Russian payments firm Qiwi has acquired a blockchain startup Inspirasha as part of its plan to offer services integrating the technology. The acquisition is to boost Qiwi’s existing blockchain efforts
Electronic trading houses Citadel Securities and XTX have joined top global banks in signing up to blockchain currency settlement venture Cobalt (London)
• Cobalt aims to use blockchain, to cut post-trade costs in forex trading, and also to quicken the time in which transactions are settled. It said to launch the spot currency trading system in the third quarter of 2017. Cobalt has investment from Citi, venture capital company Digital Currency Group and consultancy First Derivatives . Top currency trading banks Citi, Deutsche Bank and UBS are also clients to this.
Two of Ireland’s colloquial ‘big four’ banks are part of a group established to pilot domestic payments over an Ethereum- based blockchain in Ireland
• Ulster Bank, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), Allied Irish Banks (AIB), personal financial services firm Permanent TSB and services firm Deloitte make the group of four establishing a pilot project to explore blockchain technology in domestic payments.
• The working project is titled Project GreenPay and will use ‘Emerald’, an Ethereum-based blockchain developed by the Royal Bank of Scotland, which sees Ulster Bank as a subsidiary.
BitPay to go International With Bitcoin Prepaid Visa Card
• The Visa-branded offering enables users to top up its BitPay Prepaid Visa Card with dollars using cryptocurrency, which can then be spent as euros, British pounds or US dollars at merchants around the globe. This will be the first prepaid debit card that will be available in 131 countries.
Indian Bank Kotak Mahindra implements Blockchain in Trade Finance
• The first of its kind transaction’ sees the bank partner services giant Deloitte to complete the trade finance test with partner bank JP Morgan Singapore.
• A traditionally paper-intensive process, trade finance transactions are enabled by a letter of credit (LC). It takes several weeks to obtain a letter of credit in international transactions.
• With blockchain technology the time taken is reduced to a few hours.
The global banking blockchain consortium led by R3 has raised a record $107 M in a fundraising round this is the largest single investment in a blockchain company to date
• The latest funding round to help to continue development of ‘Corda’, R3’s blockchain software.
Spain’s First Banking Blockchain Consortium (“comprises 33% of the Spanish banking sector”) to use blockchain technologies like the public Ethereum blockchain and the open-source Linux Foundation-led Hyperledger project
• This consortium aims to manufacture the first usable blockchain banking applications and to become a benchmark hub in Spain for the development of this technology.
The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), an international financial center that houses Abu Dhabi’s financial regulator, has joined the R3 blockchain consortium
• With this the ADGM’s ‘FinTech team’ will have access to the latest developments on blockchain technology.This will also help to collaborate with other regulatory bodies to share best practices and share information on blockchain technology solutions. Specifically, these solutions will be aimed for capital markets, to enhance efficiency and risk management.
Bitcoin startup Blockstream’s first sidechain, Liquid, is to launch in beta
• Liquid is a private blockchain. Liquid is designed as a layer that sits on top of the bitcoin blockchain. The movement of bitcoin is basically on another layer within the sidechain, but users and companies have control over their funds since they’re tied to the bitcoin asset.
• The main idea behind Liquid is to help companies, such as exchanges, move big sums of bitcoin around – and quickly.
Bloq launched BloqLabs to Bring Open Source Blockchain Technologies to Enterprise. BloqLabs to expand its ongoing sponsorship and support of critical open source projects in the bitcoin and Blockchain ecosystems
Cryptocurrency mining startup Avalon Life has announced its GREEN EARTH ZERO service, a blockchain-based technology that will empower participants to own land in Costa Rica, by the square meter. The service will run on NEM blockchain technology and will be supported by the cryptocurrency, GREEN EARTH ZERO Token
Canaan (Bitcoin mining hardware firm ) acquires Blockchain Notary Service -document timestamping service Proof of Existence. The service lets users verify the existence of documents by linking them to transactions on the bitcoin blockchain
Blockai, a San Francisco, Calif.-based technology company, has developed a copyright service that uses the bitcoin blockchain to allow artists to protect their creative work, has rebranded itself as “Binded” and has shifted its focus from technology to creating legally binding records
Blockstack unveiled its decentralized tokenized Blockchain Web Browser. Blockstack offers a full stack for decentralized application development, covering identity with secured keys, storage by allowing users to utilize their own storage providers, and payments through the support of Bitcoin as well as many other cryptocurrencies
Kik Interactive, the creator of the Kik social media platform , to launch a cryptocurrency on the Ethereum blockchain called Kin to allow people to use a wide range of digital services. The Kik chat platform is free and is used mainly by teenagers