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President Trump refers to the Robert Mueller investigation again and again as a “witch hunt,” and it appears that a decent number of Americans agree with him. A poll by USA Today and Suffolk University finds that 50% of respondents agree with the president’s contention that he is the victim…
Indonesian unicorn Go-Jek has announced a partnership between the company’s payments platform, Go-Pay, and Filipino cryptocurrency wallet Coins.ph. Local media has reported that the deal will see Coins.ph continue to run as usual, despite Go-Jek now owning a majority stake in the company.
Go-Jek Announces Partnership With Coins.ph
Go-Pay, the payments platform of Indonesia’s largest on-demand service platform, Go-Jek, has announced that it has entered into a partnership with Filipino wallet provider Coins.ph.
While specific details regarding the deal have not been officially disclosed, Manila Standard reported that the deal will include a “substantial acquisition” of shares by Go-Jek, giving the country a majority stake in Coins.ph. Citing two undisclosed industry sources, Techcrunch has reported that the deal saw Go-Jek pay $ 72 million for the shares.
Launched in Jakarta in 2011, Go-Jek now comprises Indonesia’s largest on-demand multi-service platform, with Krasia estimating the company’s most recent funding round to have boosted Go-Jek’s valuation to between $ 8 billion and $ 10 billion. More than half of all transactions processed by Go-Jek are conducted through Go-Pay.
Coins.ph has grown to support a customer base of over 5 million in less than five years of operating, with the company claiming to have processed 6 million cryptocurrency transactions during the month of December 2018.
Many Filipinos Lack Access to Basic Financial Services
The two companies have their eyes set on the Filipino market, where 77 percent of adult citizens do not have bank accounts. While few citizens have access to financial services, nearly 70 percent of Filipino citizens use mobile phones – a confluence of demographics that many analysts believe makes the Filipino market ripe for widespread cryptocurrency adoption.
Ron Hose, the founder and chief executive officer of Coins.ph, stated: “In just a few years, our team has been able to build a scalable service extending financial services to millions of Filipinos … Together we have a tremendous opportunity and by leveraging Go-Jek’s resources and expertize, we can give Filipinos even more convenience, choice, and access to the services they want.”
Aldi Haryopratomo, the chief executive officer of Go-Pay, stated: “We are excited to work with Coins.ph, a company that shares our ethos of empowering communities by bringing more people into the digital economy. Consumer transaction behavior in Indonesia and Philippine share many similarities, and together with Coins.ph, we hope to have similar success in accelerating cashless payments in the Philippines.”
What is your response to Go-Jek’s acquisition of a majority stake in Coins.ph? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock
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Madison Holdings Group Ltd. has agreed to buy 67.2 percent of Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Bitocean for 1.68 billion yen ($ 15.12 million). Inclusive of fees, the wines and alcoholic beverages company will pay a total $ 30.12 million. According to local media reports, the deal is to be completed through a subsidiary, Madison Labs.
Acquisition to Diversify Operations and Expand Income Sources
Madison is an investment holding company popular for selling top-end French wines. The $ 546 million-valued company is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange’s Growth Enterprise Market (GEM), a junior segment of the bourse. The company also has interests in corporate finance activities, financial advisory services and asset management.
Bitocean is registered as a crypto exchange with Japan’s Financial Services Agency, but has not commenced trading yet. According to papers filed with GEM, sometime this month, Madison is buying the stake from “independent third parties,” in what management said was part of the company’s “diversification strategy.”
A report in the South China Morning Post (SCMP) also detailed plans by HDR Cadenza Management – a unit of HDR Global Trading, owners of crypto exchange Bitmex – to acquire a 51 percent stake in Madison Labs for $ 17.14 million. Both deals have yet to be closed. Raymond Ting Pang-wan, chairman of Madison, stated:
Our wine business is stable and profitable, but then it is small. It is hard to make wine trading into a very big business. This is why we have to diversify into financial technology and the cryptocurrency business – to achieve a better return for our shareholders. Virtual currencies and blockchain are getting more popular. Investing in the virtual currency sector will expand our income source.
Lured by Japan’s Robust Crypto Regulation
Pang-wan told SCMP that his company was not concerned about the current market slump, which has seen the price of bitcoin core (BTC) plummet by more than 80 percent from its December 2017 all-time-high of almost $ 20,000. “Bitcoin is cheap, which has created a good opportunity for us to enter the market. We are eyeing the long term, so we are not worried about short-term volatility,” he was quoted as saying.
He said the decision to enter Japan, which controls about a fifth of the global cryptocurrency trading total, was motivated by the existence of a comprehensive regulatory framework in the Pacific island nation. “We wanted to invest in a platform that was under proper regulation,” said Pang-wan.
Japan is building one of the strongest regulatory frameworks for the cryptocurrency industry, ostensibly to prevent cases of theft of investor funds. The $ 530 million Coincheck hack in January marked a crucial turning point in crypto regulation in the country. Today, Japan has the Virtual Currency Exchange Association, a self-regulatory body, while exchanges applying for a license with the Financial Services Authority have to go through a rigorous verification process.
According to the SCMP report, Gary Cheung Wai-kwok, chairman of the Hong Kong Securities Association, said: “This is a small investment for the company (Madison), so it will not take too big a risk. It makes sense for the company to diversify its business to achieve higher income.”
What do you think about Madison’s deals with Bitocean and Bitmex? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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The post Wine Retailer to Buy Majority Stake in Japanese Bitcoin Exchange for $ 30M appeared first on Bitcoin News.
President Trump on Wednesday reiterated that he won’t release his personal or Trump Organization’s tax returns until the review of them is completed.
Disney appears to gain a friendly majority in Anaheim City Council. The ‘living wage’ initiative is still too close to callNovember 8, 2018 | dailybusinessnews
After butting heads for two years with the Anaheim City Council, Walt Disney Co. appears to have won a favorable majority on the panel as candidates backed by the media giant were well ahead in a wide field of hopefuls.
Three City Council candidates, including the mayor, who received campaign support…
One of the central pillars of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general is that the system is decentralized, ensuring no single point of failure for adversaries to attack. However, new research has found the majority of assets in the ecosystem today to be highly centralized.
Taxonomy Report Reveals a Concentration of Crypto Power
Cryptocompare, the cryptocurrency market data aggregator, has published a Cryptoasset Taxonomy Report. The nearly 80-page document is designed to provide investors, regulators and the industry with an independent classification of coins and tokens to help differentiate from a long list of ever-growing options.
The report is based on an analysis of over 200 crypto assets, using more than 30 attributes and covering a range of economic, legal and technological features. Researchers analyzed these assets from a variety of perspectives including regulatory classifications, access and governance, market cap and volume data, level of decentralization, and distribution and supply concentration.
Charles Hayter, CEO of Cryptocompare, said: “Daily, retail and institutional investment communities express an appetite to invest and develop investment products and instruments based on crypto assets. Key to this is the demand for a single, independent and trustworthy taxonomy offering transparency, consistency and confidence.”
Just 16% of Cryptocurrencies Are Really Decentralized
In the section on centralization and counter-party, the report identifies how regulators might approach their decision as to whether an asset is centralized and thus possibly deemed a security. A fundamental point the researchers found is that decentralized and open source projects may not rely on a central issuer. Using this distinction, the taxonomy has explored the extent to which crypto assets are de facto decentralized.
The results of this analysis are quite disappointing for cryptocurrency proponents. Just 16% of crypto assets were found to be truly decentralized, with 55% categorized as centralized and the rest as semi-decentralized. Even just looking at payment tokens, defined as assets intended to provide a means of payment or value exchange which do not confer any claims upon the issuer, just 37% were found to be decentralized.
Do you think decentralization matters with cryptocurrencies, and if so, to what extent? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Cryptocompare.
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The US remains a leading destination for ICO projects according to a new study that also ranks Switzerland and Singapore in the top three. The report notes that authorities in other jurisdictions, like Russia and Estonia, are working to adopt favorable regulations in order to attract more crypto startups. The findings coincide with another study identifying 78% of all ICOs as scams.
A Third of the Largest ICOs Held in the US
Despite regulatory uncertainty, the United States has established itself as the leading destination for companies conducting Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), a new study confirms. According to the recently published report, 30 of the 100 largest token sales were held by companies based in the US. The data compiled by the team of the Crypto Finance Conference places Switzerland second with 15 ICOs, and Singapore third with 11 of the biggest coin offerings.
“ICOs continue to gain momentum. They raised $ 6.3 billion in the first quarter of 2018 — more than was raised in all of 2017,” said the chief executive of CFC, Andrea-Franco Stöhr, quoted by Venture Beat. In a released statement, he also commented that the research provides an opportunity to understand which countries are embracing blockchain and crypto projects and how they do it.
The authors of the study also note that a number of countries are making efforts to adopt and implement regulations that would attract and encourage more initial coin offerings. The Russian Federation, which hosted six of the top 100 projects, is one of them. Another report published earlier this year claimed that startups with Russian participation raised $ 310 million. That study covered a total of 370 token sales.
The other nation that has been mentioned in the study as a crypto-friendly jurisdiction is Estonia, with four of the largest ICOs. According to some reports, the tiny Baltic country accounts for up to 10% of all funds raised through initial coin offerings last year.
78% of ICO Projects Identified as Scams
Despite two recent studies suggesting investors are still bullish on ICOs, a research conducted by the Boston College revealed that less than half of ICOs survive four months after sale. Now, another study, authored by the research company Satis Group, tells us that a staggering 78% of all coin offerings conducted last year have turned out to be scams. These ICOs promised big profits but shared very little information about the project and the team behind it or didn’t even publish a white paper. Most of them disappeared right after the token sale.
The updated data in the “Cryptoasset Market Coverage Initiation: Network Creation” report, released last week, also shows that 4% of the ICO projects have failed to meet their fundraising targets and have returned the capital to the investors. Another 3% were never listed on a trading platform. Only 15% of the coins sold through ICOs continued to be listed and traded on exchanges. Of those currently trading, 7% are deemed ‘successful’, 3% are said to be ‘promising’, and 4% are tagged ‘dwindling’.
It’s been estimated that of the $ 12 billion raised by ICOs, $ 1.3 billion (11%) was lost to scams, $ 1.7 billion (14%) disappeared in failed projects, and $ 624 million (5%) went to those that had gone dead. However, more than 70%, or $ 8 billion USD, went to ICOs that eventually reached exchanges. According to the study, most of the funds appropriated by scams were invested in three projects. These are Pincoin ($ 660 million), Arisebank ($ 600 million) and Savedroid ($ 50 million).
Do you think the regulatory efforts in many jurisdictions will decrease the number of fraudulent ICOs? Share your expectations in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Satis Group.
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More than two thirds of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet providers on both sides of the Atlantic fail to conduct proper identity verification checks. According to new research into their onboarding practices, most of the studied platforms do not meet the requirements of the upcoming regulations under the updated EU anti-money laundering directive.
‘Crypto Identity Crisis’
The research, titled “The Cryptocurrency Identity Crisis: An Industry Scorecard for Digital ID Verification for KYC and AML”, looked into the onboarding practices of leading cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet providers in Europe and the US. Its main goal was to determine whether these prominent platforms implement proper Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures regarding new users. The study was conducted by P.A.ID Strategies and commissioned by Mitek, a provider of digital identity verification solutions.
The results show that 68% of 25 examined crypto exchanges and custodian wallets allow users to trade crypto and fiat currencies without conducting formal identification. These companies do not meet many of the requirements mandated by the upcoming EU regulations. They are not performing identity verification checks against official identity documents and lists of politically exposed persons. There is no sanctions screening or audit trail to trace criminal activity.
The EU’s fifth anti-money laundering directive, AMLD5, is due to come into effect next year. It is expected to bring crypto-related services in line with the standards applied to other financial products such as those offered by banks. That includes mandatory identity checks on new customers like those conducted by traditional financial institutions.
The European Parliament adopted the European Commission’s proposal for a Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive on April 19 this year. The document aims to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing through the financial system of the European Union. It was proposed by the Commission in 2016, even before AMLD4 was implemented by all member-states. The updated directive introduces stricter requirements for customer due diligence procedures and identity verification.
Exchanges and Wallets Ranked
Under the new rules, cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet providers will be obliged to apply for registration. The platforms in the study have been ranked according to how compliant their onboarding process is with the AMLD5 provisions.
Topping the list are exchanges like Coinbase, Gemini, Poloniex, and Itbit. All these require users to present official ID documents to begin trading. They have received an “ID Verification Score” of 9 out of 10. Platforms like Kraken, Bitstamp, Wirex, Local Bitcoins, Bitpanda, and Bitwala are also included in the survey.
A verified email address and a mobile phone number are often enough to sign up for the exchanges and wallets that do not have KYC procedures. The researchers note that both are easily obtainable without identification. Users can start trading with any email address and a number from a prepaid cell phone service.
“Cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges want to enjoy the same trust as the wider traditional financial services,” said John Devlin, Principal Analyst at P.A.ID Strategies, quoted by Real Wire. “Meeting regulatory demands ahead of AMLD5 coming into force could go a long way to changing this sector’s reputation as being something of a ‘wild west’,” he added.
Mitek COO Kalle Marsal believes that crypto exchanges and wallet providers want to change the “perceptions of lawlessness,” which in his words is a relatively straightforward fix. “Identity verification processes can be, if implemented correctly, simple for the customer and no barrier to signing up,” he argued.
Do you expect exchanges and wallets to comply with the stricter EU regulations? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Walmart has reached a deal to sell a majority of its Brazil operations to private-equity firm Advent International, as the global retail giant scales operations in markets where it has struggled.
WSJ.com: US Business