Category Archives: Corda

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Four Major Euro Banks Collaborate to Use Corda R3 for Debt Solution

It’s been reported that four major European banks have used R3’s Corda platform to create a live transaction for their Euro Debt Solution.

The banks, Commerzbank, ING, Natixis, and Rabobank have adapted blockchain technology, according to a new Banking Tech report, by finding a solution to minimize operational costs and risks using R3. Corda is a distributed ledger platform that is the outcome of over two years of intense research and development by R3 and 80 of the world’s largest financial institutions.

The banks combined their individual strengths to develop the solution. Natixis as the issuer, Rabobank as the investor, while ING acts as both the dealer and escrow agent. Commerzbank, on the other hand, provides the pilot framework, software and distributed ledger network for the transaction which involved the issuance of a one-day maturity Euro Commercial Paper (ECP) worth EUR100,000 or more than $113,000. ING’s head of money market and central bank sales commented:

“This live trade lays the foundation for dealing ECP more efficiently and cost-effectively. It also marks the start of building an improved DLT platform that enables direct settlement and reduces operational risk and costs at the same time.”

Ripple’s XRP has become the banking system’s go-to transaction solution in the crypto sphere, but this use of the Corda platform demonstrates that Ripple has not got a complete stranglehold on the space for such payments.

R3 leads a consortium of more than 200 financial institutions in research and development of DLT usage in the financial system and other commercial sectors. Corda was designed for dealing with complex transactions and security and is expected to have many of the benefits of the blockchain. A new version of Corda was released earlier this year aimed specifically at businesses, called Corda Enterprise, it includes a blockchain applications firewall.

However, Ripple does appear to be growing from strength to strength following the company’s recent announcement that Japanese banking corporation Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFJ) Inc has struck a partnership with Brazilian bank Banco Bradesco for a new Ripple-based cross-border payments system.

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UK Big Bank NatWest to Leverage Syndicated Blockchain Loans

UK High Street Bank NatWest has announced that it plans to leverage DLT for the syndicated loans market within the next month.

Blockchain technology will be employed as a cost-effective way of streamlining communication between lenders in the loan market, according to the major retail and commercial bank.

Although syndicated loans around the world are worth 3.5 trillion pounds, NatWest has claimed that the process needs to be more efficient, suggesting that current practices are “inefficient, costly to operate and heavily reliant on manual processes.”

The Fusion platform due, to go live in November, was developed by blockchain consortium R3 and fintech company Finastra with its main focus to reduce the time it takes to set up syndicated loans, which require multiple lenders due to the large size of the loan.  Over recent years the risk-sharing nature of such loans has added to their popularity with lenders.

R3 has diversified its business lately and also works in a number of sectors outside of financial services. CEO David E. Rutter explained that the company’s open source blockchain platform Corda is the right one for this type of solution which needs a high degree of transparency:

“The syndicated lending industry relies on costly, manually-intensive processes, making it ripe for innovation with blockchain technology. Fusion LenderComm, powered by Corda, has been proven to address these issues.” Further adding, “We are investing in cutting-edge technologies and working with our suppliers and partners to deliver first class customer service and efficiency to a market that has not changed significantly in the last 20 years.”

From Fusion’s perspective, the whole process while now be far more efficient. Fusion VP Grant Jones expressed his assurance that the blockchain based solution would be able to clearly log lender-specific information on the blockchain and a make all relevant information available to lenders at the click of a mouse.

The United Kingdom has been somewhat a pioneer in the blockchain regulation space, with the Bank of England making significant strides having recently completed a DLT Proof-of-Concept. The UK is being touted as a nation with the capacity to lead the blockchain industry, which was a conclusion of a 960-page analysis from DAG Global, Deep Knowledge Analytics and the Big Innovation Center.


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Deutsche Boerse Becomes Second German Stock Exchange Embracing Crypto

Deutsche Boerse, the owner of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, is evaluating whether to offer cryptocurrency products, according to Bloomberg.

If this is the case, this will be the second German stock exchange to make announcements this year regarding a move towards the adoption of cryptocurrency related products, after Boerse Stuttgart Digital Adventures announced the release of its Bison app in April.

Jeffrey Tellsler, Deutsche Boerse’s head of clients products and core markets, spoke to an industry event in London organized by the Association for Financial Markets in Europe on Wednesday suggesting that the company was “deep at work with it”. Tellsler went on to comment:

“Before we move forward with anything like Bitcoin we want to make sure we understand the underlying transaction which isn’t the easiest thing to do.”

The company’s rivals in the US, Cboe Global Markets Inc and CME Group Inc, became involved in Bitcoin futures last November, and due to regional regulation, no European company had been able to follow suit until this latest move, although he did admit that as yet Boerse Deutsche wasn’t at the same level.

Germany, along with France who is more supportive of ICOs, has been vocal within the EU in supporting blockchain technology and has joined 21 other countries in supporting initiatives with the aim of reinforcing local innovation.

Last June, Deutsche Boerse revealed a plan to move the majority of its post-trade services to a blockchain, using Hyperledger’s open-source Fabric protocol to transfer securities and move commercial bank money.

The firm is clearly moving into the crypto space arena with some urgency, following its announcement in March of a securities lending platform using R3’s Corda blockchain technology. Tellsler explained that before they could proceed, the firm needed to ensure that they understood the volatility of the Bitcoin market, and made sure clients and regulators were in line before moving forward.

In a recent Sowa Labs survey of 1,019 German crypto traders, 16.9% owned a single cryptocurrency, while 18.2% confessed to owning several. Of the respondents, 81% were male, 19% were female, and 54% were 35 years old or younger. More than 80% of respondents opened their first trading account from 2017 onward.


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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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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 27th April to 3rd May 2018

Africa and the Middle East

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.

South Africa

Tax imposed on Bitcoin and other crypto: In a recent move, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will be subject to tax in the country.

While the move wasn’t seen as a positive one in cryptocurrency circles, some experts believed that it may not ultimately be a bad thing in the long term. According to Christine Rodrigues, a partner at Hogan Lovells, jurisdictions do not necessarily mean a slow-down in the cryptocurrency space.

He said, “The United Kingdom, as an example, has set up several cryptocurrency organisations to bring more legitimacy to the industry… Legitimate regulation on cryptocurrency may increase confidence on existing users and possibly induce an investor appetite for potential users and thereby cause a rise in demand and, as mentioned above, the more demand for and confidence in the commodity, the more value it will earn.”

The move follows weeks of consideration by the South African government to allow crypto communities to self-regulate but instead, the tax was imposed and the recommendations from the cryptocurrency startups wasn’t followed. But, while monetary taxes have been promulgated, the overall regulation of the cryptocurrencies may still be handled indigenously.

Luno helping South Africans pay Bitcoin tax: Capitalizing on the promulgation of the so-called Bitcoin Tax, blockchain startup Luno is now offering citizens to make fair returns on their investments in a transparent manner. Calculating taxes on cryptocurrency profits can be as complicated as that of the stock market because losses and profits are fluid and may even balance each other out at the end of one day.

The gains tax imposed by the South African government will apply to traders’ cryptocurrency earnings and Luno will help traders download their transaction history in CSV format, thus making the process smoother.


House of Representatives intends to regulate crypto and blockchain apps: Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is gearing up for cryptocurrency regulation with the the lower house of parliament tasking the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to come up with a regulatory framework for the adoption of cryptocurrencies in the country.

The move came after the assembly adopted a bill called ‘Need to regulate Blockchain applications and Internet Technology’ authored by MP Solomon Adaelu.

Nigeria’s attitude towards regulating cryptocurrency exchanges is not clear at the moment.


Authorities establish agency for monitoring crypto activities: Kenyan authorities have announced the establishment of an agency to monitor the cryptocurrency space in the country. While the Bitcoin and altcoin economy is seen as a big investment circle in the country, the Capital Markets Authority of the government is determined to bring these markets under its control.

The move follows similar decisions around the world including the establishment of a special task force in the UK for this exact purpose. It said in a statement this week:

“There is a need for regulators to devise a common approach towards handling issues revolving around cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs). A joint workgroup by financial sector regulators could be put in place to tackle issues around cryptocurrencies and ICOs.”


National bank joins 200 financial institutions’ R3 blockchain alliance: In a bid to promote the cryptocurrency scene in the country, the National Bank of Egypt has announced that it has recently joined the R3 Blockchain consortium with over 200 financial institutions around the world as its members.

The benefits of entering this collaboration include access to commercial applications of blockchain technology and using Corda, a custom Blockchain developed by the R3 initiative. According to Hisham Okasha, the NBE chairperson, it allows the bank to “better assess the value this technology can bring to the banking industry and the impact it can have on faster and more cost-effective services to our customers for future implementation.”

United Arab Emirates

Global crypto exchange for celebrities launched in Dubai: In a recent partnership aimed at expanding celebrity token footprint in the world, Global Crypto Offering Exchange (GCOX) has signed an MOU with Bin Zayed International in Dubai, UAE.

The celebrity exchange allows influencers to create, list and trade their own personal crypto tokens on a new blockchain called Acclaim.

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Bitcoin Ex-Dev Mike Hearn Says Bitcoin Cash “nowhere near radical enough”

One of the earliest Bitcoin developers, Mike Hearn, held an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit earlier today. Among other responses to the public AMA session, Hearn felt that Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was “nowhere near radical enough” as an alternative to Bitcoin. He further recommended that challengers to the world’s most used cryptocurrency “be willing to think radical, even heretical thoughts.”.

Hearn also expressed “alarm” at Bitcoin Cash’s planned hard fork, cautioning against a move without any “attempt to measure support or whether people are ready or even agree”.

Nevertheless, the former Bitcoin developer said that both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash held some interest for him. He said, “Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash show that disagreements can be ongoing and coexistent…  I’m interested enough to support (hold both coins) through the hardfork and still today.”.

Commenting yet again on the scaling issue for Bitcoin, Hearn insisted that cryptocurrency continues to face critical issues of invalid assumptions: that price was proportional to utility, and that miners and other participants were economically rational. He went on to say that future [Bitcoin] conflicts were unavoidable but suggested that they could be “contained and channelled”.

During the AMA, Hearn also detailed his current work on business blockchain platform Corda and denied having ever worked for British intelligence.

The developer who turned his back on Bitcoin

Hearn made his first public appearance in over two years after decidedly after famously abandoning the Bitcoin project in early 2016, formally signing off with a blog post entitled “The resolution of the Bitcoin experiment“. He cut a frustrated figure then, blaming infighting and network instability for his decision to leave after “the now inescapable conclusion that it [Bitcoin] has failed…”.

Nevertheless, when news of his AMA session surfaced on Wednesday, scores of redditors responded enthusiastically, indicating that much of Hearn’s popularity was intact.


Hearn Satoshi

Hearn joined Bitcoin development in 2010 while still a Google employee. He conversed regularly with Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, and was the source of new e-mail correspondence with Satoshi that resurfaced in August 2017. Previously not public, they revealed Hearn’s curiosity with the Bitcoin software and showed that his infamous concern with scalability had started very early on.

Although best known for his role in the so-called “Bitcoin civil war” as scaling debates intensified in 2015, Hearn is noted for building the BitcoinJ Java implementation of Bitcoin. He is widely credited with helping build and popularize Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) wallets which today is used by many to transact in Bitcoin on mobile devices. He also claims to have written the first documentation on smart contracts.


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