Category Archives: fintech

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Major Belarus Bank Considers Launching Crypto Exchange

Major Belarus Bank Considers Launching Crypto Exchange

The largest bank in Belarus, Belarusbank, is reportedly considering launching its own cryptocurrency exchange.

Speaking to local news outlet BelTA on 28 January, chairman of the bank Viktor Ananich first shared details of the firm’s exploration into the viability of setting up such an exchange.

Noting how quickly banking and traditional finance are changing, Ananich said launching the cryptocurrency exchange would be a way to keep ahead of the game, with digitization being a top focus for the bank in the coming year. He also outlined Balarusbank’s virtual cards scheme which will replace physical debit and credit cards in the next a few months.

Belarus is home to a number of other crypto-related enterprises, with the country benefiting from regulation formulated by the country’s own “Silicon Valley” at the Belarus High-Technologies Park (HTP). In November last year, cryptocurrency operators and startups offering initial coin offerings (ICO) in the country were granted transparent regulations for their operations, constructed by HTP.

The country’s technology hub benefits from close government links and support, with the sector recognized as one of the top-priority economic sectors for Belarus to develop. Last month, HTP completed a document it dubbed the country’s “second stage of cryptocurrency regulation“.

 

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1 in 3 Millennials View Bitcoin as Currency of Choice for Freelancers

1 in 3 Millennials View Bitcoin as Currency of Choice for Freelancers

The results of a recent survey into the preferences of American freelancers by P2P platform Humans.net has revealed that 29% of professionals in the US would be happy to receive either a full or part salary payment in cryptocurrency.

Among the 1,100 US respondents in the survey were self-employed professionals such as self-employed writers, tutors, designers, and developers, of which 4% were already in receipt of some form of salary, in either Bitcoin or Ethereum.

Some 18% of the respondents, who were chosen randomly and not pre-screened prior to selection, said that they would prefer to be paid in Bitcoin or another digital currency over a fiat salary. An additional 11% said that we would not be averse to some kind of partial payment comprising both cryptocurrency and fiat. This resulted in a 29% thumbs-up among survey respondents for some kind of crypto salary.

The age group of freelance professionals in this field is generally millennials based, such is the nature of innovation and design in fintech, attracting many college leavers. A new Clovr survey of investment potential, conducted in October, positioned high-earning millennials at the center stage when it comes to owning cryptocurrency.

These latest figures confirm the results of other surveys conducted this year, showing that it is millennials with money who appear to be taking on cryptocurrency in ever-increasing numbers. This is partly due to the lack of investment options in tradition areas. The Clovr study shows that it is those with annual incomes of between USD 75,000 and USD 99,999 that have become serious investors.

The number of those self-employed professionals looking toward a Bitcoin-based salary was illustrated by another recent survey conducted by British tech company, Sage, that highlighted the fact that across the Atlantic UK freelancers were also keen to receive some kind of crypto-fiat salary payment. The UK survey of 1,000 suggested that similar to the US survey, 31% of Brits would also go for a Bitcoin salary payment should it be offered. Darren Francis, who commissioned the survey commented:

“It’s interesting that more people were leaning towards the “all-in” option; having their sole or dominant income paid to them in cryptocurrency.”

The one emerging fact from the two surveys is that the dip in the value of Bitcoin over past weeks has done little to dampen millennials’ enthusiasm for acquiring the digital currency during this period of market instability, whether it be as part of their salary or a simple purchase. Bitcoin at time of writing is priced at USD 3,884.41 on CoinMarketCap.

 

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GM Extends Blockchain Use Case Beyond Fintech into Driverless Cars

GM Extends Blockchain Use Case Beyond Fintech into Driverless Cars

General Motors (GM) may be among the few legacy industries who are expanding the use case of blockchain technology beyond the financial sector. This interest became clear in a patent application submitted on Thursday submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The patent application published on 29 November by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), details how blockchain will be applied to manage interoperable data systems for automobiles. Focused on how self-driving cars would store and share data on a distributed ledger, the company wants to extend blockchain applications beyond the current fintech usage. The document reads:

“Blockchain technology while associated with use in the financial sector has applicability to the non-financial sector and in this case, for use with autonomous and non-autonomous vehicle technologies.”

The document further explains how data stored can be shared easily among the blockchain users. More so, the blockchain-based data has an intrinsic role to play in navigation, explaining:

“It is desirable to provide locations information and densities of vehicles in regions in an online blockchain ledger for interoperable information sharing between vehicles of participants for use in navigating routes.”

In the document, there’s also a proposed use to exchange data between municipalities, local authorities, and public facilities such as the airports. The essence here is to operate a seamless, verification system among the various entities. It states explicitly that they’ll “implement a common blockchain exchange… [for] validity of permits and licenses to operate as hacks, taxis, or other for-hire services”.

More so, the taxi ticketing industry can profit from it as it can use the blockchain’s perks in storing and sharing data on the immutable ledger.

GM has been making efforts to advance blockchain in the automobile industry. It’s part of a consortium called Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) set up to create a wholesome environment for the transition of the automobile industry into the blockchain space.

 

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China Warns Fintech Revolution Potentially At Risk Without Rules

China Warns Fintech Revolution Potentially At Risk Without Rules

The president of a major financial investment platform has suggested that the sheer numbers of fintech companies setting up in China represents a risk to the country’s development as a major hub because of lack of controls.

Vince Zhang, President of Phoenix Finance, was speaking on Day 3 of CNBC’s East Tech West on 29 November 2018 in Guangzhou. He suggested that many of the country’s fintech firms could be unsound due to lack of strict operating checks and balances, making them unsuitable in the long term for consumers. It is estimated that there are now tens of thousands of such companies operating in mainland China.

Zhang went on to say that this factor means that China’s fintech revolution is potentially at “a very big risk” due to this lack of competent management. He stated:

“A lot of companies are not [there] in terms of their business plan, in terms of their risk management process, in terms of their overall management… A lot of these corporate control mechanisms are not in place.”

Zang maintains that China’s so named “fintech revolution” has caused the numbers of fintech firms to swell over the past two years in a surge to attract unbanked consumers. He said that although other sectors may survive, he sees the financial sector in danger of coming under increased pressure: “For anything related to financial services, [it] is pretty dangerous.”

Phoenix Finance’s president suggests that better regulation is key to solving this potential problem and feels that the issue will get the attention from government regulators next year as the risks to China’s fintech developmental plans for the future become more evident. He argued that regulation will reduce the number of companies currently operating financial services:

“Without proper risk control mechanism personnel, without proper ways of communicating with regulation, it’s potentially becoming a very big risk going forward… I would predict in 2019 it’s becoming more regulated… There will be less and less players in this field.”

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the central government’s internet censor, is drafting a policy framework which, once formulated will be used for regulating blockchain projects in the country.

The new regulation, when established, will apply specifically to both individual and institutional providers of blockchain services, whether by laptop or mobile, referring to providers as “entities or nodes”.

 

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