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HSBC and ING Announce Successful Utilization of R3’s Blockchain Platform

HSBC and ING bank have recently reported that they have utilized blockchain technology using R3’s Corda blockchain platform.

The banking conglomerates used the tech to achieve a transaction that oversaw soybeans, shipped from Argentina to Malaysia via Singapore. Additionally, a letter of credit between the two banks was issued directly from the R3 Corda platform.

HSBC and ING commented that the transaction was a success, demonstrating that blockchain technology had been used in a commercial and operational setting.

The trade finance industry is worth around USD 9 trillion. Using any number of conventional monetary means of managing these transactions can take days, with multiple parties included. With blockchain technology on a single platform, the transaction took less than 24 hours to be completed.

Credit letters are one of the most commonly used methods for reducing the risk involved between importers and exporters. These letters help guarantee more than USD 2 trillion worth of transactions annually, and it is a lengthy and time-consuming paper trail that can take between five and ten days to complete.

Vivek Ramachandran, HSBC’s head of growth and innovation stated, “Trade finance transactions have been made simpler, faster, more transparent and more secure. The need for paper reconciliation is removed because all parties are linked to the platform and updates are instantaneous. The quick turnaround could mean unlocking liquidity for businesses.”

The transaction was received well by third parties involved. “Blockchain is a key technology we are exploring and using with our customers and, now, using for ourselves with the completion of this transfer on Corda,” explained Rani Misra, regional treasurer, APAC, Cargill.

Events have led R3, the company behind Corda along with 12 other supportive banks, to further the reach behind this technology, in a hope to expand the network as a utility for the trade finance sector and to waive all paper-based documentation.


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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 4th to 10th May 2018

North America

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.


New York cryptocurrency probe continues: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s resignation might have brought a slight relief for cryptocurrency exchanges but the department says that the probe will continue in the near future. Schneiderman resigned within three hours after reports emerged of physical abuse to four women but this won’t stop any investigation into the operations of cryptocurrency exchanges, 13 of whom are under investigation.

The Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative was launched by Schneiderman on 17 April, just a few weeks before his time abruptly came to an end. The office had sent letters to 13 exchanges including (1) Coinbase, Inc. (GDAX); (2) Gemini Trust Company; (3) bitFlyer USA, Inc.; (4) iFinex Inc. (Bitfinex); (5) Bitstamp USA Inc.; (6) Payward, Inc. (Kraken); (7) Bittrex, Inc.; (8) Circle Internet Financial Limited (Poloniex LLC); (9) Binance Limited; (10) Elite Way Developments LLP (; (11) Gate Technology Incorporated (; (12) itBit Trust Company; and (13) Huobi Global Limited (Huobi.Pro).

The New York BitLicense is widely seen as one of the harshest cryptocurrency laws in existence that outlaws all Bitcoin dealers and exchanges and requires extensive legal costs to acquire. Only four companies have been granted permission under the law and the rest of these exchanges face continuing troubles.

Texas securities board issues cease-and-desist letters to crypto exchanges: The Texas Securities Board (TSSB) has served two cease-and-desist letters to cryptocurrency exchanges because it believes they are scams. The Exchanges BTCRUSH and Forex EA & Bitcoin Investment LLC have been involved in promising returns of up to 4.1% daily and 1000% per 21 days profit and that caught the attention of the TSSB as a possible scam.

While the companies disguise themselves as mining companies, they are far from such because mining profits aren’t this much at all which reinforces the belief by the state board that these are not real mining companies.

Violating this order can result in USD 5,000 fine and two years in state prison. The exchanges have the option to request a hearing within 31 days.

Wisconsin seeks approval for Bitcoin campaign donations: The Wisconsin state Ethics Commission has asked the state legislators to decide on whether campaign contributions made in cryptocurrency can be allowed by the state or not, according to a report by Washington Times.

The Senate and assembly action committees have asked to provide clarity regarding the new currencies and whether candidates may be able to accept cryptocurrencies or not. US states are still mostly seen as skeptical towards cryptocurrency donations to campaigns. Wisconsin Libertarian party Chairman Phil Anderson has asked to allow cryptocurrencies due to their popularity and conversion to fiat at the time of receipt is also being discussed.

Kentucky Derby opens for crypto for the first time: The famous Kentucky horse race event will accept cryptocurrency wagers according to wide reports from the media. The horse race takes place in Louisville, Kentucky every year and is part of a two-week festival in the small state which is world famous for its gambling and other activities like the Grand National in the UK and Melbourne Cup in Australia.

Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin are being cited as top cryptocurrencies being fared in wagers this year as punters rush to get a bet on their favorite horse rider. 

US Racing’s operations director Tim Maxwell said: “…both the legality and associated risk management of accepting cryptocurrency needs further clarification before we see widespread adoption in the gaming and racing industry as a whole.”

Oracle to roll out blockchain products: California-based ERP giant Oracle has announced that it is ready to roll out blockchain-based platform-as-a-service products for clients around the world according to a news piece from Bloomberg.

The company had over USD 37.3 billion in sales last year and this could be a big news for blockchain-based businesses as enhanced security and functionality would mean more investment in the sector especially in the Oracle’s space.

Millennials prefer Bitcoin over other investments and trading options: A recent survey has discovered that millennials in the US are starting to prefer investment in Bitcoin over other traditional ventures including stocks. More than 27% will prefer investing USD 1,000 in Bitcoin rather than in stocks, according to the survey.

Millennials who came of age around the 2008 financial crisis had a hard time and they blame the big banks and corporations for the whole mess so it is no surprise that they see Bitcoin’s transparency and profit-making capability as a viable alternative.


Blockchain startup flees from US to Canada: CBlocks, a Miami-based cryptocurrency company has announced that it is moving to Canada due to regulatory troubles and uncertainty in the United States. The firm had been trying to clear legal hurdles in the US for a while but has eventually decided to move to its northern neighbour, signalling a potential exodus from the US.

Austen Bunsen, one of the co-founders of the company said: “They can’t agree as to whether we’re a money services business or not.”

Getting a precise answer to this question is tricky as the Securities and Exchange Commission of the US has been reluctant to classify blockchain businesses as either.

Canadian bank says crypto is the future: Canadian bank ATB Alphabeta has voiced its support for cryptocurrencies and blockchain by saying they are the future. Many such businesses have to continue to rely on banks due to a variety of reasons and in countries like India, banks have refused to entertain them. This is one of the rare instances where a bank has actually credited cryptocurrencies as  the future in the fintech space.

While the bank has acknowledged that Bitcoin is currently taboo in banking circles due to its unorthodox approach, anonymity and other features, ATB is ready to become progressive and become Canada’s leader in the business.


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Quebec Government Defends Bitcoins Liberty

The Chief Scientist of Quebec, Rémi Quirion, has published a report on Bitcoin, taking an in-depth look at the state of legality that Bitcoin faces on a day-to-day basis. It finds no direct link between Bitcoin and criminal activities.

Quirion disagrees with accusations such as that by BlackRock CEO Larry Fink who labelled Bitcoin as “an index of money laundering”, saying that Bitcoin’s distributed ledger technology has helped law enforcement agencies track down illegal activities with ease.

“Bitcoin is not above the law, nor is it a magnet for illicit transactions: it forms only a tiny part of the criminal money circulating around the planet. The reason: it is less attractive for anyone who wants to make transactions without leaving a trace,” said Quirion.

The Center for Sanctions and Illicit Finance of the Defense of Democracies Foundation’s study found that funds linked to criminal activities accounted for only 0.61% of money entering the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

The percentage of Bitcoin transactions as a whole related to money laundering has decreased over the last five years, from 1.07% to a minuscule 0.12% in 2016.

The report cited that Bitcoin was still unregulated, although the Quebec government insists that companies must obtain a crypto specific license before operating a cryptocurrency exchange in the country.

While these figures might challenge commonly-held views about Bitcoin, they come as little surprise to veteran Bitcoin users. Others argue that fiat currency, in particular, the US dollar still ranks highly as currency favored by criminals.


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Pantera CEO Dan Morehead Calls Rare Bitcoin Buy Signal

Pantera Capital CEO Dan Morehead has stated that Bitcoin’ss sideways action at USD 8,000 is about to end, with the company today signalling a perfect time to get in for the long.

Morehead’s company is well known for its exclusive focus on digital currencies and blockchain technology. Its rational analysis is based on Bitcoin’s 200-day moving average, believing that it had crossed below that threshold today.

“Bitcoin just hit that rare buy signal again”, said Morehead. He added:

“On the surface, it seems as though the higher the 200-day moving average goes, the more bullish the market is (and the lower it goes, the more bearish). In practice, however, the reverse is true. Extremely high readings are a warning that the market may soon reverse to the downside. High readings reveal that traders are far too optimistic. When this occurs, fresh new buyers are often few and far between. Meanwhile, shallow readings signify the reverse; the bears are in the ascendancy, and a bottom is near. The shorter the moving average, the sooner you’ll see a change in the market.”

#Bitcoin Price Cycles

After a 1067-day bull market, a downdraft which is spot on previous bear markets in depth, retracement.

My old friends in the hedge fund space would love the Fibonacci 0.618 bounce.

If I were a betting man, I’d say we’ve seen the lows of this cycle.

— Dan Morehead (@dan_pantera) February 7, 2018

Pantera has only made four trade recommendations in seven years, most of which have been based on the 200-day moving average. It holds an impressive portfolio of the top three coins by market capitalization, along with other alternative coins such as ZCash, ShapeShift and Civic.


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Coinshares Chairman Danny Masters Bullish on Bitcoin Revolution

In a recent Bloomberg PNL podcast, Coinshares chairman Danny Masters took an in-depth look into the future of distributed ledger technology, security and regulation in the industry.

He said, “The distributed ledger technology that’s being pioneered by the development surrounding Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are really the democratization of transactions as in the same way when the internet appeared we saw the news and information traveling around without the need for news or big organizations as centers for distribution for the information. This is what is at the core of what makes this the revolution.”

Masters went on to talk about Coinshares as a digital trading asset hedge fund, allowing users to trade without actually owning any currency, hedging services or proprietary capital.

The Coinshares chairman defended the point that cryptocurrency was not causing a momentary global leakage in any leverage of fiat assets: “I think what is clear is that there was some regulatory sandbox, in which digital assets of all kinds existed. All the way from back when we started in 2013, right through the third or fourth quarter of last year”.

He said that when the crypto ecosystem was in the sub-10 billion dollar phase, it was still very experimental. But as the market rapidly approached a trillion dollars in late 2017, the media hype around it brought a lot of attention. Banks and governments could no longer ignore Bitcoin’s substantial potential for the future.

Masters is best known as the chief investment officer for Global Advisors. He manages over USD 800 million in crypto assets, leveraging Bitcoin certificates and selling them to Nasdaq in what is by far his most significant product pull.


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Barclays UK New Ventures Unit to Explore “Disruptive” Themes

British bank Barclays appears to be the latest to enter the blockchain arena, with Barclays UK announcing a new ventures unit to study “disruptive technology”.

The announcement appeared to dance closely around the blockchain topic without directly pointing to cryptocurrency, explaining its mission to innovate in pursuit of “disruptive” themes within the newly created Barclays UK Ventures unit.

According to the announcement, the unit would “accelerate the growth of new business lines… working independently of traditional units” and “develop new customer propositions around major areas of disruptive technology”.

“We intend to drive this initiative by building a strong team of technologists, developers and entrepreneurs within BUKV, mandated to operate independently of, but in partnership with, our core operations,” explained Ben Davey,  CEO of Barclays UK Ventures.

Notably missing from the announcement were key terms connected to cryptocurrency, although a sheepish reference to startup operations was unsurprising. It could have been a cautious move, given that it was only two years ago when legal charges were brought against the bank after failing to deliver on hefty claims on a separate venture.

Allegations that the Barclays company had rigged the stock market, committed market manipulation and price tampering, were silenced with a USD 70 million settlement paid by Barclays to the state of New York and to the Securities Exchange Commission.

Even with the existing controversy surrounding the technology, banks will be keen to get a foot in the door in the cryptocurrency space, especially when financial leaders like Mastercard recently began a blockchain exploration initiative.


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CNBC Fast Money’s Brian Kelly Will Still “Wanna Buy” Bitcoin at $20K

Brian Kelly, CEO of BKCM and CNBC’s Fast Money, has compared Bitcoin to Microsoft and Cisco in the late 1980s. Likening it to the internet, he pointed out that Bitcoin was not a company, but a public open source software, which was still in the very early stages.

Kelly went on to talk about the recent drop in Bitcoin markets, calling the bottom after it had seen some decent gains. He said, “So I think this is for real, we’ll know after April 17th if we can hold these gains, we’ll know how much of this tax selling impacted, if we use Tom Lee’s work we probably had 500 to 600 billion come off the market for tax selling purposes.”

When asked about the potential in the open source software that is Bitcoin, he stated that he used to think of it as the internet in 1995 but now has a better comparison in that it was the Internet in the late 1980s, being very early stages.

When put forward that Bitcoin was just “one big virus” and that the tech would never breach a new all-time high, Kelly responded, “When it’s USD 20,000 I wanna buy it.”

The #Bitcoin bulls are back in town! And @BKBrianKelly is watching one thing next week that could send the cryptocurrency higher

— CNBC’s Fast Money (@CNBCFastMoney) April 13, 2018

The analyst also backs Tim Draper’s 2022 price prediction of USD 250,000 USD, saying, “This is parabolic, but it would be a continuation of the trend that we’ve seen.”

Brian went on to talk about the use of Bitcoin as a currency and the damping down of the volatility, personally predicting its price to reach USD 25,000 before the end of the year should the network see a boost in transaction volume.


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Pantera Capital Shares Bullish Sentiment, Sees Bitcoin Above $20,000

Investment firm Pantera Capital has published an open letter that outlines a bullish sentiment and optimism for Bitcoin in the foreseeable future. In a lengthy Medium Post signed by CEO Dan Morehead and CIO Joey Krugg, the pair had plenty of positive notes regarding Bitcoin over the coming weeks and months.

First, the letter pointed out that IBM recently kicked off an advertisement campaign giving credibility to blockchain technology with all its benefits and important features.

“While watching an ad about the many cool things that this unnamed company or product could do. I was like ‘Yeah. Who cares? Blockchains can do all that.’ The credits rolled — it was an IBM ad for blockchain. That’s a huge milestone. Legit company spending serious money to credentialize blockchain. Can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” wrote Morehead and Krugg.

Then the letter suggested that Bitcoin had shown remarkable resiliency in the wake of US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) events that put regulatory pressure on the network. Pantera asserted that because the market did not waver even after several unsavory SEC reports about scam projects, this indicated a true bottom has been reached.

“One key thing to point out is recently there was some news about the SEC going after a couple scam projects and the fact that the market didn’t react negatively suggests we’ve reached a local, if not global bottom… Provided that nothing drastically changes over the course of the next few months on the regulation side, I think that we’ve seen the brunt of the market’s negative reaction to it,” the letter explained.

All of these notes support the Pantera team’s optimistic conclusion regarding Bitcoin. They boldly stated that the low of USD 6,500 would be the lowest point for the immediate timeframe and projected a USD 20,000 value for this time next year.

“The vast majority of the next 365 days will be above that price. It’s highly likely to have exceeded $20,000 within a year,” they said.

Pantera Capital is an investment firm focused exclusively on blockchain technology, emerging ventures and investments within the realm of cryptocurrency. It manages over USD 800,000 in assets.


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Bitcoin Bounces Back Increasing $1,000 in One Hour, Sets $1.2B Trading Volume Record

Bitcoin has bounced back after a bumpy ride over the last few months. Prices surged upward in a steep motion today, showing an increase of over USD 1,000 in only an hour’s span of time according to data pulled from The flurry of trade also set a new hourly record of Bitcoin trading volume, with USD 1.2 billion worth of Bitcoin changing hands.

This significant jump was followed by a slight drop, with a price point averaging USD 7,700 at the time of writing.



Bitcoin bounces back
Chart data and image courtesy of

The increase was welcomed by Bitcoin users and provided for even better news for those in the cryptocurrency community who chose to “HODL” or to Hold On for Dear Life, as the saying goes.

The community embraced this jump in value after enduring traumatic market volatility in the recent weeks. Bitcoin prices have been all over the board in the last six months, ranging from a market high over USD 20,000 in January to a dramatic downward slope with a low around USD 6,000 in February.

Bitcoin charts are closely monitored for patterns by experts worldwide – yet nobody has yet been able to pinpoint the exact science behind the ebb and flow of Bitcoin’s price roller coaster. From famous opinions to big bank CEOs’ regular rants, there is seldom a true consensus among those who share their views on the controversy surrounding Bitcoin.

Max Keiser, the notorious host of The Keiser Report, was seen Tweeting playfully about his recent prediction that the Bitcoin market would experience a “double bottom”.

#Bitcoin held my double-bottom call… Is is art or mathematics?

— Max Keiser (@maxkeiser) April 12, 2018

A double bottom is a pattern sometimes found in market charts that measure financial data.  It looks like the letter “W” with a price drop, followed by an upward rise, with another drop and finally a defining final rise similar to the one that came before it. Really, it could be called a double top – since that is the positive note that it ends on.

With all of the opposing “expert” opinions, the frenzy paves the perfect path for a slightly unpredictable ride in the short term. Based on at the numbers year over year, the future for Bitcoin’s price appears to be bright, having bounced back from every major fall so far.


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Analyst Mati Greenspan Remains Bullish on Bitcoin as Wall St Builds Blockchain “Bridge”

In a recent Bloomberg broadcast, Mati Greenspan, eToro senior market analyst, saw positive signs for cryptocurrency, saying that the market was about to receive a new flow of liquidity from Wall Street.

Among many issues faced, volatility may not be one that Wall Street giants are used to but Greenspan says it has been in a consistent state of play since the very beginning.

He said,”The dip we’re talking about is actually nothing new for Bitcoin, as far as percentage terms go. If we look at it historically we’ve seen these type of pullbacks before, and definitely Wall Street is getting involved and they are building the bridges as we speak. Whether they go full on Bull or full on Bear, we don’t know, and they are ready to inject new liquidity into the market.”

Greenspan went on to explain that Wall Street missed the boat when it came to last year’s all-time high, with Chicago exchanges CBOE and CME launching Bitcoin futures right at the precipice in the Bitcoin high.

He reflected that the future of Bitcoin in the financial ecosystem would remain unknown, pointing out that the cryptocurrency operates as an individual entity, not part of the central banking monopoly.

Lightning Network

In December and January, the Bitcoin network experienced congestion due to the newfound popularity of the currency, inevitably causing some concern for the future of the coin.

Compared to two years ago when fees were next to nothing, the reporter commented that “it takes forever to get it through the system” during congested periods.

“Since then the price has come down, the interest has come down and right now if you were to send a transaction it would be instant, comparable to many years ago, this is why we need more liquidity in the market,” came the reply.

A new scaling proposal is currently being rolled out for Bitcoin in the shape of the newly-developed Lightning network protocol. It effectively creates a layer on top of the blockchain, enabling fast and cheap transactions which can settle payments off the blockchain.


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