IBM Hints at Stablecoin Cross-Border Payments Solution for Financial Institutions

The head of blockchain solutions for IBM, Jesse Lund, has hinted that bank-targeted stablecoins will be a major forthcoming development for the tech giant’s blockchain-powered cross-border payments solution. Lund made his remarks during an interview on financial news channel Cheddar on March 15.

While more details are set to be imminently announced next week, Lund told Cheddar that “market demand” is driving IBM to develop a stablecoin solution for financial institutions.

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Crypto Exchange Bittrex Cancels Its First ‘Initial Exchange Offering’

United States crypto exchange Bittrex has cancelled its first token sale, dubbed an Initial Exchange Offering (IEO), which it had been planning to host on its Malta-based counterpart, Bittrex International. The news was announced in an official statement published on March 14.

Earlier this week, Bittrex International had announced plans to host the IEO today, March 15, allowing investors to use Bitcoin (BTC) to purchase “XRD” tokens, developed by international gaming data blockchain project, Raid.

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Google Deletes Crypto Malware Targeting Blockchain.com

A Google Chrome browser extension tricking users into participating in a fake airdrop from cryptocurrency exchange Huobi claimed over 200 victims, a security researcher reported in a blog post on March 14.

The extension for Chrome web browser, with the name NoCoin, gained 230 downloads before Google deleted it, according to Harry Denley, who runs cryptocurrency scam database EtherscamDB.

Denley noted that hackers had purposely disguised the malicious extension to look like a tool protecting users from cryptocurrency malware or so-called cryptojacking.

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Businesses Increasingly See Crypto Mining Attacks in Cloud Infrastructures

Cryptocurrency mining is reportedly one of the most observed objectives of hackers attacking businesses’ cloud infrastructures, according to a report by AT&T Cybersecurity on March 14.

The cybersecurity wing of United States telecoms firm AT&T stated that organizations of all sizes continue to face major crypto mining attacks despite the ongoing bear market.

In the new report, AT&T examined the most significant forms of cryptojacking associated with mining attacks on organizations’ cloud infrastructure.

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Intercontinental Stock Exchange Seemingly to Expand Cryptocurrency Data Feed

Intercontinental Stock Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) hinted it was adding a slew of new coins to its Cryptocurrency Data Feed in a tweet on March 14.

Launched in January 2018, the Cryptocurrency Data Feed is a service offering real-time digital currency information, covering prices and order books. The platform was introduced following a partnership between ICE and Bitcoin (BTC) and blockchain technology company Blockstream.

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Insurance Giant AXA XL Launches Security Token and Crowdfunding Insurance Service

Insurance giant AXA XL and insurance technology startup Assurely have jointly launched a new insurance product covering equity crowdfunding and Security Token Offerings (STOs).

The new product dubbed CrowdProtector is designed for issuers and investors, and purportedly protects new online capital formation strategies like equity crowdfunding and STOs. The product also aims increase trust, confidence and safety to potential investors guaranteeing that the issuer is insured. According to Ty Sagalow, CEO of Assurely, the parties have managed to increase underwriting.

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Venezuelans Trade $60 Million in BTC in 2019

Bitcoin (BTC) trading volumes on LocalBitcoins, a leading peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency exchange, have increased significantly in countries suffering from political and economic uncertainty.

Since the beginning of this year (January 1st, 2019), 160 billion bolivars (appr. $63 million) worth of bitcoins have been traded on LocalBitcoins by Venezuela’s citizens. In the past week, a record 25.16 billion bolivars in BTC were transacted via LocalBitcoins by Venezuelan residents.

In the past year, bitcoin trading volume in Venezuela through LocalBitcoins has been increasing steadily and has now reached an average of 2,000 BTC per month.

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IBM Reveals Two Further Blockchain Patents for Security And Database Management

Multinational computing giant IBM is adding to its stack of blockchain patents with two new applications, the United States Patent and Trademark Office confirmed, publishing documents on March 5.

According to one patent document, IBM now seeks to target network security using blockchain technology. A second patent focuses on database management using the tech.

“Securing a data log using monitor security protocols may be accomplished with different levels of security, ranging from low security to high security, and have various combinations of hardware and software configurations,” the description of the first blockchain patent explains:

“Low security may allow open access to the event logs while high security may significantly restrict access to the event logs.

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Smart Contract Firm Quantstamp Reveals Investment From Financial Giant Nomura

United States smart contract security company Quantstamp has announced its expansion to Japan following an investment from local financial giant Nomura Holdings. The news was revealed in a press release from Quantstamp published on March 6.

According to the announcement, the U.S. firm has received a “significant investment” from Nomura, which provides investment, financing and related services to individual, institutional and government customers. Venture company Digital Garage, which invests in successful internet startups across the world, reportedly also contributed to the round.

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Germany Proposes Launching State-Run Electronic Register for Blockchain Sector

Germany’s justice and finance ministries have proposed to launch a state-run register to boost the use of blockchain, Reuters reports on Friday, March 8.

According to the Reuters, the seven-page initial guidelines offer to create a register to regulate the sector and protect investors from possible abuses. The document reportedly states that regulation in the sphere could contribute to the development of the technology behind cryptocurrencies, along with enhancing Germany’s position in financial markets.

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Singapore Launches Pilot of TradeTrust Blockchain Shipping Initiative

The Singapore government will press ahead with a pilot of its blockchain-based maritime trade platform TradeTrust through an official partnership, trade news outlet Asia Middle East Maritime Focus reported on March 7.

TradeTrust, which aims to leverage blockchain to streamline complex manual processes involved in international shipping, will first focus on blockchain-powered electronic bills of lading (EB-Ls).

Processing the essential trade document can often incur long time spans and considerable extra costs using paper-based methods.

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Google added six new blockchain datasets

A new raft of crypto and blockchain analytics tools has just been launched by search giant Google. They will provide deep data sets for the top cryptocurrencies and aim to revolutionize blockchain search as the company did for information on the internet.

Over the past year Google Cloud has released blockchain transaction history datasets for Bitcoin and Ethereum. Yesterday the company announced the release of six more datasets in addition to a deeper set of queries that enables multi-chain meta-analyses and integration with conventional financial record processing systems.

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Two ethereum hard forks are likely to happen this week

The developers of Ethereum have confirmed that the two hard forks – Constantinople and St. Petersburg – are scheduled to take place this week. Constantinople was delayed last month for security vulnerability issues.

According to the February 22nd announcement, both the forks are set to be executed at Ethereum’s block number 7,280,000 and the developers are expecting that the block will be mined on February 28th. However, considering the unexpected mining scenarios, the set block can also be achieved a day or two before or after the scheduled date.

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Is Rakuten moving toward crypto payments?

The latest version of Japan-based e-commerce giant Rakuten’s mobile pay app may support cryptocurrency payments, according to the company’s 2018 earnings report presentation.

The new version of the app, called Rakuten Pay, will be released on March 18th, and will support “all payments solutions embedded into one platform.” Rakuten has been accepting Bitcoin as a payment option through its American portal, Rakuten.com, since March 2015.

In January, Rakuten revealed that its cryptocurrency exchange, “Everybody’s Bitcoin,” had been incorporated as part of the company’s new payments subsidiary, Rakuten Payment.

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Waste management company launches blockchain platform in UAE

A blockchain-enabled waste permit portal will be launched in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the country’s official news agency, Emirates News Agency (WAM), reported on Feb. 17.

The blockchain-based waste permit portal will be jointly developed by environmental, recycling and waste management company Bee’ah and the Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA) — the city of Sharjah’s free trade zone. According to WAM, the platform is the first in the city to employ blockchain technology to validate, process and store transactions.

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Bitmain Announces Energy-Efficient ASIC Chip for Mining Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash

Chinese mining giant and ASIC hardware producer Bitmain has announced its next generation 7nm (nanometer) ASIC mining chip, according to a press release published on Monday, Feb. 18.

The new mining hardware, BM1397, is designed for mining cryptocurrencies that use the SHA256 algorithm for their proof-of-work (PoW), such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

BM1397 requires less power for mining cryptocurrencies, representing a 28.6 percent improvement in power efficiency in comparison with the company’s previous 7nm chip, BM1391.

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Major crypto brokerage Coinmama reports 450,000 users affected by data breach

Israel-based crypto brokerage Coinmama — which allows users to purchase Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) using a credit card — has suffered a major data breach affecting 450,000 of its users. The incident was disclosed in an official company announcement on Feb. 15.

The breach is reportedly part of a mammoth, multi-platform hack that affected 24 companies and a total of 747 million records — among them gaming, travel booking and streaming sites.

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Public transport facilities in 37 localities across Argentina now accept Bitcoin

Public transport facilities in 37 localities across Argentina will now accept Bitcoins, thanks to a collaboration between Alto Viaje, who provide the travelcard-loading platform, and Bitex, a fintech company.

Manuel Beaudroit, CMO of Bitex, explained:

“We believe that this type of project is of great importance since it brings technology as disruptive as bitcoin to the common people, demonstrating the true value and the applications it has in everyday life.”

Argentina is in the middle of a financial crisis right now.

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Google Cloud Analyzes Coin Concentration, Adds Six Crypto Datasets

Google Cloud, a distributed computing service, has added several new cryptocurrencies to its data collections. The service originally introduced Bitcoin data in February 2018, and it followed up on that with the addition of Ethereum data last summer.

Now, six more altcoins—Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Dogecoin, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, and Zcash—have been added to the service. These additions mean that large-scale crypto analysis is more feasible than ever. The aforementioned datasets are now available to the public, but Google Cloud has already done some work with the datasets on its own.

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$1.4 Billion Raised via ICOs in Q4 2018

Initial coin offerings (ICOs) in Q4 2018 raised 25 percent less than in Q3, while the total amount of completed ICOs increased, according to a report by ICO rating service ICObench shared with Cointelegraph on Feb. 6.

The number of ICOs completed in Q4 increased to 594 from 554 in Q3, the report says. With that, the number of ICO projects that did not raise funds has also increased in Q4, while the number of successfully completed ICO projects remained equal.

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