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Crypto derivatives platform BitMEX and provider of crypto data CryptoCompare will jointly build a real-time crypto futures dataset, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on June 10.

The BitMEX cryptocurrency futures dataset is designed for institutional investors, and will be delivered to financial markets data provider Refinitiv through the CryptoCompare contributions conduit. The tool will eventually be integrated into the Refinitiv Eikon, a set of software products for financial professionals to monitor and analyze financial information.

The product is set to increase transparency and confidence in the cryptocurrency markets and subsequently attract greater institutional participation in the digital asset class. Commenting on the initiative, BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes said:

“When it comes to trading, good decision-making depends on access to solid data insights. We are pleased to deliver a new wealth of data on cryptocurrency futures for institutional investors that can contribute to their overall confidence throughout their decision-making process.”

CryptoCompare initially entered into a partnership with information company Thomson Reuters last July to provide order book and trade data on 50 cryptocurrencies for the Eikon platform.

At the time, CryptoCompare founder and CEO Charles Hayter stated that as the markets mature, they had seen rising interest from institutional investors.

In April, Nasdaq added Brave New Coin’s XRP Price Index to its global data service, having added Brave New Coin’s Bitcoin Liquid Index (BLX) and Ethereum Liquid Index (ELX) in February.


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The Dubai Land Department (DLD) and telecoms firm Etisalat have signed a memorandum of understanding concerning real estate blockchain technology, United Arab Emirates-based outlet Gulf Today reported on June 10.

The DLD works under the Executive Council of Dubai in real estate-related services, while Etisalat is a multinational, Emirati firm that serves 15 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Both parties have said they aim to implement smart government standards and introduce paperless management and digital contracts for property transactions.
Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, DLD’s director general, said the agreement is part of an ambition to make Dubai “the smartest city in the world.”

Gulf Today notes that the MoU has the goal of improving registration and verification processes, speeding up transactions while keeping all parties involved safe.

As reported by Cointelegraph, a blockchain platform built by one of the United Arab Emirates’ two telecoms operators was officially endorsed by the government back in April.

Last month, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) released a report detailing several blockchain use cases relevant to the real estate industry. The reported stated that the technology has the potential to make land registries trustless, increase transparency and make it easier to transfer properties.

In April, two major British banks, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland, joined a blockchain trial designed to streamline real estate purchases.


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Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, is considering imposing administrative responsibility for the mining of cryptocurrencies, local news outlet TASS reported on June 7.

In an interview with TASS, Anatoly Aksakov, the chairman of the State Duma Committee on the Financial Market, said that the government may introduce administrative responsibility for digital currency mining by the end of June. Aksakov stated:

“I note that any operations with cryptocurrency that are contrary to the Russian legislation will be considered illegitimate. This means that mining, organizing issuance, circulation, creating exchange points for these tools will be prohibited. Administrative liability in the form of a fine will be incurred for such actions. We believe that cryptocurrencies created on open blockchains such as bitcoins, ethers, and others are illegitimate tools.”

Aksakov, however, stressed that despite the mining ban in Russia, it is still possible to own bitcoin (BTC) if it was acquired under foreign law at foreign sale and exchange points.

He also suggested that a mainstream interest in bitcoin could appear again once the speed of transactions increases.

Russia’s major crypto bill, “On Digital Financial Assets,” had been approved by the Russian parliament in May 2018, but was subsequently sent back to the first reading stage after reports of its lack of major key concepts such as crypto mining, cryptocurrencies, and tokens.

Russia has since further postponed the adoption of the crypto legislation due to a requirement from the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) concerning the addition of the crypto-related terms.

Earlier in June, Lyudmila Novoselova, chairman at the Court for Intellectual Rights of Russian Federation and a judge at the Supreme Arbitration Court, had also argued that the term digital assets should be included in the Russian Civil Law.


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G20 finance ministers and central bank governors have asked the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and global standard-setting organizations to monitor risks around crypto assets. The request was made in a joint communiqué published on the website of Japan’s Ministry of Finance on June 9, following the G20 meeting held in Fukuoka, Japan.
The leaders that cosigned the document state that they urge relevant institutions to give greater consideration to crypto assets and consider appropriate action:

“We ask the FSB and standard setting bodies to monitor risks and consider work on additional multilateral responses as needed.”

The joint statement also points out that “technological innovations, including those underlying crypto-assets, can deliver significant benefits to the financial system and the broader economy.” This exact sentence was also included in the document released after the G20 summit held in July last year in Buenos Aires. After expressing such optimism, the authors of the paper also raised concerns over those technologies:

“While crypto assets do not pose a threat to global financial stability at this point, we remain vigilant to risks, including those related to consumer and investor protection, anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT).”

The latest statement notes that the involved parties look forward to the adoption of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Interpretive Note and guidance on crypto assets “at its [FATF’s] plenary later this month.” The leaders also state that they reaffirm their commitment to applying the recently amended FATF standards for crypto.

The document also states that the finance ministers and central bank governors welcome work concerning crypto carried out by international regulatory bodies, the International Organization of Securities Commissions and the FSB.

As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, which has “engaged directly with global regulators,” noted that it would be surprising if the involved parties agree on something new during the G20 summit this year.

In April, Japanese media reported that during the meeting of central bank governors and finance ministers in Fukuoka, leaders were expected to establish new AML regulations.


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The captains regent of the Republic of San Marino, Nicola Selva and Michele Muratori, have issued a governmental decree on blockchain tech for businesses, according to a recent document.

The new decree outlines procedures for registering a blockchain-based organization with the “Istituto per l’Innovazione della Repubblica di San Marino,” or San Marino Innovation Institute. 

According to the decree, blockchain-based organizations in the Republic of San Marino, the EU, or any country not classified as “high risk” and also considered relevant to the purview of San Marino legislation, may apply for registration with the institute.

The institute sets out to provide regulatory certainty, as well as supervision and enforcement of those regulations — and an anti-money laundering (AML) policy — particularly for initial token offerings (ITOs or ICOs). The institute distinguishes between utility tokens and security tokens with respect to ITOs, which are defined as follows:

”Utility tokens … shall be regarded as vouchers for the purchase of services or goods offered by the Blockchain Entity… Security tokens … shall be digital assets which represent, alternatively, depending on the underlying instrument: a) participating instruments of the issuer; b) debt securities of the issuer.”

The decree also includes tax policies for utility tokens and security tokens. Utility tokens, notably, will be treated as foreign currency for tax purposes. Security tokens, on the other hand, will be treated as participating equity instruments or debt securities, depending on the nature of the security token. Lastly, both types of token will be exempt from standard income tax for the purpose of “income generated through operations” using the tokens.
As previously reported by Cointelegraph Italy, the decree was initially presented in Milan on February 28.

In the United States, a member of congress recently testified before the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee. Congressman Ted Budd argued that cryptocurrencies should have the same de minimis tax exemption accorded to foreign currencies.


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Brazilian banks will be implementing a new standardized blockchain identity solution powered by the Hyperledger Fabric-platform, Cointelegraph Brazil reported on June 2.

The identity solution — co-developed by IBM and the country’s central bank, CIP — is reportedly to be integrated into the Brazilian Payment System (SPB) — a system used by all banks and financial institutions in the country.

The new blockchain platform has reportedly been designed to authenticate and verify digital identities for users’ bank accounts by using an individual’s mobile phone and SIM card information in combination with other smartphone-derived personal data.

Cointelegraph Brazil reports that the combined data will be used to generate a secure ID recorded on a blockchain that can be used by institutions to authenticate access credentials.

Both IBM and the central bank have reportedly confirmed that a new bank-focused blockchain platform will be launched during major Latin American banking technology event CIAB Febraban on June 11. Neither have officially confirmed the full details of the product, however.
Once launched, the platform is expected to be the first multi-institution banking solution powered by blockchain, Cointelegraph Brazil notes. 

As recently reported, prominent Brazlian bank, Banco Bradesco, joined enterprise blockchain consortium R3’s Marco Polo blockchain network for trade finance this May. Bradesco is among Brazil’s leading banks, with total assets worth $338.2 billion and a market capitalization of $49.1 billion.

In February, a Cointelegraph analysis piece reported on the burgeoning development of blockchain-based digital ID platforms across the banking and corporate sectors worldwide.

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Global settlement firm OKLink, a sister company of major cryptocurrency exchange OKEx, will launch its stablecoin today, June 3, an OKEx representative told Cointelegraph.
In an email sent to Cointelegraph, the OKEx rep specified that the stablecoin — dubbed USDK — will be launched today in partnership with United States-based custodian Prime Trust.

On June 2, OKLink posted scans of the agreement between OKLink and Prime Trust on Twitter.
At the end of last month, Star Xu — founder of exchange services provider OKCoin and OKEx — announced OK Group’s partnership with the trust company and plans to launch a stablecoin.

Prime Trust is also one the trust companies that manages the escrow accounts holding collateral for competitor stablecoin, TrueUSD.

The firm is also reportedly the partner that enables fiat trading on the U.S.-based version of top cryptocurrency exchange Huobi.

OKEx is currently the world’s second largest crypto exchange by adjusted daily trade volumes, seeing $1.8 billion in trades over the past 24 hours to press time.

As Cointelegraph reported in March, OKEx is developing its own decentralized exchange (DEX) and blockchain, called OKChain. The chain is reportedly already in the final development stage and the company expects to launch the testnet this month.

Yesterday, Cointelegraph reported that the so-dubbed decentralized exchange developed by major cryptocurrency exchange Binance will block access to users based in 29 countries. The DEX informs potential users of the restriction via a message that appears when accessing the platform from one of the blocked regions.


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It is easy to think of the most prominent blockchain advocates as a united front, whose ranks are tightly closed in the face of the common enemy — a horde of fierce crypto critics, unwieldy regulators, anti-money laundering zealots, “bitcoin is a scam”-ers, and the stakeholders of the old, centralized financial system. On this battlefield, the crypto camp’s fundamental positions are aligned, and its strategic goals are clear. However, in the times of armistice, blockchain champions get together by the campfire to ponder the important details of their common cause, and — astonishingly — at times, they disagree.
This time around, the metaphorical campfire was lit at the MIT Technology Review's Business of Blockchain 2019 conference, which took place on May 2 on the premises of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab. One of the panels saw Caitlin Long — the woman who is spearheading Wyoming’s transformation into what she herself called the “Delaware of crypto law” — have a deferential yet rather intense exchange with Coin Center’s director of research, Peter Van Valkenburgh, one of the industry’s most eloquent speakers who is known for many notable deeds — for example, standing up for crypto to a bully last October.
The panel, which also featured MIT professor and former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Gary Gensler, was on crypto regulation, and the main point of contention was whether it is better done on the federal or state level. While they were ultimately concerned about the same thing — i.e., the backwardness of the United States’ regulatory environment that can chase promising startups away to more friendly jurisdictions — Long and Van Valkenburgh offered two drastically different visions of the best way to go about the issue.

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Head of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Sheila Warren, claims that blockchain could be a solution to the worsening trust crisis globally. Warren made her comments during an interview with Cointelegraph on May 31.

During the interview, Warren claimed that public trust towards governments, banks, media and institutions, namely in the U.S., is “rapidly eroding.” She then noted that she thinks that blockchain, if used correctly, can be a solution to this problem:

“This technology could provide access to information that could enable third parties or other groups to actually come in and conduct audits of what is happening. And I actually think that could build faith back in institutions.”

Warren then continued explaining that she believes the implementation of such auditable systems would be laborious but being able to prove the fairness of public processes and the authenticity of various media would bring vast benefits. She also said that — if not solved — the trust crisis she referenced will have far reaching consequences:

“In my opinion that [erosion of public trust] is one of the biggest crises we face. Because you’re going to rapidly move towards anarchy and that is a deep, deep problem.”

Warren also admitted that had owned some bitcoin (BTC) “almost as a joke,” but she did not make the connection between bitcoin and blockchain for quite some time and it wasn’t until later that he learned about blockchain. She noted:

“It took about another three years from when we first bought bitcoin for me to understand what blockchain was.”

Warren also pointed out that the six councils recently formed by the WEF, dedicated to the fourth industrial revolution — which are also dedicated to blockchain technology — are also meant to be a trusted place for world leaders to experiment and share their challenges, concerns and success stories involving technology.

At the beginning of the current month, news broke that the WEF has teamed up with over 100 global supply chain and logistics leaders to standardize blockchain apps in the industry.


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United States-based blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis claims that 64% of ransomware attack cash-out strategies involve the laundering of funds via cryptocurrency exchanges. The data was revealed in a Chainalysis webinar attended by Cointelegraph on May 30.

A ransomware attack involves the infection of a target with malware and the demand of a ransom payment — frequently denominated in cryptocurrencies. The payment is demanded in return for the ostensible delivery of a decryptor tool that can help victims recover access to their data.

Chainalysis — which provides blockchain analytics tools that enable firms, governments and law enforcement to monitor blockchain transactions and track suspected illicit activities — claims that 64% of ransomware attackers launder their ill-gotten funds via crypto exchanges.

Chainalysis has ostensibly identified 38 exchanges — without disclosing their names — that directly received funds from an address associated with a ransomware attack.

Among other ransomware cash-out strategies analyzed, 12% involved mixing services and 6% involved peer-to-peer networks, while others went via merchant services providers or dark web marketplaces. 9% of ransomware proceeds reportedly remain unspent.

The analysis also noted that ransomware attacks typically involve less complex cash-out networks as compared with crypto exchange hacks. Chainalysis argued that this is because a hack often involves a large amount of money leaving a known exchange, often attracting high media publicity, and requiring that hackers conceal the flow of funds more robustly.

By contrast, ransomware campaigns typically involve smaller discrete sums to multiple addresses and are ostensibly less publicized, thereby avoiding intense, immediate scrutiny.

In addition to cash-out strategies, Chainalysis also identified a shift in the ransomware threat landscape. Previous trends, according to the firm, had been to conduct wide and shallow attacks — infecting a large amount of indeterminate victims and seeking small amounts as a ransom to decrypt files. Recent trends, however,  indicate that criminals are shifting to targets with legally or politically sensitive data, as well as raising the amount of ransom payment demanded.

As recently reported, Coveware’s Q1 2019 Global Ransomware Marketplace report revealed that bitcoin (BTC) continues to account for the lion’s share — 98% — of crypto-denominated ransomware payments. The report, echoing Chainalysis’ claims, found that the average sum demanded had risen 89% from a median $6,733 in Q4 2018 to $12,762 in Q1 2019.


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11
Raiffeisenbank, a Russian subsidiary of Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), has developed a corporate blockchain platform, the bank announced in a press release on May 31.

Targeting holding firms, the new blockchain platform claims to automate settlements by corporate clients and enable a trusted network for sharing data between a group of companies, the press release notes. Specifically, the product reportedly automates the process of supply settlements between buyers and suppliers, as well as providing tools for financial management.

While the product was reportedly developed by Raiffeisenbank at the request of major local sleep products manufacturer Askona Life Group, the new blockchain platform is available for the bank’s other corporate clients.

Evgeniy Kirillov, investment manager at Askona Life Group, claimed that Raiffeisenbank’s blockchain product allowed the company to reduce labor costs by more than 40%, as well as to reduce human error risks to zero.

Previously, Raiffeisenbank had partnered with Russian government-owned oil giant Gazprom Neft to issue a bank guarantee on blockchain.

Raiffeisenbank’s Austrian parent company RBI had also recently announced a blockchain trade finance pilot based on blockchain consortium R3’s Corda enterprise blockchain platform Marco Polo. The platform counts major global banking institutions, including BNP Paribas, ING and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, among those using its services.


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Major United States-based cloud software firm Salesforce, has introduced its own blockchain platform, the firm said in a live stream on May 29.

The new product, Salesforce Blockchain, is based on the firm’s own application builder Salesforce Lightning and open source blockchain technology by Hyperledger.

Salesforce Blockchain is a low-code blockchain platform that provides companies with the tools to build smart contracts, app and networks in order to share verified data using distributed ledger technology (DLT). The product also enables the automation of a number of processes based on artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms.

Currently available to selected partners, Salesforce Blockchain platform has reportedly been implemented by American institutions, including market intelligence firm S&P Global, leading global provider of advanced analytics IQVIA, and Arizona State University. Salesforce expects to roll out its blockchain platform to the general public in 2020.

Previously, Salesforce acquired a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to detect spam emails using blockchain technology.

Recently, Hyperledger introduced a set of tools to improve the interoperability of different types of blockchain-based data. Dubbed “Hyperledger Aries,” the set of tools purportedly enables an efficient exchange of blockchain data, supports peer-to-peer messaging and facilitates interactions between different blockchains and other distributed ledger technologies.


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13
Global securities services provider ABN AMRO Clearing has signed a contract to provide European mobile investment platform BUX with blockchain technology for a forthcoming commission-free stock trading mobile app. The news was revealed in a BUX news release on May 29.

According to the news release, ABN AMRO Clearing processed 3.79 billion trades in 2018, and reportedly consistently ranks as a top three clearer for listed derivatives and cash securities, OTC products, warrants, commodities and FX across the majority of time zones. 

BUX’s new app, dubbed STOCKS, is slated for launch in summer 2019 first in the Netherlands and Germany, followed by a planned Europe-wide rollout in the coming year. 

After a reportedly successful pilot, BUX is set to leverage two key solutions from ABN AMRO Clearing for STOCKS.

First, STOCKS clients’ funds will be held by ABN AMRO Clearing in an individual blockchain bank account using the clearer's proprietary Banking-as-a-Service platform. This, the news release notes, means that ABN AMRO Clearing will be operating as a bank within the forthcoming set-up.

Second, ABN AMRO Clearing will provide STOCKS with its Smart Order Routing solution for users’ buy and sell orders on the platform.

In an interview with tech news site Hard Fork published today, a BUX spokesperson  underscored that the new solution will be similar to a bank account, but that instead of being  administered via escrow accounts, “every bank account is essentially a unique string of code that is administered in this blockchain.”

As reported, Dutch bank ABN AMRO has this month launched a blockchain inventory tracking platform that leverages Internet of Things technology.

Also this month, the bank abandoned its plans to launch a custodial bitcoin (BTC) wallet, citing concerns over the unregulated status of cryptocurrencies and attendant risks for investors.

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Payments platform Wirex is launching 26 stablecoins on the Stellar blockchain network.

The U.K.-based firm announced the news on Thursday, saying that the stablecoins will be backed by fiat currencies including the U.S. dollar, euro, the British pound, Hong Kong dollar and the Singapore dollar.

Wirex, which is licensed by the country’s finance watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), added that the cryptocurrencies can be spent using its own multi-currency Visa card. Wirex’s card allows users to convert and spend cryptocurrencies wherever Visa is accepted, till now supporting 8 cryptocurrencies and 10 fiat currencies.

The stablecoins can also be “instantly” converted to other stablecoins at over-the-counter (OTC) rates, the firm said, adding that the new crypto offerings could have use cases in remittances, token issuance and redemption, and merchant settlements.

The Stellar network was chosen over other blockchains because of its better security and scalability features, as well as lower costs for real-time transactions, Wirex said. The firm will also add Stellar’s native token, lumens (XLM) to its platform.

Tech giant IBM also notably uses Stellar for its payment network World Wire. The firm signed deals with six banks to issue stablecoins on the platform just last month.

The news comes following something of a flood of new fiat-backed cryptos over the last year, with eToro most recently launching eight branded stablecoins alongside a full crypto exchange just days ago.

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Decentralized social media platform Mithril (MITH) has adopted the Binance Chain, the mainnet of the leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance. The development was announced by Mithril in a blog post published on April 18.

With the step, Mithril — a social media platform that rewards content creators with its native token MITH —  becomes the purported first to shift to the Binanche Chain, with MITH token migrating from ERC-20 to BEP2. At Mithril, users gain MITH through Mithril mining, while managing their assets on the company’s platform VAULT.

Binance users will be able to withdraw MITH to BEP2 wallets following the completion of the initial migration of ERC-20-based MITH to BEP2. The development will purportedly not have an impact on ERC-20 versions of MITH held in private ethereum (ETH) wallets.

Binance launched Binance Chain yesterday, April 18, and expects to execute the swap of its native token Binance Coin (BNB) on April 23. The exchange initially revealed its plans to launch its own blockchain in December 2018, intending to build a basis for issuing new cryptocurrencies and initial coin offering (ICO) tokens.

Along with the launch of Binance Chain, the exchange provided details for the conversion of ERC-20 BNB tokens into native Binance Chain-based BNB (BEP2) coins. As such, Binance emphasized it will not support the withdrawal of ERC-20 BNB tokens after April 23.

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