcoins operating in a decentralized way. To attempt to do so would resemble a game of never-ending Whack-A-Mole.

Despite this, the jury is still out on whether governments could somehow ban Bitcoin, if not the network, then at least its use. So far, some countries have allowed Bitcoin to continue its course while others, such as China and Russia, have made a concerted effort to make any transactions illegitimate.

In any case, cryptocurrency has proved to be quite different from other industries that have faced scrutiny. Case in point: Sports betting was illegal in the USA outside of Nevada until a recent Supreme Court hearing overturned the federal ban, allowing individual states to regulate sports betting and for upcoming licensed online sites like FOX Bet to enter the market.

Bitcoin, on the other hand, presents a legal gray area. Regulatory bodies, taxes and enforcement agencies haven’t found a universal way of dealing with cryptocurrencies, and as of yet, countries like the USA have not made any move to make a full ban.

Bitcoin as Free Speech 

Photo by Newtown Graffiti / CC BY 2.0
Caption: Bitcoin is code, code is speech, and speech falls under the First Amendment. Go figure.

Although skeptics may believe that that Bitcoin will eventually be shut down, there may be a solid constitutional reason why this can’t happen, at least in the USA. That is, according to Abra Founder and CEO Bill Barhydt, who recently spoke on a panel during the Bitcoin 2019 Conference in San Francisco.

Barhydt makes an interesting point in his speech, as reported on Forbes, that Bitcoin falls under free speech. The concept is quite simple, even if you are not familiar with the technicalities of the cryptocurrency world.

Bitcoin is code, and code is a language. Language is a type of speech, and speech falls under the First Amendment. As Barhydt says, you can’t stop someone from moving ones and zeros around in the same way that you can’t stop them from opening their mouth and closing it again. He believes that there needs to be more talk around access to this technology as a basic human right.

Case Already Solved 

It’s not only theory. In a way, the so-called Crypto Wars of the 1990s already solved the case.

In 1991, Phil Zimmermann faced charges for writing the encryption software Pretty Good Privacy aka PGP. The source code for PGP was then printed in a book and sold abroad, a demonstration that the code fell under free speech protection. A similar outcome occurred in 1995 when Berkeley mathematician Daniel Bernstein sued the U.S. government for blocking the publication of his encryption software.

These cases have set a precedent for future crypto debates in the USA, making it quite difficult for the federal government to ban Bitcoin. Countries like China and Russia have had more success smiting the technology, mostly by banning transactions, exchanges and payment processing. In the USA, however, the moving around of ones and zeros may well be a First Amendment right.

Edge of the Network 

Barhydt does think that certain aspects of the cryptocurrency economy are still vulnerable to government overreach. The government could still target on-ramps and off-ramps where they can exert more control, such as exchanges and stable coins. He also thinks that coins like Facebook’s Libra could damage the Bitcoin ecosystem, as they are not decentralized and are “more than just ones and zeros.” 

 

Bitcoin as free speech. It’s an interesting debate and one that Barhydt thinks we need to have. What do you think?

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New partnership will allow Bitstamp’s customers to deposit and withdraw funds denominated in GBP

Bitstamp, Europe’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, and BCB Group, one of the world’s leading global digital asset prime brokers, today announced a new partnership that will enable investors from the UK to transfer GBP directly to and from their Bitstamp accounts.

Through this partnership, Bitstamp will be able to support deposits and withdrawals directly in GBP, providing increased efficiency and reduced costs for clients. The new GBP service will be available to Bitstamp’s customers by the end of the year.

Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie, Founder & CEO of BCB Group, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Bitstamp to create an efficient transaction experience for UK investors wishing to deposit and withdraw funds in GBP. We value this partnership not only because it enables UK clients to transact with Bitstamp onshore, rather than having to send funds offshore, but also because it furthers our mission to provide seamless prime services infrastructure covering compliance, trade execution and settlement and custody for clients wishing to access cryptocurrencies.”

BCB Group’s range of solutions has been developed to cater to the needs of exchanges, institutions and high net worth clients seeking OTC best execution for their own accounts and who wish to offer cryptocurrency products and services to their own clients.

Bitstamp, which is the world’s longest-standing crypto exchange and widely regarded as a pioneer in the industry, has placed an emphasis on reliable and secure service ever since it opened its doors in 2011. “This is a great fit,” said Nejc Kodrič, Bitstamp CEO. “One of our points of emphasis is providing robust payment rails to our global customer base. We’re excited to have BCB Group provide an additional boost to our efforts on that front.”

Bitstamp, which will soon be celebrating 8 years of continuous operations, has had a busy year so far, launching a new mobile app and webpage redesign, reaching a number of new partnerships and ramping up the exchange’s presence in the US by obtaining a BitLicense and making strategic hires.

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TNC Group’s Official Event Launch Unveiled Buyaladdin Shopping Mall

TNC IT Solutions Group (TNC) is a global blockchain development firm based in Dubai, UAE. With the vision of uniting the cryptocurrency world, TNC has formally introduced the company’s major objectives, business strategies, and synergized ecosystem during the official event launch yesterday, July 16, at the Rockefeller Center in New York.

The opening keynote for the event was delivered by the Free Republic of Liberland’s Global Honorary Ambassador-at-Large Steven Melnik. He spoke about Liberland’s vision of becoming a crypto-and-blockchain powered society that runs within a decentralized government, collects voluntary taxes, and promotes personal and economic freedom to its citizens. In line with TNC’s goal, Liberland will benefit from TNC’s services on blockchain consulting, and will receive comprehensive assistance in integrating blockchain technology and finding global standard developers suitable for the micronation’s development.

Among the highlights of the event was the presentation done by TNC’s CEO Bruce Jeong. According to Bruce, TNC was established in October 2018. It currently has global branches around different parts of the world including the UK, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Russia, and India, among others. With its four main objectives being Token Development, Blockchain Solutions, Blockchain Academy, and Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), TNC has built business strategies in collaboration with many industry experts and corporate leaders.

Currently, TNC is in the process of appraisals and evaluation. With substantial resources, they have evaluated more than 1,700 companies listed on CoinMarketCap. After careful consideration, TNC will select 500 companies with the most potential to succeed within the crypto industry. Moreover, the TNC token that will be developed soon would be integrated as one of the payment methods on the Buyaladdin shopping mall platform. Having said that, Buyaladdin is on its way to gathering 100 million Aladdin Wallet app users through TNC’s M&A project.

A significant part of the TNC event launch was Buyaladdin’s public announcement and live demonstration. Buyaladdin aims to be a leading online shopping platform that provides an extraordinary e-shopping experience through cryptocurrencies. Resolving the issue of online transactions and high transaction fees, shoppers can conveniently shop online using crypto through Buyaladdin.

The Buyaladdin app will go live in October, and shopping enthusiasts, as well as crypto users can begin online shopping within major e-retailers integrated within the app. This global marketplace will include Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Rakuten, Lazada, and many more which will be added in the near future.

Alongside this business venture, TNC has also invested $5,000,000 to a newly-released digital wallet application — Aladdin Wallet. The funds will contribute to further developments within the app, ensuring fast and secure crypto transactions made possible through its built-in chat messaging function, and protection from security threats. Aladdin Wallet users will have the privilege to use the beta-version of the Buyaladdin app in September.

Reaching out to expert consultants from different sectors around the world, TNC will certainly pave its way to success in no time. Respected individuals like Bruce Porter, Hideo Ito, Clara Florey, Arben Kane, and Misha Hanin are among the mentioned trusted advisors who believe in TNC’s vision.

Indeed, with TNC’s event successfully launched in New York, more updates are expected to be heard about this company. Having ambitious projects and goals in mind, TNC will make a huge difference in the tech innovation industry — and everyone should be ready for it.

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Fantom Foundation partnership with The Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum and SEED Group.

Media Release: Fantom Foundation Partnership Announcement:

Fantom Foundation partnership with The Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum and SEED Group.

Fantom Foundation is pleased to announce their partnership with The Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum. This partnership will see Fantom Foundation establish an operational presence in Dubai.

Dubai has committed to becoming a world-leader in blockchain adoption as part of Smart Dubai initiative. Dubai aims to be the “first city fully powered by blockchain by 2021.” The Smart Dubai initiative was founded following the vision of Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to collaborate with the private and government sectors to empower and deliver efficient and happier city. Its goal is to achieve efficiency by using blockchain in 100% of applicable government services; creating and enabling blockchain ecosystem for startups and businesses and to become a global thought leader.

Hisham Al Gurg, CEO of Seed Group and The Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum, formalised the partnership with Fantom Foundation at a signing ceremony in their Dubai head office with Fantom Foundation represented by Ashton Hettiarachi and David Freuden.

Photo # 1:  Left to Right: Patrick Osman, Director – International Ventures, The Private Office, Hisham Al Gurg, CEO, The Private Office, Ashton Hettiarachi, Head of Innovation Lab, Fantom Foundation, David Freuden, Partner, Fantom Foundation

This partnership is the result of Fantom’s successful trip to Dubai in April and subsequent discussions by the Sydney-based Fantom Innovation Lab, led by Ashton Hettiarachi and David Freuden, along with Technical Advisor Andre Cronje. They participated in the Austrade Blockchain Trade Mission 2019 and were welcomed to Dubai by the Australian Ambassador to the UAE and hosted by Smart Dubai, Dubai Blockchain Center, and the Dubai Future Foundation.

This commercial partnership will allow Fantom Foundation to operate under The Private Office of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum corporate umbrella to engage with Dubai and UAE government and the private sector offering Fantom technology and services across multiple public and private sectors.

“We are super excited to partner up with The Private Office of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum to bring innovation and build solutions for Dubai to create new economic opportunities and deliver better user experience for UAE citizens.”   Ashton Hettiarachi, Head of Innovation Lab, Fantom Foundation.

“This day marks the beginning of a new partnership that lays the groundwork for integrating Fantom Foundation’s platform into the vision of Dubai to become a blockchain city. Given their extensive experience in information sharing technology and their lengthy track record of assisting customers, associates and businesses attain their long-term objectives and even higher success, we look forward to seeing how this will significantly benefit the Smart Dubai initiative strategy,” said Hisham Al Gurg, CEO, SEED Group and The Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum.

Photo # 2:  Left to Right: David Freuden, Partner, Fantom Foundation; Ashton Hettiarachi, Head of Innovation Lab, Fantom Foundation: Hisham Al Gurg, CEO, The Private Office; Patrick Osman, Director – International Ventures, The Private Office 

About Fantom Foundation (FTM)

Fantom is a DAG blockchain with a modulated tech stack solution with aBFT consensus enabling fast, immutable and secure consensus. This makes Fantom Protocol ideal for highly complex applications requiring high throughput such as data sharing,  Machine-to-Machine transactions and smart cities, such as public utilities, government services, traffic management, telecommunications, healthcare, education, resource management and environmental management.

About SEED Group and The Private Office of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum

Over the past 16 years, SEED Group has formed strategic alliances with leading global companies representing diverse regions and industries. These companies have propelled their business interests and goals in the Middle East and North Africa region through the support and strong base of regional connections of the SEED Group. The Group’s goal is to create mutually beneficial partnerships with multinational organizations and to accelerate their sustainable market entry and presence within the MENA region. SEED Group has been a key point in the success of all its partners in the region helping them reach their target customers and accelerate their businesses. The Private Office was established by Sheikh Saeed Bin Ahmed Al Maktoum to directly invest in or assist potential business opportunities in the region, which meet The Private Office’s criteria.

For more information, visit www.seedgroup.com and www.the-private-office.com.

For more information please contact:  

Ashton Hettiarachi at ashton@fantom.foundation

 

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Trading Ripple: What You Need to Know

While the world is a big place, technology and trade has made it feel like a small village. Today, it is possible to travel across multiple continents within a day. It’s the same with financial transactions. Every day, hundreds of billions of dollars move across borders. But the movement of these funds has a reputation for its errors and high costs. For years, companies have been attempting to solve this problem, and with the introduction of blockchain technology, this process has accelerated. One of the biggest players in this space is Ripple, which offers a tradable currency known as XRP.

Ripple has created payment software that is used by banks and other large companies. Its flagship product is known as xCurrent, which makes global payments easier and seamless in nature. The product enables financial transfers that are in real time, cost effective, and those that are completed with certainty. The goal of this product was to replace the legacy centralized systems that are ineffective, slow, error prone, and cost effective.

The product works as a global decentralized system of financial players. The players are categorized into two: network users, who are the corporates, SMEs, small banks, and payment providers who send payments. Second, there are the network members, who are the banks and payment providers that service the foundation of the system. These members use xCurrent process payments, pre-validate transactions, and provides payment certainty.

In addition to xCurrent, Ripple has a product known as xRapid, which is used by the network members to source liquidity. This liquidity is provided through an on-demand pool of funds in digital assets. It helps reduce the cost of liquidity by sourcing liquidity on demand. For network users, they can use xVia, which is an API for accessing the Ripple network. With this, they benefit from all the benefits that are in the ripple network. Examples of this are the access to liquidity, real time payments, and rich data attachments.

All this makes Ripple a distinct blockchain company. In fact, Ripple is not a cryptocurrency but a company, and XRP is the digital currency it produced. Each month, about 1 billion XRP are released and are available to Ripple to sell on the market. Therefore, as a blockchain company, if Ripple the company went away, XRP would continue because of the interledger protocol that is the basis of XRP.

XRP has risen to become a leading cryptocurrency. At the time of writing, XRP is valued at more than $16 billion. This makes it a much bigger platform in terms of overall value than the likes of Deutsche Bank, which is valued at $14 billion and Dropbox, which is valued at more than $9 billion. Ripple has achieved this by positioning itself as a disruptor in the international money transfer industry. It has also positioned itself so as not to compete with the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Further, it has succeeded by partnering with large organizations like MoneyGram and Western Union.

Broadly, there are two main ways you can make money from XRP. First, you can buy and hold. This is a process where you use an exchange to buy the XRP coins, store them in a wallet, and wait for them to increase in value. Those people who invested in XRP two years ago have seen their returns increase by more than 50%. At the peak, they had gained by more than 600%.

The next option is trading the XRP. This is a process where you use an exchange or a forex broker like easyMarkets to buy and sell XRP. By trading, you can make money when you expect the price to move up by buying. With a CFD (contract for difference), you can also sell – also known as “short” – when you expect the price to move lower. The benefit of trading XRP is that you can take advantage of little movements in the market.

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PopUp Coin: it’s a win win for both consumers and retailers

Many governments certainly seem to be fearful of digital currencies. Just this month, President Trump tweeted his dislike of Bitcoin and Facebook’s new Libra coin. Of course, many commentators are quick to point out that governments worry about them because their currencies have the most to lose from them. However, as far as consumers and coin buyers are concerned, there are many reasons they have to be thankful for them, providing useful, low-cost solutions for all of society.

One such cryptocurrency that is offering a valuable use case for everyone is PopUp Coin. The coin will pave the way for consumers to be able to pay for their lifestyle while enjoying time at their favourite entertainment venues, such as dining in a nice restaurant or buying the latest products they have their eyes on.

It has the advantage of allowing consumers to purchase goods more easily, and for a cheaper price, without retailers needing to offer discounts on their products to capture sales, which results in adverse impacts on both their profit margins and the value of their brand.

PopUp Coins benefit the consumer by the stable growth that holding them provides. To give an example, if a PopUp Coin holder spots a new pair of sneakers they want to buy at the beginning of the week for £100 or 100 PopUp Coins, the coin’s stable growth sees the price of the coins increase daily due to the coins limited pool and its growth on exchanges, so by the end of the week the price of each PopUp Coin is £1.25. This means they are effectively spending £75 on their sneakers, with £25 left to either spend on whatever they choose, or hold onto for further gains.

The advantage for the retailer is not having to discount their products, so they also gain the profits they desire – it’s a win-win for both sides. They can either convert the coins to fiat for minimal cost or decide to hold the coins and take advantage of their increasing value. In addition, the retailer benefits from transaction processing fees being significantly reduced, and the chance of fraud being eliminated, with zero chance of chargebacks from customers.

For consumers, as well as obtaining products for a cheaper price, they can enjoy zero foreign-exchange fees for any payments overseas, plus take advantage of consumer loyalty programs and profit from the growth of their coin investment.

PopUp Coin’s vision is to provide both retailers and consumers with considerable upsides, saving them money and making their lives much easier. Their growing list of collaborations with merchant acquirers and retailers is testament to the potential the coin holds. We look forward to seeing this coin blossom, and for further details and technical information, you can check out more by visiting their website: www.popup.money

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Stratis launches Cirrus Sidechain Masternodes to enable the world’s first Smart Contracts on Microsoft’s .NET framework

Stratis Group Ltd, the enterprise-grade blockchain development platform has announced the launch of Cirrus Sidechain Masternodes and Stratis Smart Contracts in C#, making Stratis the world’s first blockchain to offer businesses and developers the ability to execute Smart Contracts on the Microsoft .NET core architecture.

The launch of the Cirrus Sidechain – a blockchain pegged to the Stratis mainchain – extends functionality for businesses operating on the Stratis platform. This includes the first Smart Contracts platform built entirely from the ground up in native C# on Microsoft’s .NET framework, the most popular enterprise programming language on the most widely-used enterprise framework.

Today’s full production release follows a successful two-week community testing phase during which Masternode Operators were able to familiarise themselves with operating a Sidechain Masternode and interacting with the Cirrus Sidechain.

With Stratis Smart Contracts in C#, businesses no longer need to create a completely new blockchain for every new decentralised application, but instead can develop a set of smart contacts in a programming language they understand and deploy them on one underlying general-purpose blockchain. This opens up a wide range of enterprise use cases, from tokens and lending platforms to provenance and self-sovereign identity solutions.

“At Stratis, we are committed to making it easy for businesses to adopt blockchain solutions for real-world use cases. Now, for the first time, enterprises and developers are able to build private blockchains and programme Smart Contracts in their familiar C# language”, said Chris Trew, Founder and CEO of Stratis. “We see this being of particular benefit to large enterprises, financial services companies as well as government organisations whose systems operate within Microsoft’s .NET framework as our solution is designed to minimise any incompatibility issues which may arise from blockchains and Smart Contracts being built in other computer languages”,  he added.

C# is a general-purpose language estimated to be used by 6.7 million developers (SlashData, 2019). It was originally developed by Microsoft within .NET, its development platform for building apps for web, Windows, Windows Phone, Windows Server and Microsoft Azure. Stratis is a certified Microsoft partner and, since last year has been an accredited Microsoft Independent Software Vendor (ISV) listed on the Azure Marketplace, Microsoft’s online store providing applications and services to over 100 million active users.

The Cirrus Sidechain has been developed in order to prevent bloating of the main Stratis network and facilitate a high level of scalability. The Masternodes will operate on the Cirrus Sidechain using a Proof-of-Authority consensus algorithm, thereby enhancing security by adding accountability while also reducing the workload and energy consumption required for Masternodes to maintain the blockchain. In addition to the existing Stratis Core wallet, which has been updated to offer end-users the ability to perform cross-chain transfers, a new Cirrus Core wallet has been launched. This will be used by end-users to manage their sidechain tokens, interact with and deploy Smart Contracts, manage tokens via token issuance contracts and perform transfers back to the mainchain. There will be more than one million STRAT locked up in collateral by the participating Sidechain Masternodes, increasing the scarcity and bringing further value to the Stratis Token.

“Cirrus Sidechains will allow us to scale up the Stratis platform as we add functionality and deploy sidechains with use-case specific modifications, such as block time and block size. We are excited to welcome new developers and work alongside new businesses, and provide them with unprecedented access to develop blockchain solutions on an industry-leading platform”, said Gustav Stieger, Senior Developer at Stratis. “It will now be easier, cheaper and faster for developers to build DLT and Smart Contract functions bespoke to their business needs”, Gustav concluded.

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Tolar HashNET mainnet officially launched

4.0 blockchain revolution begins 

On June 30, Tolar HashNET, an open-source, highly-rated, 4th generation blockchain, has officially launched its mainnet. This breakthrough tech features scalable, fast, secure, and fair transactions.  It employs Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and consensus algorithm which keep all positive characteristics of a blockchain technology while increasing throughput to more than 200,000 transactions per second. 

Tolar HashNET mainnet is now one of the leading in the world, as the closest competitor with similar features have been demonstrating not more than 10,000 transactions per second.  The HashNET network is using Proof-of-Stake with masternodes thus, eliminating the need for a massive energy consumption and huge environmental cost, which has proved to be a significant problem of blockchain technology.

Tolar has made its testnet available to public on April 23, during an event that hosted high-level representatives from European Commission, European Parliament, Government of Slovenia, UNECE/CEFACT and many more. HashNET tech has been recognized as the solution for European and national blockchain infrastructures and for that reason, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe listed Tolar HashNET in its White paper »Blockchain and Trade facilitation« as one of 15 global blockchain projects, utilizing Blockchain Technology for achievement of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Tolar HashNET aims to become a favourable solution for enterprises and governments by providing an open, fast and extremely fair public ledger built on top of the HashNET technology and to create ecosystem of solutions and partners that will use this unique technology to solve problems with existing systems or provide new functionality that was not available before.

To learn more about the technology and Tolar HashNET achievements, visit their webpage.

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City of Berkeley Moves Forward with Municipal Microbonds Program, Using BlockChain Technology

On Tuesday night, the City of Berkeley took a big step forward in its plan to issue Blockchain based municipal bonds. The long-awaited BlockChain Community Microbond Initiative will now proceed via a Request For Information which will invite the industry to put forth qualified proposals. First introduced by District 3 Councilmember Ben Bartlett, the Microbond Initiative aims to see the city issue bonds as low as $25 directly to community members to invest in public projects.

Although cities have long issued municipal bonds, the $3.7 trillion municipal bond market lacks transparency and involves a slew of fee-collecting middle men, and are often priced out of reach for normal Americans. In lieu of a banking intermediary, Berkeley’s microbonds will be issued directly to investors, thus removing unknown middlemen and lowering prices.

Microbonds are low-cost, interest-bearing instruments, designed to be affordable. Bartlett hopes that Microbonds can be an antidote to extreme wealth concentration, by creating investment opportunities for historically marginalized populations.

“Right now, a staggering 43 percent of Americans are poor or low-income,” Councilmember Bartlett said. “This is because capital is bound up in too few hands. Blockchain Microbonds might offer a way to expand the pie for ordinary people and help short term consumers, become long term investors.”

Cutting costs and removing middlemen allows the City to increase flexibility in the targeting of projects. Combining civic crowdfunding with municipal microbonds secured by a blockchain-based system can democratize capital markets by creating a vehicle for community members to directly invest in their communities.

According to Kevin Dayton, president of the California-based Labor Issues Solutions, one of the advantages of microbonds is that they’re issued in “tiny denominations,” making them accessible for anyone. Bartlett added that because the community can choose to fund different local scale projects, such as parks, public art, and affordable housing, it opens the doors to “community-powered finance.”

While microbonds bring down the traditional barriers for investing in municipal bonds, the blockchain component of the Community Microbond Initiative ensures that consumer information is secure with an automated digital ledger to keep track of transactions, and resistant to concentrated attacks and failures. And the irrevocable nature of the transactions increase the accuracy of records.

“Because of the blockchain technology, [the bonds are] going straight to the consumer,” Bartlett said. “There’s real-time transparency with where it’s going and who possesses it, and payments made in a variety of frequencies.”

Bartlett added that the blockchain technology can dramatically lower the cost to issue, obtain, and administer bonds by “streamlining and automating” transactional processes. He sees the Initiative as a potential template for municipalities similar to Berkeley who seek to empower communities. Bartlett believes that is our civic responsibility to ensure that everyone can invest in their community and share in the upside. “The revolution needs a coin.”

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