Category Archives: NEM

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Coincheck Granted Exchange License a Year After Major Hack

Coincheck Granted Exchange License a Year After Major Hack

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck has been granted an operating license a year from its notorious hack that resulted in a loss of USD 530 million.

Effective immediately as of 11 January 2019, Coincheck is now registered with the Kanto Financial Bureau. This will be its first time operating as a licensed cryptocurrency exchange.

In January 2018, Coincheck suffered a security breach which resulted in the theft of USD 530 million in New Economy Movement (NEM) tokens. The firm has said that it has since then adequately addressed any and all security concerns with the platform.

In order to receive the license, Coincheck was required to meet both Japan’s regulatory requirements and prove to the regulators that internal controls had been established to adequately protect investors on its platform. Coincheck claims it has established ”concrete internal controls” and a ”basic philosophy on risk management” to ensure another breach will not take place.

The management of the exchange has also been adjusted, with chief executive officer Koichiro Wada and chief operating officer Yusuke Otsuka both being replaced within the company. Privacy coins such as Dash and Monero were required to be delisted from the platform before it received its license, with the Japanese regulators citing that they failed to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.

Even with an official license granted, Coincheck will still have to win back its reputation to bring in new traders and re-establish itself as a secure platform.

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EU’s Free Trade Infrastructure Needs a Lift From Blockchain

EU’s Free Trade Infrastructure Needs A Lift From Blockchain

The European Parliament has published a document ‘Blockchain: a forward-looking trade policy,’ which continues to push forward the adoption of DLT in EU trade.

As a provisional resolution, the document sets out a scenario by which the free trade agreements (FTAs) currently enjoyed by member states could be used to bolster blockchain technology. The document states:

“EU FTAs have large untapped potential and have yet to be fully utilized. Blockchain has the potential to support the TSD agenda by providing trust in the provenance of raw materials and goods, transparent production processes and supply chains.”

Although no policy changes are suggested, the EU resolution does advocate a set of guidelines by which blockchain might provide industry, customs, and regulatory authorities with a degree of legal certainty. The resolution wants more clarification on how economic efficiency can be legally enhanced across Europe supply chain and infrastructure logistics. The document states:

“The EU has an opportunity to become a leading actor in the field of blockchain and international trade, and that it should be an influential actor in shaping its development globally, together with international partners.”

The resolution noted that FTAs in the EU was underutilized with only 67 percent of EU exporters and 90 percent of EU importers making use of the preferential tariffs. It emphasized that blockchain could help improve these trade policies.

Last month, the formation of  “Blockchain for Europe” association was revealed, naming Ripple, NEM, EMURGO/Cardano and Fetch.AI as founding members.

A Finextra press release describes the association as “the first credible attempt” to establish a “unified voice” for the European blockchain industry. It argues that policy debates are “fragmented – with inconsistent information from those outside the blockchain sector challenging consensus within it.”

The four members of Blockchain for Europe are taking it upon themselves to educate EU and member-state institutions on the “true nature and potential of the distributed ledger (DLT) and blockchain technology.” Like many of the associations before it, Blockchain for Europe echoes concerns with regards to regulations and desires to establish ones that promote innovation in the region.

Also, four major European banks recently 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.

This month seven EU member states signed their own declaration calling for the promotion of DLT’s use in the region. The declaration was co-signed by Malta, Italy, France, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, and Greece.

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“Blockchain for Europe” Formed with Ripple as 1 of 4 Founders

“Blockchain for Europe” Formed with Ripple as 1 of 4 Founders

The formation of a “Blockchain for Europe” association has been revealed by a press release which names Ripple, NEM, EMURGO/Cardano and Fetch.AI as the founding members.

Representation

Published on UK-based technology and finance news website Finextra on 5 Dec, the press release describes that association as “the first credible attempt” to establish a “unified voice” for the European blockchain industry. It argues that policy debates are “fragmented – with inconsistent information from those outside the blockchain sector challenging consensus within it”.

As such, the four members of Blockchain for Europe are taking it upon themselves to educate EU and member-state institutions on the “true nature and potential of distributed ledger (DLT) and blockchain technology”. Like many of the associations before it, Blockchain for Europe echoes concerns with regards to regulations and desires to establish ones that promotes innovation in the region.

Associations in action

There are some merits to the existence of so-called associations as they can often be catalysts for positive change, which is done by pushing pro-blockchain agendas for multiple facets of the industry. They can also function as a means to signal how invested a particular part of the world is in the technology whilst providing direct support for startups and educating bureaucrats and lawmakers.

For example, Mexico recently established its first blockchain consortium that wishes to make uses of the technology safer, reduce crime-related uses of the tech, provide public education and so on. Additionally, the Korean Blockchain Association strives to bring the legalization of domestic initial coin offerings (ICOs) to fruition, a topic that is of great concern to industry heads and the government over fears of startups seeking ICO-friendly jurisdictions.

For Europe

The association is ambitiously setting out to “shape the global agenda on blockchain”. Having already hosted the Blockchain for Europe Summit in November, where international stakeholders discussed healthcare, transport, trade, tokens, cryptocurrencies and more, the association is prepping to make 2019 and formative one.

Commenting in the press release, Dan Morgan, Ripple’s European Head of Regulatory Relations said: “This is a critical time for policymakers in Europe as they seek to develop the right regulatory framework to capture the benefits of both digital assets and blockchain technology.”

Unlike some governing entities around the world, Blockchain for Europe may not be coming up against egregious skepticism. Generally speaking, the EU has positioned itself as a cautious yet optimistic advocate of blockchain technologies. An October meeting in Strasbourg, France, saw Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) debate on how to create “legal certainty” for blockchain, and furthermore, enthusiastically discuss the potential of blockchain.

Additionally, the vice president of the European Commission famously stated that “crypto-assets are here to stay”, offering a positive outlook to startups and enterprises that are venturing into the cryptocurrency and ICO sector of the blockchain industry.

Also offering his thoughts, Manmeet Singh, CIO at EMURGO said: “…we are very keen to work with the European institutions in crafting the rules and regulations which will enable blockchain technology to thrive globally.”

 

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Coinbase Lauds Japanese Crypto License Hurdles

The chief policy officer of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has praised Japan’s tightened regulatory stance on the cryptocurrency industry, saying that the exchange’s longer-than-expected waiting period to receive its operating license is a good thing.

Mike Lempres spoke with local financial news outlet Nikkei Asian Review where he supported Japan’s increased security measures on the industry, saying that “[It] is good for us”.

The increased regulations that he references include Japan’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) intensification of security requirements from cryptocurrency exchanges since January’s largest reported hack that hit Japanese platform Coincheck. USD 532 million in the NEM cryptocurrency was stolen in the incident.

New cryptocurrency exchanges are now required to go through a more enhanced clearing process before they can legally operate, with 160 apparently waiting to receive their licenses.

According to Lempres, talks with Japan’s leading financial watchdog are ”going well” and Coinbase is committed to its target of launching in Japan by 2019. The exchange has been actively looking to enter the Japanese market since June, giving the timeframe of one year for this to materialize.

Terms of the agreement are being decided

One key area of the licensing agreement still being negotiated is whether Coinbase will be required to operate internally in Japan. According to Lempres, if the FSA requires it, it will certainly be problematic for the exchange’s security measures as they currently operate from the US.

”It would be hard for us to duplicate what we do in the US today in Japan and other countries,” he explained, noting that Coinbase has dozens of security-focused employees working from its California headquarters.

While 99% of funds are stored offline, he says, 1% is held in a so-called ”hot wallet” online which is fully insured.

 

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Ukraine Election Trials Have Begun on NEM Blockchain

A Ukraine election official shared in a Facebook post on Tuesday that the commission’s experiments with the NEM blockchain voting trial for use in the country’s elections have gone live successfully.

The head of the country’s voter registry at the Central Election Commission of Ukraine, Oleksandr Stelmakh, commended the immutability of hosting elections on the blockchain, as well as the improved security benefits of the decentrally-hosted data. The social media post notes that the commission was continuing a series of trials that apply blockchain technology to electoral voting.

He noted that the test run utilized these properties in saving the responses to the ballots, as well as the voters’ personal information. The test vote used 28 nodes with the NEM blockchain.