“Change is good” is a sentiment that Bitwala is definitely getting behind, as they have announced their intentions to re-launch as a crypto-first bank.
The award winning firm is now allowing potential customers to sign-up to a waiting list for their new offering, with the first accounts expected to open in the middle of this year.
Their move comes in the wake of high demand for crypto-friendly banking – which many believe there is currently a deficit in. Bitwala, who had to suspend their regular services in January due to regulation changes, intend to fill this gap in the market.
Bitwala were unable to reveal which bank they’ve partnered with but stated that its an “established German bank”.
Users will have full control of their private keys and thus will not be the holdings of Bitwala or the partner bank, this means the 100,000 Euro protection scheme will not cover cryptocurrencies but Euro deposits only.
Bitwala stated that users will be able to make transfers in and out of their account via SEPA transfer, making the selling and purchasing more flexible. Most of the established cryptocurrency exchanges are partnered with banks in Poland who are also on the SEPA network opening a quicker transfer time.
We asked Bitwala if they were anticipating any problems with users transferring funds in and out of the account, which is a common problem with banks blocking users from purchasing cryptocurrency.
“The foundation that we’ve built with our partner bank is very solid and based on German banking law, so we don’t expect any problems. This is not to say that we will not comply with the rules. Our partner bank and we are working very closely with regulators to ensure that all KYC and AML measures are in place.”
Co-founder and CEO of Bitwala, Jörg von Minckwitz said:
“Our founding vision has always been to bridge the gap between traditional and crypto economies. We believe that traditional banking was and has always been the weak link of the whole process, and we are looking forward to build an account that will tackle these very weaknesses.”
All new accounts that they open will come with a German IBAN and will be regulated by The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority of Germany (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht).
Up until January Bitwala was a digital payment processing system that worked using blockchain technology. It made a name for itself through simplifying complicated processes and making them more accessible to as many individuals and companies as possible.
We have no doubt that von Minckwitz will hope to keep these values in place as they move to the next stage of their development in the crypto economy.
Users will only be able to sell and buy Bitcoin at present but more cryptocurrencies are planned for the future.
Hello Gold is a Shariah compliant gold investment app that allows anyone to buy and sell Gold hassle free. Its built on the Ethereum Blockchain with an aim to help the millions of low to medium income people from emerging countries save in Gold as apposed to their unstable local currency.
We spoke with Robin Lee, the CEO of HelloGold(former CFO of the World Gold Council) to find out more since the successful token sale which raised 17,149 ETH.
Can you briefly explain what HelloGold is?
“The amount of money in a person’s wallet should not be a barrier to his ability to access financial products that the rich enjoy. HelloGold wants to remove affordability and accessibility from the equation through the democratisation and digitisation of financial saving and loan products using real assets starting with gold” Robin Lee CEO HelloGold.
HelloGold has created an easy way for mass market customers to preserve their wealth by buying gold through a secure mobile app
How do customers purchase Gold, do they have to buy HelloGold tokens? Or only in RM1?
HelloGold is currently only available in the Malaysian market – we have plans to expand in 2018. For our customers, there are 2 ways to buy gold:
HelloGold app customers can log in and buy gold 24/7 once they have cleared the KYC process and topped up the app with cash using online banking. Prices track global market spot price and are updated every 5 minutes throughout the day. App customers can buy from as little as RM1. Customers buy, store and sell the gold which is physically vaulted down in Singapore. They can also gift the gold to another account holder, have the gold physically delivered or take a collateralised loan against the gold.
For people that are comfortable using crypto currency, HelloGold has recently launched our gold-backed token (GBT). Each GBT is fully backed by 1g of PAMP 99.99% investment grade gold vaulted in Singapore. GBTs will be available for purchase directly from HelloGold over the next few months to enable us to gauge demand
Why is Blockchain technology needed for buying Gold? What benefits does it provide to the consumer?
HelloGold uses blockchain technology to provide 3 benefits:
By publishing the smart contracts and incorporating a blockchain explorer (transaction navigator), it will be possible to review the full list of anonymised transactions and calculate the amount of gold that HelloGold is holding on behalf of customers. This, in turn, can be compared not only to the amount of gold published in the customer gold list (anonymised) but also against the records managed by our custodian.
HelloGold has incorporated several security mechanisms to protect customer accounts. All connections are encrypted using HTTPS. Internal API calls between the core components are secured with additional secret keys and firewall rules that limit interactions between trusted systems. For external facing APIs, for example APIs used by our mobile application, the API calls are further secured with a combination of industry standard OAUTH and secure tokens for each mobile device. The addition of a distributed record adds a further level of security from internal and external attempts to alter account data without leaving an audit trail. The smart contracts are being developed with best practices in mind following constant review of public audit documents. This should ensure that customer accounts are true and accurate.
In addition, the Ethereum smart contracts enable HelloGold to create GBT, tradeable on any exchange which accepts them.With HGF’s gold-backed token everyone will only need the equivalent of a fraction of a dollar to save through gold (GBT works to 18dp). This will make the HelloGold platform available to everyone anywhere in the world
Do you think HelloGold will change how we buy gold in the future?
We are only at the start of our journey to impact the lives of the underserved and unbanked in emerging economies. Since our public launch in April, HelloGold has changed the way for over 4,000 customers when it comes to wealth preservation by providing a modern, convenient and cost efficient access to gold.
We have ambitious plans to expand the use of the product with both new partners and into new markets, to change how more people are able to access affordable financial products that were previously only accessible to the wealthy
Can you share any future plans or partnerships ?
We outlined our expansion plans in the whitepaper that we wrote for the recent token sale, full details can be found there.
In short, HelloGold plans to expand into new geographic markets, specifically Thailand, China, Indonesia and Philippines plus expand the product with new features/technology, asset classes (eg silver/platinum), partners which will enable us to serve new customer segments.
We are also increasingly approached by potential partners in other regions like the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Central Asia as well as Africa to consider expansion into those markets.
Who’s your target market for the app?
The ultimate customers of HelloGold’s platform, are those are not well served by their existing financial institutions and the unbanked. Financial institutions already provide a variety of easy ways for the high net worth and mass affluent market segments to invest in assets like gold so that they can diversify risks at the portfolio level but they do not enable the less affluent customer the same access. HelloGold targets two key market segments: the consuming middle class and the emerging middle class. In ASEAN and China alone, these two groups comprise 55% of the total labour force of 814m people. They saved approx. $505b in 2016, of which we estimate that $212b was in cash deposits.
Why are you running HelloGold on the Ethereum Blockchain over other similar technologies ?
HelloGold is using Ethereum as it is currently the most widely accepted platform that offers all the benefits of a blockchain (full traceability, non-repudiability etc.) and multiple source language implementations that encourage integration. Ethereum will handle only the parts needing consensus, transparency and accountability. Other services will continue to be provided using existing technology.
HelloGold needs a transactional blockchain with a powerful system of smart contracts which have the ability to ensure that a transaction can combine with the results of previous transactions to provide auditable consistent results. To date, Ethereum is the only stable system that has achieved widespread adoption. The decades of experience of our senior development team tell us to avoid anything experimental to run a live system.
Will you be expanding into other metals such as Silver?
Yes. We intend to create other real asset-backed tokens over the next 12 months.
What are you looking forward to in the blockchain space in 2018?
In HelloGold we are looking forward to moving our app backend onto the Ethereum network to provide our customers with greater security and transparency over their gold holding.
HelloGold intends to add different real asset backed tokens and providing more support to entities which support the twin objectives of 1) increasing mass market use of blockchain technology and 2) democratising access for the underserved and unbanked to financial products through the digitisation of these products.
Overall, we think that the blockchain space will continue to develop and mature through 2018. If the pace of change is as rapid as 2017, the industry will be significantly different at this time next year
With Bitcoin establishing its presence in the online gaming market, Tonybet.com started accepting deposits in digital currency.
An all-around online gaming site has announced it has partnered up with the SpectroCoin e-wallet to become one of the first recognised and well established gaming sites to accept Bitcoin. The site will allow its players to deposit and withdraw funds in Bitcoin, but will convert them to regular currencies while in-play – a feature absent from most sites accepting digital currencies.
The site officials said their intension was to make Tonybet more accessible to a wider range of potential players. However, the introduction of the new payment method had a bigger impact than they anticipated as a number or new signups went up.
Tonybet.com spokesman Warren Lush said: “We’re always keeping up with the latest digital innovations in order to adapt them to our online gaming platform. With the introduction of Bitcoin deposits we saw a dramatic increase in recreational punters and poker players especially from the Asian countries who have been struggling to transfer their funds before.”
“Another advantage of using Bitcoin for online gaming is that users can also speculate the exchange rates and earn extra. The fast and easy deposit and withdrawal process makes this an even more attractive feature. What’s more is that partnering up with SpectroCoin we not only opened our online sportsbook, casino and poker site to those who wanted to use their digital currency for online gambling, but also encouraged customers to exploit the advantages of using Bitcoin.”
TonyBet.com was founded in 2009 by world famous poker pro, businessman and politician Tony G. The company is now one of the fastest growing betting and online gaming companies in the world. For more information see Tonybet.com
SpectroCoin is an all-in-one solution for Bitcoin. Services offered include a wide range of Bitcoin solutions, from exchange to Bitcoin e-wallet. SpectroCoin builds its business policy on Bitcoin’s philosophy of making financing quicker, frictionless and flexible. The service provides a solution for each client’s needs instead of asking them to adapt to us. That includes every aspect of services, starting from the number of payout methods to the range of support languages available. For more information see Spectrocoin.com
CEX.io has announced the public beta of its US dollar fiat currency integration.
The new service will enable customers to deposit the US dollar currency through bank transfers or credit cards, the company hinted at the possibility of also including other currencies such as the Euro and GBP.
The integration is the latest announcement of many exciting changes at the exchange.
“Adding USD to CEX.IO gives us a strong push towards a full-operational exchange,” commented Jeffrey Smith, CIO of CEX.IO. “Now we are even more into targeting the mass market and opening simple ways for buying Bitcoin.”
CEX.io is also the operator of Ghash.io which currently manages one of the biggest mining pools, with that in mind the company is well on it’s way to take a huge chunk out of Coinbase and other leading exchanges in terms of orders.
The Dogecoin community was buzzing with creativity at this years CoinFest, all in the name of Shiba!
The world’s first automated Dogecoin teller machine was also on display at the the digital currency festival in Vancouver. Granted, it’s nothing more than a smartphone stuck to the front of a battered metal briefcase but it’s the taking part that counts.
Potential customers can simply scan the QR code, insert their money and boom! Dogecoins will be sent directly to your wallet. Is there anything technical going on inside the briefcase? Rumour has it Shiba herself is in there totting up the money.
Is it serious? We don’t think so, there’s no real marketplace for Dogecoin ATM’s, but it just goes to show how much love the community has for Shiba, “To the Moon!”.
Although Dogecoin is still seen as a gimmick by many, it’s hot on the heels of Bitcoin with coverage in the worlds media after financially backing the Jamaican Bobsled team who secured last place in the two-man Bobsleigh event at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
Unbound, a crowdfunding platform that connects budding authors with financial backers (predominantly book enthusiasts) has begun accepting pledges through Bitcoin.
Getting a book published is every author’s dream, but in today’s modern publishing environment it’s hard for aspiring writers to receive the financial backing they need unless the book is tied to a infamous celebrity or blockbuster.
Unbound makes it possible for any author to pitch their idea to future readers in the community who can can then pledge to back the book in return for a first edition and other goodies once published.
Kieran Topping, chief technical officer at Unbound explained in a blog post that whilst virtual currencies had their risks, this new technology can bring real benefits to the publishing world due to the zero risk of chargebacks and decreased transaction fees.
Our business is books. Books have the potential to change the world. So does Bitcoin.
The freedom to financially back a project can often be a problem for international residents due to various payment restrictions. Bitcoin makes it simple, fast and painless for people across the world to make this happen with the click of a button.
The platform also hosts a wide variety of topics and categories. For example, if cryptocurrencies are your cup of tea, comedian Dominic Frisby is currently seeking funds for his new book Bitcoin – the Future of Money?. The pitch has already received over 350 pledges, you can back it here.
Dogecoin has struck a chord with mainstream users in a way that focuses on charity rather than crypto-anarchy, making it so much more attractive .
The Dogecoin Foundation is a venture designed to help empower community spirit and improve the user experience… Users can donate to various causes and development projects and be sure that their coins are going to a legitimate fund.” –Dogecoin Mission Statement.
What does the future hold for Doge? It’s too early to project whether this phenomenon will ultimately burn out as people tire of the Doge meme, but we think you will want to be along for the ride. While the community has gained incredible momentum, for now, the crazy growth that has developed around it cannot be ignored. How do you ignore something who’s level of transactions has reached a number greater or equal to that of Bitcoin transactions ? (see link) The Dogecoin subreddit is 61k subscribers strong (Bitcoin is at 104k) and growing at least three times faster. In case anyone missed it, a strange thing that happened in mid-January was a spike in the coin, which was the direct result of the community raising $30k for a fellow group of misfits : the Jamaican bobsled team. For approximately one 24 hour period, the volume of Dogecoin actually eclipsed Bitcoin. “So amaze, Much riches” – in the words of fellow Reddit-ers.
I am sure as were many of you, the initial common reaction to the coin started with the typical “WTF, seriously?”. But Dogecoin has proven to posses something special: a group of incredible people enthusiastic about their cause and are truly having fun with a cryptocurrency.
It is almost a foregone conclusion that Dogecoin will eclipse Litecoin in market cap by the end of this year (if not by June). A key indicator that will draw many people in and should be mentioned is the significant mining capacity has moved from LTC to Doge. If you’re interested further, I encourage you to read Tuxedage in depth analysis of the coin- this guy moonlights as a comedian.
A question to ask is Dogecoin a threat to Bitcoin? Not at this moment, no, and perhaps it never will be. Today, the coin has a huge community and is under-invested in developers. But these things are reflexive; developers follow users, not vice versa.
In my personal opinion on Dogecoin is the only alt-coin that is essential to have your eye on for the time being.
Cryptocurrencies are currently faced with two big problems; merchant adoption and consumer trust. But one company bridging the gap is Pock.io.
Pock.io is a startup that aims to bring stability and validity to the industry by providing a service where consumers can purchase popular gift cards from stores such as Amazon and pay with Bitcoin, Litcoin, Peercoin, Dogecoin and Maxcoin.
The gift-card digital currency market is not entirely new, California based Gyft has been the market leader in the United States but has yet to provide a service to UK consumers, leaving the gates open for new businesses to capture this market place.
Currently the range of gift-cards that can be purchased through Pock.io is limited to Amazon, Apple, iTunes, Playstation, PSN Prepaid card, Xbox gifts & subscriptions but plans for getting more retailers on board are in place for 2014.
Due to government pressure The Bank of Montreal has decided to cease providing banking services for Bitcoin-related businesses.
Paul Szczesny, chief technology officer at Bitcoin exchange Cointrader was hastily informed by the bank that it’s services would no longer be provided due to a new initiative and comments made by the finance minister, Jim Fiherty. He recently stated that digital currencies could be a threat to the current financial sector in Canada.
The 2014 Canadian federal budget may be to blame for the recent change of stance on cryptocurrencies. Threats such as laundering money through Bitcoin were highlighted, although Cointrader was and still is complying with Fintrac regulations set by the bank.
The news is disheartening as The Bank of Montreal was recognised as the last Bitcoin friendly bank for businesses, but it’s safe to say it has now also crumbled under governmental pressure and has been forced to sever it’s crypto ties.
Cointrader is now seeking to relocate their operations to a non-biased financial jurisdiction to resume trading.
Bitcoin.co.th, Thailands leading Bitcoin exchange has resumed trading after a shakey six months.
The exchange shut its doors to customers last July due to a lack of financial legislation to govern the trading of cryptocurrencies. This resulted in government bodies deeming Bitcoin illegal.
Although the exchange has resumed trading, there’s no plain sailing just yet. The resume comes with restrictions that limit the exchange to trading Bitcoins to and from Thai Baht only.
Multiple sources have confirmed that The Bank of Thailand is liaising with Thailand’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Ministry of Finance, and the Securities and Exchange Commission Thailand before deciding the fate of the digital currency.
The progress is great news for cryptocurrencies in Asia and shows that the government along with the Bank of Thailand is working to embrace new technologies.