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Facebook’s GlobalCoin may be a ‘historic initiative’

(Article published by Daniel Kuhn with same title in CoinDesk)

Facebook’s “crypto opportunity” comes with high expectations. “We believe this may prove to be one of the most important initiatives in the history of the company to unlock new engagement and revenue streams,” RBC Capital Markets’ Mark Mahaney and Zachary Schwartzman said.

The two experts expect the currency to be used for payments, commerce, applications and gaming — across Facebook’s ecosystem that includes image-based social media platform Instagram and encrypted messaging service WhatsApp. Mahaney and Schwartzman also repeated previously reported expectations that Facebook will release their currency’s white paper on June 18, following in Satoshi’s footsteps to explain the fundamental protocols that will underpin Libra, the internal codename for the project.

RBC said it plans to offer an analysis of the paper when it’s released, “to help investors analyze the underlying cryptoeconomics of the token.”

The currency is rumored to be a stablecoin backed by a number of global fiat currencies.

It has been in development for more than six months — though the company indicated it has contemplated enveloping cryptocurrency into the social network as far back as the end of 2017 — and has 100 staff working on its development. This includes two former compliance managers that migrated from Coinbase in May.

Facebook allegedly will offer employees the option to take their salary in the new currency. It has not been confirmed if the $514 billion company will offer incentive packages in GlobalCoin.

“More people will turn to bitcoin for one simple reason—bitcoin is scarce, while Facebook’s cryptocurrency is not. People will migrate over time to the most honest ledger for storing their hard-earned wealth—and that’s not fiat currencies or derivatives thereof, including Facebook’s cryptocurrency,” wrote Caitlin Long of the Wyoming Blockchain Task Force.

Now everyone is as excited about the product. Crypto-notable Charlie Shrem said: “I’m just gonna say it. I think the “FacebookCoin” is an attempt by big tech, banks and credit card companies to lure people away from Bitcoin into  “better, easier, crypto”, which is nothing more than a fiat coin being masqueraded as crypto. Millions will be fooled.”

A lobbyist from Standard Chartered will join the Facebook crypto-unit staff in September, possibly to assist with political and regulatory scrutiny in the EU. Facebook emissaries have reportedly been having lunch with the Governor of the Bank of England to see how the project may progress in the country amid Brexit.

Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Uber are all backing GlobalCoin to the tune of $10 million dollars. This is in addition to the $1 billion in VC funding Nathanial Popper of the New York Times has reported that Facebook is seeking, either as an investment or for collateral. For as much as Facebook has raised, the company has also acquired smart contracts producer, Chainspace, to assist development.

RBC has an outperform rating on Facebook with a price target of $250 a share. Facebook’s stock is up more than 35% this year as of Thursday’s close of $177.47 a share.

El estado de Rio Grande do Norte es el primero de Brasil en reconecer blockchain como certificado digital

(Artículo publicado por Cassio Gusson con mismo título en CoinTelegraph, basado en artículo de Ronaldo Lemos en Folha de São Paulo)

El Estado de Río Grande del Norte es el primero de Brasil en reconocer como válida la utilización de blockchain para certificación digital.

Ahora, empresas, micro emprendedores y demás empresarios pueden usar soluciones basadas en blockchain para registrar la veracidad de la información de su empresa. De esta forma, una firma registrada en blockchain pasa a tener valor jurídico y administrativo. Mientras tanto, en el resto del país, las firmas digitales sólo se validan a través de la emisión del “Certificado Digital”, una herramienta centralizada que está disponible en Brasil desde 2001, tras la creación de la Infraestructura de Llaves Públicas Brasileña – ICP Brasil.

La aceptación de blockchain fue posible por medio de la aprobación de la ley 10.513, de mayo de 2019 que pasa a aceptar cualquier otro tipo de sistema “capaz de demostrar la unicidad de la firma de una institución” específicamente detallando que pasan a ser aceptados “modelos de criptografía de clave pública y privada verificados por auditoría pública por base de datos comunes”, dice la ley.

“Parece un pequeño paso, pero es el inicio de un camino que puede llevar a la digitalización de los servicios públicos y acabar con la burocracia, concretando los ideales de tecnología gubernamental”, dijo el columnista Ronaldo Lemos.

El Cointelegraph reportó que en marzo, en la quinta cámara de Derecho Privado del Tribunal de Justicia de Sao Paulo, Fernanda Gomes Camacho, consideró válido un registro de autenticidad almacenado en blockchain. La magistrada afirmó que la custodia de las pruebas a través de la tecnología es “hábil para comprobar la veracidad de la existencia del contenido”.

Facebook will be the Paypal of crypto

(Article published by Michael K. Spencer with same title in Medium)

Project Libra will launch soon and it will instantly change the intersection of chat and payments. It is a very interesting project by Facebook in its pivot to the monetization of encrypted chat and it’s walled garden social and attention architecture.

So here’s the crazy part about Facebook’s internal stablecoin that will help Monetize WhatsApp, which has more active users than both Instagram and Messenger.

Project Libra Sounds a Lot like the Crypto Version of PayPal

Facebook’s crypto project echoes board member Peter Thiel’s original vision for PayPal.

It’s so clear to me, with Facebook hiring PayPal people to implement this. If Facebook succeeds in scaling its blockchain payments project to its more than 2 billion users, the company will deliver on Peter Thiel’s original vision of online payments.

$19 Billion Opportunity

According to Barclays, Facebook’s cryptocurrency could be a $19 billion revenue opportunity.

Facebook’s much-hyped cryptocurrency project, dubbed Project Libra, may launch in India within a matter of months, according to a Bloomberg report. The future of the company might be less Instagram than you think and more WhatsApp. This is because how mainstream WhatsApp is in places like India and South America.

As Messenger, WhatsApp and other channels are merged, exchanging an internal stablecoin and connecting with businesses is just an epic opportunity for the future of advertising and the future of payments globally.

There’s no mystery in how mass-adoption could take place. Facebook says it’s blockchain, but it sounds a lot more like a cryptocurrency. The sort of thing it was banning Ads for not too long ago.

Project Libra is essentially Facebook’s late and limited attempt to become like WeChat. Facebook’s family of apps is so far from providing the super-app quality of Chinese apps, it shows just how far behind Silicon Valley are in terms of actual consumer centric innovation in apps. “Mini-Programs” are totally missing from Facebook, Google and Amazon’s playbook, and it shows a wide discrepancy in how Chinese innovation is out smarting them.

For the PayPal analogy however. Payments will (not could) help Facebook develop an entirely new revenue stream aside from advertising — something “sorely needed at this stage of the company’s narrative,” says Barclays internet analyst Ross Sandler on CNBC.

A Project Libra stablecoin isn’t decentralized however, it’s just another centralized digital currency without aspects of real cryptocurrencies. It’s not Bitcoin, but Facebook can get it regulated and essentially become like a global bank and peer-to-peer system which will make Venmo, Square’s Cash App, Zelle and maybe even WeChat look small in comparison. It could realistically one day disrupt Apple Pay and yes, Paypal itself.

Facebook might be the crypto version of Paypal without needing to behave like a crypto but rather a real digital currency and asset that’s blockchain based without being controversial and volatile. Project Libra has a good chance of succeeding for these reasons. It does add a next level convenience for the arriving Token Economy.

Facebook’s Project Libra will likely be the play before they acquire Coinbase. Think about to what Paypal was envsioned as. “Every one of your friends will become like a virtual, miniature ATM,” Thiel told Wired in 1999. Facebook’s blockchain project is of course led by former PayPal president David Marcus, and reportedly includes a number of other former PayPal executives.

Now that Facebook has acquired 2 Billion users it has to learn how to monetize them without just relying on super successful digital advertising. That’s how Facebook remains a generational company, though realistically it will mean Paypal, Square and many others could be under threat.

The entire future of crypto could be disrupted by this, a centralized solution making decentralization a distant dream of young people who have no clue how the real world (Wall Street, Finance, Global Economics, B2B Enterprise solutions, Cloud) works.

Facebook’s GlobalCoin will launch in 2020

(Article published by Michael K. Spencer with same title in Medium)

Facebook’s pivot from advertising to a more privacy-focused community will feature among other things a blockchain based payments play. Facebook really does think we are global family, after all.

Here comes GlobalCoin. That’s the name of digital payments system that Facebook plans to deploy in “about a dozen countries by the first quarter of 2020,” according to a report Friday (May 24) from the BBC. It’s truly going to be incredible. Testing will start this year, however it’s likely to first launch in a place like London, UK.

Interestingly Facebook is expected to outline plans in more detail this summer, and has already spoken to Bank of England governor Mark Carney.

So apparently, Mark Zuckerberg is a man with a cryptocurrency plan. The Project Libra team really wants to realize PayPal’s original vision with the 2.38 Billion global citizens they have captured in Facebook’s reach, and more if you count the different penetration of apps like WhatsApp and Instagram that are popular in some surprising places.

Can GlobalCoin Disrupt Crypto?

For Facebook to get into payments makes sense, before cryptocurrencies or the Lightning Network is up and running properly. They basically want to monetize all of those users after taking their data, sharing it with their friends and making brands believe Facebook was the only and best play to do targeted ads to consumers.

Inside Facebook, the cryptocurrency is reportedly being called “GlobalCoin,” which not only hints at the company’s, well, global aims but sounds a bit like something Zuckerberg would say, a character who wears a lot of different hats in his own company, including CEO and chairman of the board.

Facebook has also sought advice on operational and regulatory issues from officials at the US Treasury. So it’s looking like stablecoins in walled gardens are going to eat up the world! Long live the era of subscriptions and paying for things with crypto, I guess?

Zuckerberg doesn’t think it’s the right time to break up Facebook. As if it’s not powerful enough, right? On top of seeking advice from banks, Facebook also reportedly called up Zuckerberg’s old pals the Winklevoss twins, who founded the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange.

Facebook will attempt to throw a lot of $ to legal proof, lobby and push its payments product, that will make a centralized global chat that much more monetizable. It’s all crystal clear what Project Libra and a GlobalCoin owned by Zuckerberg would try to accomplish.

Facebook wants to monetize WhatsApp better, and a GlobalCoin could create quite the peer-to-peer mechanism, especially in places where people don’t necessarily have access to bank accounts.

The Arrival of GlobalCoin is going to be Epic

This GlobalCoin appears to be Facebook’s attempt to create a digital currency that provides affordable and secure ways of making payments, regardless of whether users have a bank account.

The social networking site, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, is hoping to disrupt existing networks by breaking down financial barriers, competing with banks and reducing consumer costs. So this isn’t just a threat to crypt, it’s a real threat to Square, PayPal, Stripe, Venmo, Zelle, Transferwise (the biggest FinTech startup in Europe), and so many others.

Whatever you think of Facebook’s “family of apps”, GlobalCoin is coming and it will be to make even more money off of your data, interactions, friends and shopping preferences. It’s so great to live in such a globalized world. GlobalCoin might free us from inconvenient methods of sending, sharing and accumulating digital assets for our online activities.

The currency will need to overcome numerous technical and regulatory hurdles before it can be launched. However, Facebook has a proven track record of duping regulators, deceiving consumers and defrauding businesses via its digital Ads monopoly, so I’m pretty sure it’s going to be okay.

Polish cryptocurrency exchange shuts down overnight, taking funds with it

(Article published by John Biggs with same title in CoinDesk)

A polish cryptocurrency exchanged called Coinroom shut down on April 2, 2019, taking multiple customer accounts worth up to $15,000. The site is currently down and there is no way to contact the founders.

“We don’t know how much they took,” said one user named Maciej. “But it is definitely a lot of cash.”

Polish news site Money.pl first discovered the exit scam on May 31. “Coinroom registered as a business in 2016 and a year later opened its website. Clients could deposit, buy, and sell cryptocurrencies. They could also exchange cryptocurrency for fiat,” wrote Marcin Łukasik on Money.pl. “In April users received an email that told them that their accounts would be closed. They had one day to get their cash out. In order to do this they had to contact the exchange admins directly. Everything was laid out in the terms of service the users signed.”

The exchange closed the next day and users who did not follow the proper procedure – one laid out by the exchange itself – lost their assets. The owners disappeared and the president, Tomasz Zbigniew Wiewióra, was not available to answer questions regarding the exit scam. One Coinroom client found that Wiewióra opened a business in Estonia after leaving Poland. Users also believe that the company ran afoul of the KNF, the Polish economic authority. Łukasik noted that the same thing happened to another exchange, Bitmarket24, resulting in an overnight closure. Coinmarket was under investigation but survived a few months after being entered in to the KNF’s black list.

One former user thinks the cash is long gone. “There are some very interesting indicators that the cryptocurrencies  were taken out and moved to other exchanges a few days before the shutdown,” he said. “On the blockchain nothing disappears.”

Crypto miners’ electricity shouldn’t be subsidized: Iranian Energy Minister

(Article published by Benedict Alibasa with same title in CoinDesk)

Cryptocurrency miners in Iran could face higher electricity bills if Iran’s Energy Minister gets his way. Minister Homayoun Haeri says that energy used by cryptocurrency miners in Iran should be charged in real prices and not be subsidized by the government.

Iran’s government spends about $1 billion in electricity subsidies in the country with Iranian households paying just a fraction of the real cost of the electricity usage.

Authorities in Iran prohibit the mining and trading of cryptocurrencies. However, such activities continue to proliferate given the relatively low electricity costs in the country.

Sanctions imposed by the US on Iran has even encouraged more people in Iran to mine and trade cryptocurrencies as an alternative to fiat currency.

In an earlier report by CoinDesk, blockchain researcher Nima Dehqan at Tehran-based crypto startup Areatak said foreign investors from Spain, Ukraine, Armenia, and France have visited their cryptocurrency farms in Iran. Dehqan said his firm has already entered an agreement with an investor from Spain to establish a mining farm in Iran. Dehqan said foreign cryptocurrency investors are keen on farming in Iran due to the cheap electricity in the country which costs well below $0.01 per kilowatt-hour. Further adding to Iran’s appeal to cryptocurrency miners is the recent fall of the Iranian rial’s value due to sanctions imposed by the US, according to Dehqan.

Three of Ireland’s ‘Big Four’ banks using blockchain to verify staff credentials

(Article published by Yogita Khatri with same title in CoinDesk)

Three of Ireland’s “Big Four” banks, Bank of Ireland, AIB and Ulster Bank, are using a blockchain solution from Deloitte for a pilot initiative to verify employees’ credentials.

The solution, said to be the “first of its kind” in the European financial services industry, has been built using ethereum by Deloitte’s EMEA Financial Services Blockchain Lab in Dublin to verify and track staff credentials and qualifications data. Staff will have their credentials held in a digital wallet, which will be used to help banks comply with Central Bank of Ireland regulations for meeting specific standards for senior staff.

Ireland’s Institute of Banking – which holds professional certification data on 23,500 banking employees currently – is also a participant in the project, which is expected to run until the end of the summer. A full live launch expected by mid-2020 for the institute’s members.

Blockchain-based verification of credentials is a growing use case for the technology.

Earlier this year, financial services giant PwC launched a similar blockchain-based platform called Smart Credentials allowing company employees to be issued digital copies of professional qualifications.

Malaysia’s education ministry has also launched a blockchain platform called e-Scroll for the issuance and verification of university degrees. While U.S. Customs and Border Protection also recently began a blockchain trial to verify North American Free Trade Agreement and the Central American Free Trade Agreement certificates.

The three Irish banks have been trialing blockchain tech in other areas, too. As far back as 2016, AIB and Ulster Bank participated in a blockchain payments trial, also organized by Deloitte. The Bank of Ireland completed a blockchain trial centered on trade reporting in partnership with Deloitte in 2017.

Salesforce joins blockchain bandwagon with new ledger tool

(Article published by By Nico Grant  and Olga Kharif with same title in Bloomberg)

Salesforce.com Inc. unveiled a blockchain service in a bid to boost revenue and keep up with peers in digital ledgers, joining a growing list of companies that have sought to harness the emerging technology.

The blockchain platform will let clients create networks to securely transfer data with partners and other third parties, the San Francisco-based company said in a statement. The “low-code” product will integrate with Salesforce’s Lightning developer platform.

Salesforce has been ramping up its blockchain efforts since last year. Co-Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff said in March 2018 that he hoped to integrate “blockchain and cryptocurrencies” into Salesforce’s platform by September of last year. The market leader in customer relationship software last year joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance, which is focused on improving supply chains. “This felt like a unique opportunity for us to say, how can we let customers work with partners in a distributed and secure way,” Bret Taylor, Salesforce’s chief product officer, said during the company’s annual developer conference in San Francisco. He said he hopes that Salesforce customers experiment with different ways to use the technology.

Blockchain is a database with a unique feature that ensures the trustworthiness of transactions. It can use thousands or millions of computers to verify transactions, and this structure eliminates risks that come with information being held centrally by a single entity.

While hype around cryptocurrencies has cooled, cloud-computing companies have rushed to develop blockchain solutions. International Business Machines Corp. already has more than 1,000 staffers assigned to blockchain-related projects, and the company works with many consortia to help them use digital ledgers for projects such as supply-chain tracking. The world’s largest software maker, Microsoft Corp., unveiled a blockchain service this month that lets users create and manage digital ledgers with a few clicks. Oracle Corp. earlier this year added new features to its platform to speed up development and deployment of blockchain applications.

Salesforce said some clients are testing the blockchain product now, including drug-label validation company IQVIA Holdings Inc., S&P Global Ratings, and Arizona State University. The company said the tool will become widely available in 2020.

Salesforce doesn’t expect a swell of demand from the start. “Before we see this huge demand coming,” clients need to align their blockchain teams with the rest of their business and decide to use the technology to solve big problems, Adam Caplan, senior vice president of emerging technology at Salesforce, said during a news conference. Salesforce spoke with 100 customers while developing the blockchain product.

Rather than develop the software from scratch, Salesforce built its blockchain platform on Hyperledger, open-source software launched in 2016 whose development has been led by the likes of IBM. Hyperledger is the fastest-growing project among more than 70 open-source organizations the Linux Foundation has launched.

Salesforce has a lot of catching up to do, particularly in recruiting important, large clients. IBM, for example, is already working on blockchain projects with companies such as Maersk and Walmart Inc.

Blockchain settlement was slow, costly in trial, Weidmann (Bundesbank) says

(Article published by Carolynn Look with same title in Bloomberg)

A trial project using blockchain to transfer and settle securities and cash proved more costly and less speedy than the traditional way, Germany’s central bank president said.

The experiment, launched by the Bundesbank together with Deutsche Boerse in 2016, concluded late last year that the prototype “in principle fulfilled all basic regulatory features for financial transactions.” Yet while advocates of distributed ledger technology say it has the potential to be cheaper and faster than current settlement mechanisms, Jens Weidmann said the Bundesbank project did not bear those out: “The blockchain solutions did not fare better in every way: the process took a bit longer and resulted in relatively high computational costs,” Weidmann said in Frankfurt on Wednesday. “Similar experiences have been made elsewhere in the financial sector. Despite numerous tests of blockchain-based prototypes, a real breakthrough in application is missing so far.”

A growing number of global central banks have started exploring distributed ledger technology for their financial systems. European Central Bank Executive Board member Yves Mersch said that it’s important to differentiate between “assets” such as bitcoin and the technology behind them. “Some of the technology is worth exploring and could also be of interest to central banks,” he said. “That said, our role is not to drive technological adoption by the industry and the general public, but to ensure that changing preferences can be satisfied in a secure way.”

Dubai government and UAE Bank unveil blockchain-based mortgage platform

(Article published by Max Boddy with same title in CoinTelegraph)

The Dubai Land Department (DLD), the real estate arm of the Executive Council of Dubai, has partnered with UAE-based Mashreq Bank to release a blockchain-based mortgage platform.

The blockchain-based platform will act as a repository for mortgage records, as well as a way to confirm that the mortgages comply with registration policies. Additionally, the platform will accommodate on-going updates that occur after a property sale, such as recording liquidation and payment defaults or changes to the mortgages.

The new blockchain platform is part of the DLD’s efforts to streamline their services. DLD Director General Sultan Butti Bin Mejren said: “The development and launch of the new e-mortgage system comes as part of our ongoing efforts to enhance automation applications and systems in our transactions to reduce paper transactions and the number of visits.”

The DLD reportedly launched another blockchain-based system last year, the Real Estate Self Transaction system which is purportedly also designed to digitize documents for paper transactions and streamline the brokerage process, which includes connecting tenants and landlords to billers for utility services.

Smart Dubai, the technology arm of the government, publicly endorsed a blockchain platform released by telecoms company Du. The blockchain-platform-as-a-service (BPaas) reportedly supports cloud-based private blockchain hosting that is compatible with Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric.

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