Category Archive : Blockchain News

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Largest Japanese Consulting Firm to Launch New Cryptocurrency Index

Leading Japanese consulting firm Nomura Research Institute (NRI) partnered with cryptocurrency investment solution provider Intelligence Unit (IU) to launch a tradable cryptocurrency index.

According to a press release published on Jan. 29, the new index’s name is NRI/IU Crypto-Asset Index and it is meant for use by financial institutions. The index also draws data from crypto index platform MVIS and major cryptocurrency data platform CryptoCompare.

The dedicated website explains that the index is meant to cover global crypto markets in U.S. dollars and Japanese yen by tracking the largest cryptocurrencies. The index was designed for Japanese institutional investors with consideration for local availability and custody solutions.

A tradable index tracking five top cryptos

The NRI/IU Crypto-Asset Index is rebalanced monthly and tracks the performance of a pre-defined basket of crypto assets and will be tradable in dollars and yen on NRI’s platform. The index includes Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and XRP. IU CEO Akihiro Niimi commented on the launch:

“Strong demand from institutional investors is contributing to the growth of crypto-asset funds, and well-diversified products like index funds are attractive as alternative investments.”

Backtested performance statistics shown on the website claim that the year-to-date performance is 33.91%, the one-year performance is 104.86% and the three-year return is 2,211.26%. 

NRI is an affiliate of Japanese financial services giant Nomura Holdings, which has embraced blockchain technology and offers several services related to crypto assets. In October 2019, Nomura Holdings and popular Japanese messaging app Line announced a final capital alliance agreement focused on blockchain technology. 

In May 2018, Nomura rolled out cryptocurrency custodial services at its banks. The custody service aimed to address a perceived shortage of “safekeeping solutions” which were preventing traditional asset managers from building investment vehicles in the crypto ecosystem, according to Nomura. 

Crypto derivatives are on the rise

As cryptocurrencies become ever-more-widely recognized as an asset class, an increasing number of firms are developing derivatives giving exposure to their price fluctuations. As Cointelegraph reported last week, Swiss cryptocurrency financial firm Amun AG launched an exchange-traded product giving investors inverse exposure to Bitcoin on leading Swiss Exchange SIX.

Still, while many claim that there is a clear demand for cryptocurrency derivatives, recent statistics may show otherwise. As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, little more than a month after their launch, Bitcoin options contracts on the Intercontinental Exchange’s digital asset platform Bakkt appear to have seen sluggish uptake, with no new trades occurring over the past 11 days.

swiss-firm-poised-to-launch-compliant-ipo-on-ethereum-blockchain

Swiss Firm Poised to Launch Compliant IPO on Ethereum Blockchain

Swiss regulators have given the go-ahead for what is purportedly the country’s first fully compliant initial public offering (IPO) on a blockchain.

Swiss blockchain firm Overture will launch a compliant IPO and offer ordinary class-A shares natively on the Ethereum blockchain, using smart contracts provided by Zug-based EURO DAXX (the European Digital Assets Exchange), a Jan. 29 press release reveals.

A blockchain-native approach to securities offerings

Overture and its financial advisory firm, Andriotto Financial Services, said that the new venture is set apart from other security offerings in that:

“The company has approved the first Swiss articles of incorporation that directly states the digital nature of the shares (tokens) and the use of the blockchain as the technology to keep the shareholders registry […] transfer of the company ownership can be achieved only with a transfer of the tokens on the blockchain and only the ownership of the token can give the status of shareholder.”

Deploying blockchain technology in this manner can boost efficiency in capital markets, they claim, in terms of cost time and other efficiencies secured by disintermediating interactions between actors — i.e. short-circuiting involvement by banks, broker-dealers, central depository systems, notaries, and other financial intermediaries.

This streamlined blockchain-native approach to securities offerings is set to be embraced by major new platforms in the country, such as the forthcoming Swiss Digital Exchange offshoot of Switzerland’s principal SIX Swiss Exchange.

Beyond Switzerland, some industry commentators have suggested that the traditional IPO model — whether issued natively on the blockchain or otherwise — is likely to become increasingly prevalent in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space in 2020.

At Davos this month, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse predicted that more crypto firms will seek to launch IPOs in the coming year, hinting at Ripple’s own potential interest in a public flotation.

The crypto industry has to date focused its energies largely on initial coin offerings, which evolved as an alternative issuance model for still-young, innovative firms that spared them many of the cumbersome legal and regulatory processes involved in a traditional IPO.

montana-crypto-mine-back-in-action-despite-owner’s-uncertain-legal-fate

Montana Crypto Mine Back in Action Despite Owner’s Uncertain Legal Fate

A cryptocurrency mine in Butte Montana fired up its servers today, resuming business without its former owner, an alleged fraudster. 

After a legal appearance on the matter, part-owner Kevin Washington and operator Rick Tabish started up crypto mining business CryptoWatt once again, pulling the operation out of retirement, according to a Jan. 27 press release. 

Authorities closed down CryptoWatt after jailing its owner, Matthew Goettsche, on a separate fraud account totaling $722 million, the Montana Standard reported in December 2019. 

Shady ownership

Although Goettsche owned more than 50% of CryptoWatt, he was not taken into custody for dealings related to that business. Goettsche, along with four individuals, ran a “cryptocurrency investment club” named BitClub Network, through which the group allegedly swindled millions.

Rick Tabish ran CryptoWatt under Goettsche’s ownership of the site, unaware of the owner’s fraudulent endeavors with the unconnected BitClub Network. Goettsche also carried significant debt owed to Tabish.  

Managerial concern

Regarding re-opening, Tabish told the Montana Standard:

“If the facility shuts down we all lose, […] I want to protect the integrity of the facility, and the interests of our employees, the vendors, everybody who works there.

Tabish also noted his willingness to bring the matter to court if need be, pointing out that the operation would die if left shut down for too long, Montana Standard reporting included. 

CryptoWatt started up again on Jan. 26, a separate article from the Montana Standard read, securing a lower power cost in the process. 

Cointelegraph also recently reported on a surge of Bitcoin mining licenses in Iran.

fearing-revolt,-roger-ver’s-bitcoin.com-backs-down-from-proposed-bch-mining-tax

Fearing Revolt, Roger Ver’s Bitcoin.com Backs Down From Proposed BCH Mining Tax

According to a statement earlier today, Jan. 28, Roger Ver’s Bitcoin.com is backing down from the 12.5% mining tax on Bitcoin Cash they proposed along with other major BCH mining pools owing to the community’s overwhelming negative response to the proposal. 

Bitcoin.com’s position

Last week, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) personalities proposed a 12.5% tax on mining rewards that would ostensibly go to funding network development. Now Bitcoin.com has rejected the proposed mining tax unless serious alterations are made:  

“As it stands now, Bitcoin.com will not go through with supporting any plan unless there is more agreement in the ecosystem such that the risk of a chain split is negligible. We think it is clear that the existing proposal does not have enough support.”

In the post, Bitcoin.com urged transparency, flexibility and unity.

Bitcoin.com suggests that a lack of ecosystem agreement risks a split in the chain, though they seem to be looking for ways to fund further development: 

“We will be working to come up with a plan that is profitable for all the relevant parties and which preserves the fundamental economics of Bitcoin Cash.”

The post ends with a call for more flexibility: 

“A permanent proposal would be in effect a carte blanche on development and would incentivise “development for development’s sake,” which would defeat the purpose of the fundraising […] to create fast, reliable, digital cash upon a stable, largely unchanging, economically rational Bitcoin protocol.”

Critics attack the proposal

Cointelegraph reported last week on the proposed tax published by Btc.top CEO Jiang Zhuoer. The “infrastructure funding plan” would have miners send 12.5% of mining rewards to an entity in Hong Kong. The co-signing entities repped 27% of hashrates. Most controversially, the proposal included “orphaning” non-compliant miners — the practice of removing blocks from the chain that resembles a 51 percent attack.

Critics underscored the routing of funds to a corporation instead of a nonprofit and the absenting of a voting procedure, which would mean company owners would control BCH development. Other complaints included Chinese government interference and profitability since the tax would affect miner revenues. 

In other news on cryptocurrencies looking to fund development, Litecoin’s Charlie Lee pitched that miners donate 1% of their rewards to development on Jan. 24.

Cointelegraph.com reached out Roger Ver for comments but hadn’t received any at press time.

draft-of-india’s-national-dlt-strategy-calls-for-state-run-digital-rupee

Draft of India’s National DLT Strategy Calls for State-Run Digital Rupee

A draft of India’s national strategy on blockchain and distributed ledger technology suggests a central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital Indian rupee, and a national blockchain.

The National Institute for Smart Governance (NISG), a non-profit public body incorporated by the government of India, has published a draft document on the country’s national blockchain strategy. Issued on Dec. 30, the document appears to have been published recently as major local publications such as The Economic Times of India reported on the draft strategy on Jan. 28.

Digital rupee should be issued on a national blockchain of India

In the document, the NISG has proposed the Central Bank Digital Rupee (CBDR), a digital currency issued on a national permissioned blockchain. NISG  “strongly recommended” that the CBDR be issued by India’s government and the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India. The document reads:

“As an alternative to Public Blockchains that operate with native cryptocurrency, like Ethereum, it is strongly recommended that Government of India along with RBI come out with a Central Bank Digital INR (CBDR) administered over a Public Permissioned Blockchain that processes transactions through a Turing Complete Virtual Machine allowing decentralized applications to run on its platform.”

Light touch regulatory approach is needed to address an existing lack of clarity

The NISG also outlined the existing legal challenges for the industry in India associated with lack of regulatory clarity. As such, the body urged Indian authorities to develop and promote regulatory clarity in the industry by publishing official statements instead of making public statements:

“Public statements, whether through the press or formal speeches, are helpful but are not official statements of application by the agency. If an agency intends to enforce its laws in new and innovative ways, it must first notify industry stakeholders of its intent to do so and the way in which existing law applies.”

Additionally, the company recommended adopting a “light touch regulatory approach” at the initial stages of the blockchain industry’s development in India. According to the NISG, existing regulation in India is “too restrictive” and does not take into account the potential of emerging technologies.

India’s central bank said it hasn’t banned crypto

The news comes a few days after the central bank of India said that virtual currencies are not banned in the country, elaborating that instead, regulated entities are banned from offering crypto assets in the country. As reported, the RBI banned Indian banks from providing crypto-related services in the country in 2018.

The RBI made its statement amid ongoing court hearings against the central bank at the Indian Supreme Court, as an consortium of crypto firms and experts attempts to have the ban repealed.

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