• Mike V.

Blockchain


IMF and World Bank Launch Educational Blockchain Token


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have launched a crypto token called “Learning Coin” to better understand how blockchain technology works. The two institutions said that the coin would have no monetary value and would not be made openly available, the Financial Times reported Saturday. To support the token, the IMF and the World Bank have also launched a private blockchain network. The project is aimed to build “a strong knowledge base” around blockchain technology among staff at the organizations.


The IMF said in the report:


“The development of crypto-assets and distributed ledger technology is evolving rapidly, as is the amount of information (both neutral and vested) surrounding it. This is forcing central banks, regulators and financial institutions to recognize a growing knowledge gap between the legislators, policymakers, economists and the technology.” Also launched as part of the token project is a Learning Coin app, allowing users to share content like blogs, research, videos and presentations. Staff at the organizations will also be able to “earn” coins for achieving certain educational milestones.

Microsoft, Ethereum Group Launch Token-Building Kit for Enterprises

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) and Microsoft have corralled the major blockchain providers behind a new project to help businesses design and create the right sort of crypto tokens for their particular needs. The EEA, which is focused on creating standards and specifications for business users interacting with ethereum technology, stressed it is merely the host for the so-called “Token Taxonomy Initiative,” an entirely catholic and technology-neutral project which crosses ethereum, Hyperledger, R3’s Corda and Digital Asset’s DAML. Members of the Token Taxonomy Initiative include Accenture, Banco Santander, Blockchain Research Institute, Clearmatics, ConsenSys, Digital Asset, EY, IBM, ING, Intel, J.P. Morgan, Komgo, Microsoft, R3, and Web3 Labs, among others. EEA executive director Ron Resnick explained that in essence, this is a composition framework which is open and accessible to technologists and non-technologists alike. It will comprise workshops as well as a GitHub repository where findings and test data can be linked to existing token implementations on various blockchain networks, said Resnick.


Coinbase And Visa Are Making Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple's XRP And Litecoin Payments A Reality


Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies, including ethereum, Ripple's XRP, and litecoin, have long struggled against accusations they are harder to spend and use in the real world than their traditional fiat counterparts. Now Coinbase has teamed up with global payments processor Visa to try to change that, launching the Coinbase Card which allows users to "spend crypto as effortlessly as the money in their bank." Coinbase users can choose which cryptocurrency is used on the card through a new app which supports all crypto assets available to buy and sell on the Coinbase platform. The app also offers instant receipts, transaction summaries, and spending categories, to help people keep track of their spending.


France Passes Bill to Allow Insurance Providers to Invest in Crypto and Tokens


French insurance markets can now invest in cryptocurrencies, following the passage of a new law. National Assembly of France adopted a bill that is designed to stimulate local business development, including redirecting savings from individuals to businesses. The act allows insurance providers in France to invest in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) with no limit on the amount of investment. A dual provision of the act enables insurers to invest in crypto through specialized professional funds, and allows them to offer life insurance policies exposed to crypto. The new measure will also impact professional capital investment funds.


Reuters: Big corporates back crypto 'plumbing' despite currency caution


Major finance and tech firms are pouring money into startups building technology to develop the crypto market. Venture capital investments in crypto and blockchain startups that included funds from corporates have raced to $850 million so far this year. The 13 deals put the flows on track for a second straight annual record. London Stock Exchange Group and Microsoft Corp, spiked over five-fold to a record $2.4 billion over 117 investments in 2018. Large companies see promise in the nascent technology. Firms are looking at how blockchain and related technologies can be used in ways that could spark deeper change, said Richard Hay, UK head of fintech at law firm Linklaters. “There are two dynamics at play,” he said. “We can get something up and running and achieve cost savings, and also look longer term at ways of deploying the technology in more transformative ways.”


Recent examples include a $20 million investment involving the London Stock Exchange and Banco Santander in a London startup whose platform can be used to issue debt on blockchain, the technology that underpins most digital coins. The investments span startups from makers of cryptocurrency mining gear and exchanges. One key driver is a growing expectation that the “tokenisation” of assets from stocks to oil - essentially digitizing them and allowing them to be traded on blockchain - will upend markets, lawyers and consultants working with fintech firms said. “People are really enamored by tokenisation - the ability to produce coins or other forms of value - so that’s where we see all of the action at the moment,” said Anton Ruddenklau, global co-head of fintech at KPMG. “They are investing as a technological hedge as much as anything.” Bakkt, a cryptocurrency trading platform founded last year by New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange Inc, raised in December over $180 million from investors including M12, Microsoft’s venture capital arm. The rush of corporate venture money comes as traditional venture capital (VC) investments also pour into the sector. Last year 617 deals totaled a record $5.6 billion worldwide, the data shows, as venture capitalists assess how the technologies will impact the online economy. “There is a huge experimentation in effectively the basic plumbing for a native economic layer to the web,” said Jamie Burke, CEO of Outlier Ventures, a fund that has led investment in around eight blockchain-related projects. San Francisco-based exchange Coinbase, valued at $8 billion, saw non-U.S. revenue grow 20 percent last year to 153 million euros ($173 million), a filing to Britain’s corporate registry last week showed. The exchange’s UK arm, which books the firm’s non-U.S. revenue, accounts for almost a third of the firm’s overall revenue. According to Reuters calculations, worldwide revenue of around $520 million last year - a rare glimpse into the financials of a cryptocurrency exchange.

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