• Mike V.

Blockchain


Square Is Hiring New Crypto Engineers And Wants to Pay Them in Bitcoin


Payments startup Square plans to hire a number of engineers and a designer to work on its crypto initiatives, according to tweets from CEO Jack Dorsey. Dorsey, who also founded and runs Twitter, announced Wednesday evening that Square plans to hire three or four engineers and one designer “to work full-time on open source contributions to the bitcoin/crypto ecosystem.” A Square spokesman said there was no additional information to share beyond the tweets. Perhaps more notably, these new hires have the option of being paid in bitcoin, Dorsey said. Dorsey added that improving the crypto ecosystem seems to be “the most impactful thing” Square can do for the community, going on to say: “Square has taken a lot from the open source community to get us here. We haven’t given enough back. This is a small way to give back, and one that’s aligned with our broader interests: a more accessible global financial system for the internet.”


Overstock’s tZERO Exchange to Launch Bitcoin Trading App This June


Until now, security tokens had been the startup’s priority, but this summer, tZERO plans to launch its own mobile trading app for buying and selling bitcoin and, possibly, ether, CEO Saum Noursalehi. The app for IOS and Android devices is scheduled to launch in June and is being developed by Bitsy — a crypto startup in the portfolio of Overstock’s venture arm Medici Ventures. “That’s part of the reason we acquired Bitsy — to accelerate time to market for our mobile app,” Noursalehi. The app will allow users to hold custody of their crypto without relying on a third party, and will plug into a network of exchanges through tZERO’s partner, institutional trading platform.

IBM Signs 6 Banks to Issue Stablecoins and Use Stellar’s XLM Cryptocurrency


Six international banks have signed letters of intent to issue stablecoins, or tokens backed by fiat currency, on World Wire, an IBM payment network that uses the Stellar public blockchain. The network promises to let regulated institutions move value across borders – remittances or foreign exchange – more quickly and cheaply than the legacy correspondent banking system. While only one of the banks was identified – Philippines-based RCBC, which will issue a stablecoin backed by that country’s Peso – the others, which are soon to be named, will offer digital versions of euros, Indonesian rupiah, Korean won and Brazilian reals, “pending regulatory approvals and other reviews,” IBM said. The network went live Monday, although while the banks await their regulators’ blessings, the one stablecoin running on World Wire at the moment is a previously announced U.S. dollar-backed token created by Stronghold, a startup based in San Francisco. “We say ‘limited production,’” said Jesse Lund, IBM’s head of blockchain for financial services, of the project’s status. Indeed, while Stronghold’s USD-backed coin currently serves as an on-ramp for greenbacks, there are as yet no pay-in/pay-out locations in the U.S. In this regard, IBM has received “a favorable verbal response” from U.S. regulators, said Lund. “So we are starting with markets that are outside of the U.S., but it won’t be long before we add U.S. as an operating endpoint. It will be sometime this year; we will get to it, third quarter, fourth quarter something like that,” he said. World Wire platform has payment locations in 72 countries, with 48 currencies and 46 “banking endpoints” (which include banks and money transmitters) where people can send or receive cash, said IBM.


UPS Integrates Blockchain Platform to Improve Merchant Supply Chains


American postal carrier UPS and e-commerce technology company Inxeption have jointly rolled out a blockchain-powered platform to improve merchant supply chains. The new blockchain platform dubbed Inxeption Zippy is designed to help companies list, market and distribute their products to customers. The platform enables merchants to monitor the entire supply chain from product listing to delivery, ensuring that sensitive data like contract-specific pricing and rates are only accessible to the buyer and seller. By using the platform, merchants will be able to upload product information, schedule orders, monitor returns, process transactions, and review sales and marketing analytics, among other services. Farzad Dibachi, CEO of Inxeption, said that the platform “creates simplified pricing solutions for B2B merchants with limited digital marketing and IT resources to easily manage all aspects of selling and shipping from one secure place.”


Banking Startup Launching Visa Card That Lets You Spend 7 Cryptos


Banking startup 2gether is launching a prepaid Visa debit card that allows users to spend cryptocurrencies. 2gether said customers will be able to use the card to pay with either euros or any of the following seven cryptocurrencies: bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), XRP, bitcoin cash (BCH), EOS, Stellar (XLM) and Litecoin (LTC). The card “instantly” converts the cryptos to fiat currency and can be used fee-free by customers in any of the 19 eurozone nations.

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