Tether Interview (spoiler: they ignored us)

With the recent media controversy surrounding Tether we reached out to the team with 13 interview questions at the start of December, heres what they had to say ( more precisely didn’t say):

  • The UK government along with banks have been very strict and often reluctant to provide any banking solution to crypto related businesses, often forcing them to look to places like Poland. How do you plan to tackle this with the GBP Tether plans?

Failed to respond.

  • Do you have a approximate date for when the JPY and GBP Tether currencies will be available?

Failed to respond.

  • Matthew Leising in a recent Bloomberg article was concerned about whether the exact amount of Tether ration exists 1-1 dollars within a bank?

Failed to respond.

  • Oguz Serdar claims Tether will not allow him to exchange his $1 million worth of Tether for US dollars and that Tether refused to disclose the bank Tether held the funds in. To avoid confusion how do you respond to this as various sources are claiming that Tether have issued more tokens than it has assets for, which of course is a great concern for those wanting to start using Tether.

Failed to respond.

  • People are very concerned about the link between Bitfinex and Tether, more specifically Phil Potter’s/ Giancarlo Devasini role as per the connection found in the Paradise Paper’s leak. Can you comment on this?

Failed to respond.

  • Bitfinex has hired a law firm to counter claims which you say are untrue regarding the Bitfinex/ Tether connection. Can you elaborate on this?
    Is it possible/ likely that you will be more open/ provide evidence of where funds are held to calm investor concerns?

Failed to respond.

  • When will the full audit of Tether’s assets be available to the public?
    Will you be launching on any exchanges in the future?

Failed to respond.

  • Your recent audit by Friedman LLP has been discredited by many. What have you learnt from this and how to you plan to overcome the naysayers?
    What are Tether’s plans for 2018?

Failed to respond.

  • Do you have any update on the recent “$30,950,010 USDT Tether hack? Are authorities any closer to resolving this?

Failed to respond.

  • Can you provide more information on how Tethers are created. Specifically what determines the creation volume. For example what prompted the creation of $70 million Tethers in Early September?

Failed to respond.

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British banks strangle UK crypto-startups

bitcoinDo British banks fear cryptocurrency startups?

We asked Santander, Barclays, the RBS, Metro Bank, Halifax, Standard Chartered, HSBC for their side of the story.

The UK’s financial service sector adds more than £6.6 billion into the economy each year, employing hundreds of thousands of people. The City of London and Canary Wharf are often portrayed as the hub of fintech, with many of the world’s biggest financial firms operating there. With such an influential and active global presence one might think Britain would be at the forefront of blockchain innovation and adoption. Unfortunately the reality is quite the opposite, with banks demonstrating cartel-like behaviour and overplaying the money laundering card to actively discredit and cut off these startups.

With the recent exponential growth of blockchain technology, many of these startups are seeking to create innovative financial products by mixing old money with new − and this means obtaining a bank account like any other business. Unfortunately, in the UK, adoption has been thwarted at every turn by the country’s banking elite, often forcing these firms to seek banking partnerships elsewhere in Europe, such as in Poland, Bulgaria, Latvia and Estonia, and thus the startups often end up based in those countries too.

Blockchain is undoubtedly one of the most exciting technologies of our time and it will probably change the world we live in by redefining and streamlining every industry, be that through global distributed ledgers, smart-contract-based automation or even global collaborative systems and resource sharing. Some examples include:

  • charities using blockchain technology to provide transparent processing of donations/aid relief,
  • green energy startups using blockchain to offer transparent, distributed peer-to-peer energy, resulting in a national grid that allows anybody to generate, sell and consume energy,
  • medical research institutions that use the technology to harness, combine and manage computing power. This allows anybody to donate their idle laptop/computing power to a distributed network to help process things such as misfolding and protein aggregation, to help find cures for Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, cystic fibrosis etc.

Where does the government stand on this?

Earlier this year even HM Treasury’s special envoy for fintech, Eileen Burbidge, said:

“The UK is already the best place in the world to start, grow and scale a FinTech company”.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said:

“The FinTech sector is one of our fastest growing sectors, adding more than £6.6 billion into the UK’s economy and attracting more than £500 million of investment.”

And yet, despite these boasts from the UK government, the country’s own banks downplay and stigmatise the technology and refuse to service any crypto-related companies.

It’s a Catch-22 situation: on the one hand you have the UK government harping on about fintech and IoT while, on the other hand, British banks, supported by the government, are flat-out refusing to work with such companies by denying them basic access to services such as bank accounts without any justifiable reason.

Her Majesty’s Treasury is reluctant to intervene in any banking decisions, stating:

“Which businesses banks choose to offer services to is a commercial decision for each individual bank and the Government does not seek to intervene in these decisions.”

“The Government encourages banks to take a risk-based approach in their management of money laundering and terrorism financing risk, to ensure that the measures they take are proportionate and effectively mitigate the risks that they face.”

“We recognise the significant benefits that virtual currencies and the related technologies could bring, as well as the potential risks such as money laundering and terrorist financing.”

It would appear that change is on the horizon, as the Financial Conduct Authority, which operates independently of the UK government and regulates the financial industry, carried out sandbox testing with blockchain firms.

Following a feasibility report in 2015, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) established a regulatory sandbox, which enables financial firms to test innovative products, services and business models in a live market environment while adhering to appropriate safeguards. But, unfortunately, multiple participants in the sandbox programme, the aim of which was to create innovative services with distributed ledger technology (DLT) were given “blanket refusals” from banks and “denial of banking services”. Furthermore, even individual enthusiasts exploring blockchain technologies have been penalised and deterred through bank account closures and warnings.

Due to the reluctance of banks to open accounts for cryptocurrency-related firms, the FCA is concerned about banks hindering competition, especially after many banks flat-out refused several start-ups entering the FCA’s sandbox programme to test their business models under its guidance.

The government is essentially taking a backseat in the matter and giving banks free reign on blockchain adoption, or rather the lack thereof.

“We are concerned that denying certain customers bank accounts on a wholesale basis causes significant barriers to entry and could lead to poor competition in certain markets,” said the FCA.

“We work to ensure that the UK financial system is a hostile environment for money launderers. However, we are clear that effective money laundering risk management need not result in wholesale de-risking, and are aware of the risks this may pose to innovation and competition and intend to continue our focus on this issue,” said the FCA.

Speaking to the Financial Times, James Godfrey, head of capital markets at BlockEx, said:

“Nobody will give us a bank account in the UK.”

“Having [Bank of England governor] Mark Carney standing at the front of the shop and saying ‘raa, raa, fintech’ just doesn’t do it for me.” James continued to say that London-based Metro Bank shut its UK account, forcing it to rely on a lender in Bulgaria.

We reached out to the Bank of England for a comment on this, and they said:

“We do not have a comment for you on this issue.”

We spoke to Jamie McNaught, founder of Solidi, a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange based in the UK:

“Our cryptocurrency exchange has implemented some of the most advanced AML and fraud detection systems in the industry; this has resulted in our fraud rate being below £3 per £1,000,000, much lower than card fraud statistics.”

“Multiple banks have refused our banking applications without a plausible reason; this is not just a problem for blockchain startups but also other innovative products in fintech. We are even part of the FCA Sandbox programme and with this accolade we’re still having little success with banks.”

We spoke to Marc Warne, the founder and CEO of Bittylicious:

“I can confirm the banks have remained hostile for the last five years; there are no crypto-companies allowed to open bank accounts in the UK [including those selling or operating ATMs].”

“Bittylicious and other companies in London regularly have meetings with representatives from the FCA to see if there is any power to change this – it’s a slow process but we’re trying hard.”

“The government is encouraging technology like this but the UK only has five real banks: they appear to have the same policies and block our industry quite easily.”

“Some exchanges are using banks on the continent too − it’s expensive and a waste of money, but there are ways around this.”

Jesse Powell, CEO and co-founder of Kraken Digital Asset Exchange:

“There are banks that see bitcoin and digital assets as an innovation they want to explore and leverage for good. These are the banks we choose as our partners. We choose to partner with the banks that are courageous enough and have the foresight to see opportunity and possibility in what’s new and different.”

UK Finance

What is UK Finance? It represents nearly 300 of the leading firms providing finance, banking, markets and payments-related services in or from the UK. They said:

“We can’t comment on individual banks and their activity.”

We contacted Santander, Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Metro Bank, Halifax, Standard Chartered and HSBC, among others.

Here’s what they had to say:

HSBC

“HSBC is monitoring the development of virtual and digital currencies such as Bitcoin as well as regulations governing their use. In countries where use of virtual currencies is permitted by the authorities, we expect any customer transacting in them to comply with all applicable laws and regulations, just as they would for transactions denominated in traditional legal tender. HSBC does not process virtual currency payments and we do not bank virtual currency exchanges.”

Santander

“As an innovative bank, we are interested in new technology and emerging currencies. In line with our regulatory obligations and industry best practice, any company, big or small, will be risk assessed when applying to open an account with us.”

“Santander is a supporter of new businesses and start-ups in the UK and across the globe, making significant investments through our venture capital, Santander Innoventures fund, based in London.”

Royal Bank of Scotland

Failed to respond to our enquiries.

Metro Bank

“We review all applications on a case-by-case basis.”

Halifax

Failed to respond to our enquiries.

Bank of Ireland

We are not in a position to comment.

Standard Chartered

Failed to respond to our enquiries.

Lloyds Bank

Failed to respond to our enquiries.

Co-operative Bank

“The Bank has been through a recapitalisation exercise as we look to rebuild our business, and our strategy is to focus on becoming a smaller retail and SME bank. As such, more specialist areas of finance and banking is not part of our current strategy, which includes new sectors such as blockchain at this moment in time,” said Paul Lawler, Head of Values & Ethics and Communications.

Yorkshire Building Society

Failed to respond to our enquiries.

Deutsche Bank

Failed to respond to our enquiries.

Conclusion

Based on the findings of the FCA, it would appear that some banks have been complicit in anti-competitive practices. The law states that businesses can be fined up to 10% of their worldwide turnover and sued for damages if they are found to be involved in anti-competitive activities. It’s been widely said that the larger banks have formed a “cartel” to block out crypto-businesses.

Hostility has been ripe for many years now (we covered the same issue back in 2014) and yet nearly four years on nothing has changed, with mainstream banks continuing to suffocate blockchain companies across all sectors.

What has changed, however, is the flexible and adaptive nature of some smaller banks in Europe that have started to embrace crypto-businesses. If things continue as they are over the next ten years we will probably see London lose its fintech crown to a more blockchain-friendly country somewhere in Europe.

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Steam drops Bitcoin support

Washington-base game developer and distribution company Valve will cease to accept Bitcoin as a valid payment method on Steam due to high transaction fees but. The outfit may re-evaluate in the future.

In a blog post today, Valve said “Steam will no longer support Bitcoin as a payment method on our platform due to high fees and volatility in the value of Bitcoin.”

When the firm started accepting Bitcoin sometime ago the network transaction fees was roughly $0.20, in recent days this has reached around $20 making the purchase of games extremely expensive.

Back in April 2016 Valve partnered with BitPay to utilise their payment gateway enabling customers to pay in Bitcoin. They hoped it would provide a fast, cheap and alternative solution for emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil with no risk of chargeback fraud that comes with card payments. Fast forward today it has become the complete opposite in terms of the currency becoming an overly expensive method of payment.

Valve are stating they have no control over transaction fees due to BitPay automatically presetting them when generating invoices, which are automatically adjusted depending on network congestion.

“When checking out on Steam, a customer will transfer x amount of Bitcoin for the cost of the game, plus y amount of Bitcoin to cover the transaction fee charged by the Bitcoin network,” the company said. “The value of Bitcoin is only guaranteed for a certain period of time so if the transaction doesn’t complete within that window of time, then the amount of Bitcoin needed to cover the transaction can fluctuate considerably. This value has been increasing significantly.”

“At this point, it has become untenable to support Bitcoin as a payment option,” Valve said. “We may re-evaluate whether Bitcoin makes sense for us and for the Steam community at a later date.”

Valve added support for Steam purchases with bitcoin in 2016 as part of a partnership with company Bitpay.

In the last few months alone Blockchain technology has rapidly advanced with newer technologies, Valve may look into Ethereum which would offer a faster checkout process.

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Old money meets new: Revolut merges mobile banking with crypto trading

London-based mobile banking outfit Revolut is merging traditional day-to-day fiat spending with digital currencies, enabling customers to buy, sell, trade and hold cryptocurrencies including Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin in 130 currencies in what the firm claims to be a world first.

Aiming to fill the void between digital currencies and old money, customers who have an debit card attached to their Revolut account can purchase goods in real time and have the funds deducted from their accounts in fiat or crypto. More importantly small transactions such as paying for groceries at the supermarket, parking etc are encouraged and work seamlessly at very reasonable rates.

Now, spending Bitcoin with a debit card is nothing new, firms such as Xapo, CEX and CryptoPay have been providing this for some time. The key difference with Revolut is that customers are now be able to tap into extremely low exchange rates resulting in ‘fee-free’ transactions with real exchange rates in over 130 currencies.

Revolut also removes the inconsistencies associated with Bitcoin/ fiat conversions which can be time consuming and expensive, particularly when the exchange is operating in other jurisdictions. These exchanges charge anywhere from 5 percent to 10 percent per transaction whilst Revolut offers a fixed fee of just 1.5 percent.

Revolut’s platform launch comes as Bitcoin continues to blow past ATH’s like $10,000, fight for its legitimacy in the eyes of mainstream users and governments and prepares for futures trading this month. With the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) approving Bitcoin futures, cryptocurrencies has grown up considerably since their less stellar dark web days and with services like Revolut now available are ready for mass adoption.

“Despite being one of the hottest trends in the world right now, getting exposure to cryptocurrency has notoriously been time-consuming and expensive,” Storonsky writes.

Nikolay Storonsky, the CEO of Revolut said at this years Techcrunch Disrupt conference in Berlin that users will be able to access the new cryptocurrency trading features on the app from this Thursday.

The company has an excellent track record when it comes to saving customers millions on foreign exchange fees, citing more than $160 million in customer savings since launch. The app is currently servicing over 1,000,000 users in Europe and is growing exponentially and now the company ready to roll out its mobile banking to the masses.

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Introducing ‘petro’ – A new oil-backed cryptocurrency being launched by Venezuela

In a daring attempt to boost Venezuela’s economy, the country’s president Nicolas Maduro has announced the introduction of a new cryptocurrency which will be backed-up by Venezuela’s oil reserves.

The currency, which is imaginatively called ‘petro’, was announced by the left-leaning leader on Sunday with an emphatic statement of “the 21st century has arrived.”

Critics may point to the lack of specifics in regard to how this cryptocurrency will function, but nonetheless, President Maduro was adamant that it will be a success during this televised statement.

During the broadcast, he added that “Venezuela will create a cryptocurrency” which will be backed by their natural reserves of oil, gas, gold and diamonds.

The president also referred to the US-led sanctions currently in place and how petro will help his country “make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade.”

The announcement wasn’t met with universal acclaim however, with political opposition stating that such an act will have to overcome copious amounts of red tape before it becomes official.

oil gas
The “petro,” a cryptocurrency backed by oil, gas, gold, and diamond reserves.

This move further indicates that the sanctions towards Maduro’s government that were put in place by Pres. Trump’s administration earlier this year are hurting Venezuela’s economy. Those moves from the USA include sanctions on officials from the country, PDVSA executives and Venezuela’s debt issuance.

The bolivar, which is the current currency in the country, is at a weak point and the country is struggling to move money through international banks.

Optimism regarding President Maduro’s move has been muted, for many reasons, including his poor economic record.

The bolivar has been on a constant slide as of late, with government controls and the over printing of currency leading to a depreciation rate against the dollar of almost 60 per cent during the last month.

Poverty stricken natives aren’t overly positive about this announcement either, as many think that Maduro’s decisions are creating a complete economic bust.

Economist and opposition lawmaker Angel Alvarado told Reuters that his opinion of the president does not amount to much, adding: “It’s Maduro being a clown. This has no credibility.”

Fellow opposition lawmaker Jose Guerra added to the dissenting voices, telling Reuters that he can’t envisage any future for the cryptocurrency.

However, President Maduro has stated that he is trying his utmost to fight for his country in a monetary “war”.

The recent surge in other digital currency’s value (especially Bitcoin) have without a doubt influenced Maduro’s decision to make this move. Relations between Venezuela and the USA will most likely to continue to be tense, as Maduro looks for alternatives to boost his country’s economy.

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Block Asset Management launches world’s first crypto fund of funds

Block Asset Management has launched what is recognised as the world’s first cryptocurrency and blockchain ‘fund of funds’.

Led by Manuel E De Luque Muntaner and Kevin Ballard, the firm was founded earlier this year. The team of financial experts contribute over 100 years of experience in a variety of banking, asset, fund and compliance industries.

The fund offers investors hassle free investment across a highly sought after portfolio of cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects which are strategically chosen and have a combined AUM exceeding $500m.

“After a year of global market research, we realised that interest in the blockchain/crypto space is extremely high”, said founder and COO, Kevin Ballard.

“We knew that many funds exist in the crypto space, but most would clearly not pass any comprehensive, serious due diligence. However, relying on Block Asset Management’s team, we successfully completed months of extensive analysis of dozens of funds and eventually approved the best funds for inclusion in our fund”, said De Luque Muntaner, Block Asset Management’s CEO.

Investor demand in combination with early stage adoption of blockchain technology is what Block Asset Managment believe will dramatically increase its portfolios value.

The Fund’s management company, Block Asset Management S.à.r.l., is domiciled in Luxembourg and registered with the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF).

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Bitcoin surges to record high after developers halt SegWit2x proposal

  • Bitcoin was scheduled to upgrade mid November following SegWit2x proposal
  • Major bitcoin developers dropped their support for the upgrade
  • Developers behind SegWit2x announced today they are calling off plans

The Bitcoin block size increase has been suspended after the organisers behind the scaling proposal called off the attempt earlier today.

The news surged Bitcoin to a record high of $7737 with altcoins also seeing a rise in price.

segwit2x bitcoin

Mike Belshe, the CEO of BitGo who was one of the leaders of the SegWit2x proposal announced today that the proceeding could divide the Bitcoin community and set back its growth.

“Unfortunately, it is clear that we have not built sufficient consensus for a clean blocksize upgrade at this time. Continuing on the current path could divide the community and be a setback to Bitcoin’s growth. This was never the goal of Segwit2x.”

You can read the full email here.

Segwit2x gained early support from startups and mining pools who seeked to increase the block size this month.

The email was also signed by other notable figures pushing for Swgwit2x – Mike Belshe, Wences Casares, Jihan Wu, Jeff Garzik, Peter Smith and Erik
Voorhees.

Although the increase has been halted for now, the group aims to increase the block size at a later date with more support.

Did you miss the news as it broke? Monitor the Bitcoin news as it happens using our real-time app.

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Interview with HelloGold CEO Robin Lee: Bringing Blockchain and Gold to millions of people across Asia.

Robin Lee CEO Hello Gold

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:

Transparency

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.

Security

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.

Access

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

HelloGold App Google Play:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hellogold.app&hl=en

HelloGold App Store:

https://itunes.apple.com/my/app/hellogold/id1193095204

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How many Bitcoins for a Pizza? Papa John’s now accepting Bitcoin

Pizza delivery restaurant chain Papa John’s now offers customers the option to pay using Bitcoin at their Manchester City Centre store.

The American based company operates as a franchise so it’s not yet clear if other franchisees are rolling out the new payment method but this is definitely a promising start.

This isn’t the first time Papa John’s and pizza made the headlines, back in 2010 a developer named Laszlo Hanyecz purchased two Pizzas in exchange for 10,000 Bitcoins which was worth just $25 at the time but at todays exchange rate $70 million dollars!

The price of one Bitcoin is now around $7,000 or £5411.

If you fancy paying for your next Margarita in Bitcoin then head down to Papa John’s on Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5AN.

papa johns bitcoin manchester
Credit Source: Twocanpocket
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Energy giants BP and Dutch Shell join forces to develop blockchain energy trading platform

BP and Royal Dutch Shell have today formed a consortium with various other energy companies to develop a blockchain-backed trading platform for commodities.

Expected to launch by the end of 2018 the platform will significantly help cut costs in oil trading and streamline various aspects of the industry including the replacement of paper contracts. Swiss based commodity trading firm Mercuria also joined today has long been an advocate of paperless contracts.

Other members of the consortium include ABN Amro, Norwegian oil firm Statoil, Koch Supply & Trading, trading house Gunvor, ING and Societe Generale.

“I am very excited about this initiative,” said Anthony van Vliet, ING’s Global Head of Trade and Commodity Finance, “Marquee brands and competitors in the energy, trade and banking industry sharing one vision gives us a great opportunity to transform processing in the energy trade commodity sector”

In a statement, the consortium expressed a desire to see this form of trading replace traditional methods: “Over time, the new venture intends to lead the migration of all forms of energy transaction data to the blockchain, improving data quality, further strengthening security and increasing the speed of settlements industry-wide, while reducing the cost for industry participants.”

The new venture is seeking regulatory approvals and would be run as an independent entity, the consortium said in a statement.

Other companies trying to revolutionise the energy sector with Blockchain technology are Grid+ which has so far raised 38,000 Ether and PowderLedger whose ICO has not ended raising $13 million dollars.

With increased transparency and independence from central government blockchain technologies are slated to revolutionise the energy industry for both consumers and producers.

In January, IBM and Samsung unveiled an early platform for controlling connected devices based on a blockchain concept called ADEPT. This platform uses software developed on the Ethereum blockchain that authenticates “smart contracts” that represent micro-transactions between appliances within a home to enable them to react autonomously and instantaneously to varying conditions.

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