South Korean electronics giant Samsung is apparently seeking a trademark in the United Kingdom for a cryptocurrency wallet, according to a Dec. 27 filing with the U.K. Intellectual Property Office.

In the “Classes and terms” section of the application, Samsung cites such developments as “Computer software for use as a cryptocurrency wallet; Computer software for cryptocurrency transfer and payment using blockchain technology; Computer application software for smartphones, namely, software to allow users to transfer cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology and pay via 3rd party’s application software.”

The application follows rumors — subsequently refuted by Samsung —  that the company has plans to include a cryptocurrency cold wallet on its Galaxy S10 smartphone. Samsung filed three European Union trademark applications for blockchain- and cryptocurrency- related software on Dec. 10.

Earlier in December, Cointelegraph reported that major smartphone manufacturer HTC integrated decentralized browser Brave on the HTC Exodus 1 phone, “the first native blockchain phone” with support for multiple blockchains, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) networks.

Last month, blockchain-focused electronics supplier SIRIN Labs launched its first blockchain-based smartphone called FINNEY. Based on both Android and SIRIN’s open-source operating system, SIRIN OS, the FINNEY phone offers a cold-storage crypto wallet and provides encrypted communications.

In October, Samsung’s production wing, Samsung Foundry, launched a new production process of its 7-nanometer (nm) Low Power Plus (7LPP) process node, which could reduce its energy consumption by up to 50 percent. The chip could purportedly have positive implications for crypto miners usings Samsung’s hardware, as energy costs prove to be a critical factor in the industry’s profitability.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

Bitcoin and other forms of crypto may be falling in price, but people are still taking their earnings and investing in cryptocurrency projects. The most recent one comes by way of Madison Holdings Group, a Hong Kong stock exchange-listed wine company. The venture has just purchased shares in BitOcean, a Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange.

BitOcean is one of Japan’s 16 fully licensed crypto trading platforms, having recently garnered full approval from Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA). Madison Lab – a subsidiary company of Madison Holdings – has acquired roughly 67 percent of BitOcean, spending about $30 million in the process.

Crypto Investments Remain as Popular as Ever

Madison’s chairman Raymond Ting Pang-wan explains that the maneuver was all part of the company’s attempts to diversify itself and build its investment portfolio:

“Our wine business is stable and profitable, but then it is small. It is hard to make wine trading into a very big business. That’s why we have to diversify into financial technology and the cryptocurrency business – to achieve a better return for our shareholders.”

Despite being home to two of the world’s largest cryptocurrency thefts – Mt. Gox and Coincheck – Japan is, and remains a powerful cryptocurrency hub. The country’s FSA pledged to become more involved in crypto-based operations following the Coincheck debacle in January 2018, an event that saw more than $500 million in cryptocurrency funds disappear overnight.

The FSA began issuing warnings to several cryptocurrency exchanges, claiming that they would now have to undergo a registration process to continue their operations and that they would be required to improve their safety protocols or face being shut down.

This regulatory framework and Japan’s ongoing pro-crypto attitude is why, according to Pang-wan, now was the best time to obtain a stake in the crypto arena:

“Japan represents about 20 percent of bitcoin trading worldwide. Japan and the United States are the only two markets that have a licensing system for such trading platforms. We wanted to invest in a platform that was under proper regulation.”

Crypto Investments Everywhere

In a related story, HDR Global Trading – which owns the BitMEX Exchange in Hong Kong – is now looking into purchasing a 51 percent stake in Madison Labs. The deal has not taken part at press time, though it’s estimated the purchase will cost roughly $17 million.

Unlike Japan and the U.S., Hong Kong has yet to enforce an official licensing structure for cryptocurrency-related businesses, though it’s now working on a temporary system that would slowly begin to introduce regulatory tactics.

Will a deal like this cause competing companies to invest in crypto? Post your comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

In a bid to accelerate its efficiency and productivity via blockchain technology, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), a Mumbai-based conglomerate holding firm that deals in petrochemicals, telecommunications. textiles and more, has invested $5 million into Vakt Holdings Limited, which is a U.K.-based distributed ledger technology (DLT) firm, reported VCCircle on December 24, 2018.

Energy Trading Company Adopts Blockchain Technology

Reliance Industries Limited is primarily focused on the exploration and production of oil and gas, but of recent, their attention has been drawn to blockchain technology.

This is evident in their 5.56 percent equity share in Vakt Holdings Limited which was bought at $5 million.

According to the Mumbai-based company, they aim to digitize their trading processes and also meet the trends in technology. Therefore, they have decided to employ a blockchain solution in their energy markets division to create an ecosystem that is secure and trusted.

While revealing the details of the said investment, RIL mentioned that regulations were not carried out before an agreement ensued between both parties.

Moreover, this is an investment that cannot be categorized under the “related party transactions.”

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Vakt, Formed by the Alliance of Reputable Companies

The U.K.-based startup, on the other hand, is a blockchain venture created in December 2017. It was formed as a result of an alliance with nine major energy companies and banks, including Shell, Statoil, Mercuria,  Societe Generale, and ABN Amro.

As per sources close to the matter, the DLT solution monitors the full life cycle of energy trading, as well a the manual processes of maintaining information on paper, as well as mitigating risks and fostering cost-efficiency.

Although Vakt is still in its development stages, there are plans that member companies will be among the first to gain access to it in 2019. These companies, as well as RIL, will be using it for the trading of oil and gas.

Reliance Jio Infocomm, an arm of Reliance Industries reportedly made it clear that they were also interested in modern technologies a few months ago.

A team was hired to look into the application of nascent technologies such as DLT, artificial intelligence  (AI), and machine learning.

On November 14, 2018, BTCManager reported that Shell and Equinor had sponsored a blockchain-based platform that is aimed at revolutionizing the oil and gas sector. In related news, on December 2, 2018, BTCManager informed the Vakt had been successfully launched, in a first of its kind occurrence for the oil and gas ecosystem.

Blockchain could make its way into disaster relief operations from the United States Department of Defense, the organization revealed in a press release Dec. 21.

During a presentation hosted by the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support’s Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) office in Philadelphia earlier this month, officials reviewed how blockchain technology could help emergencies responses.

Efforts to provide aid following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico were used as a case study.

“We think there’s a lot of potential [in blockchain],” CPI management analyst Elijah Londo commented, quoted in the press release:

“Where do we want to be as an organization in shaping and influencing where the [Department of Defense] goes with blockchain?”

The technological improvements would target centralized aspects of the current system, notably areas of logistics that depend on multiple centralized entities. Data sharing under such circumstances is an area ripe for innovation.

Also under review are “transaction processing and in-transit visibility of shipments.”

“This is where I can see where blockchain would have been a big help,” Construction and Equipment deputy director Marko Graham continued:

“Flowing [materiel [sic’ specifications and tracking data] from the manufacturer buying the raw materials to…getting the transportation and getting it on the barges.”

The broader U.S. defense setup has targeted blockchain’s benefits for several years, involving everything from blockchain workshops to a cryptographic chat platform.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

Japan is one of the largest crypto hubs across the globe. Along with the United States, it’s the only country that enforces some sort of licensing structure for companies looking to enter the crypto space, and as it turns out, most companies are looking to get a piece of that action.

According to Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA), approximately 190 new cryptocurrency firms are seeking entry to Japan’s digital asset market. Four months ago, that number stood at only 160, suggesting an increase of roughly 30 companies in a relatively short period.

Japan’s Crypto Scene Is Expanding

The FSA has issued a statement, explaining:

“Including preliminary consultation/ inquiries regarding registration, more than 190 operators are expressing their intention of market entry.”

This presents an interesting scenario in the sense that most companies are showing interest in being part of a legit enterprise. Japan’s FSA has sworn to become far more involved in the nation’s crypto arena following the Coincheck debacle that occurred last January. More than $500 million in crypto funds were stolen, and the exchange was widely criticized for its utilization of hot wallet over cold storage tactics.

The FSA then began working with Coincheck and competing exchanges to update their security protocols. The organization also began issuing warnings to exchanges advising them to cooperate with its new licensing structure and explaining that those who refused would face the possibility of shutdown.

There are roughly 16 licensed cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan including GMO Coin and SBI Virtual Currency. All cryptocurrency exchanges must register with the FSA before opening their doors for public trade.

The fact that Japan is being strict with crypto-based businesses and operations, yet so many companies want in suggests that these enterprises strongly desire regulation and a sense of legitimacy. Among the companies looking to perform crypto-related business in Japan are Yahoo!, Daiwa Securities Group, Money Forward Inc., Yamane Medical Corp., Avex Inc. and Samurai & J Partners.

The FSA Is Always Watching

In addition, the FSA has also given approval to Coincheck (following an extensive audit), Lastroots and Everybody’s Bitcoin as cryptocurrency dealers. This gives them and companies like them the opportunity to operate in Japan’s primary crypto sector while their applications are still under review.

Coincheck has slowly been reintroducing its services to customers after it was obtained by the Monex Group just a few months ago.

Are we likely to see other companies banging on Japan’s cryptocurrency doors? Post your thoughts and comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

Bank of America (BoA) wants to patent a system using blockchain technology to improve cash handling, a new application published Dec. 25 confirms.

Originally submitted in June 2017, the patent references “banking systems controlled by data bearing records.”

“Aspects of the disclosure relate to deploying, configuring, and utilizing cash handling devices to provide dynamic and adaptable operating functions,” its abstract reads.

BoA explains there remain communication difficulties in aspects of cash handling duties across banks’ huge operations, and suggests blockchain could help ease these.

“Cash handling devices may be used in operating centers and other locations to provide various functions, such as facilitating cash withdrawals and deposits,” the patent document continues.

“In many instances, however, it may be difficult to integrate such cash handling devices with technical infrastructure that supports banking operations and other operations while also optimizing the efficient and effective technical operations of the cash handling devices and various related computer systems.”

BoA has sought to step up its efforts to snag intellectual property in the blockchain sphere over the past two years.

In November, the bank was revealed to have the most such blockchain patents at more than 50, amid curiosity as to whether it would put all to use in the near term.

While keen on blockchain, BoA has adopted a highly risk-averse stance on cryptocurrency, becoming one of the few institutions to enact bans on associated fiat purchases by clients earlier this year.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

Porsche Holdings has finalized a USD 170 million term loan with Spanish banking giant, Banco-Bilbao Vizcaya Argentina (BBVA), making Porsche the first non-Spanish company to receive a loan from BBVA this way.

Blockchain-backed loan

According to a report made by Innovation Enterprise, Porsche Holdings, one of the world’s largest vehicle distributors and Europe’s largest has completed the loan using BBVA’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) system. The loan was issued to facilitate “strategic acquisitions in the in the retail distribution network in Europe and Asia”.

Suggestive of Porsche’s position in the future of blockchain, Dominik Paschinger, branch manager of Porsche Corporate finance in Belgium said: “With digitalization being an integral part of Porsche Holding’s Strategy 2025, the goal is to advance in all fields of activity. We think that the blockchain technology has great potential and are therefore very excited to being [sic] able to explore the technological capabilities together with BBVA.”

Last month, the BBVA piloted the platform with Red Electrica, Spain’s foremost national grid and electricity distribution firm; the pilot featured a syndicated loan which transacted USD 150 million across the BBVA blockchain platform.

Advancing blockchain

With regard to the Porsche loan, a statement from the BBVA writes: “The use of blockchain for the arrangement of this facility has demonstrated the extent to which new technologies can provide a leap in efficiency in financial markets.”

Naturally, BBVA was bullish on the tech and is backing it due to the hallmark traits of blockchain technology and then some, namely traceability, immutability, minimizing operational risk and the automation of the negotiation process. The bank describes the need for DLT platforms in financial deals due to the speed of execution; the bank values this as an essential for acquisition finance transactions.

Head of BBVA CIB in Germany, Frank Hoefnagels said: “This transaction is all about putting blockchain technology into meaningful practice in the interactions with our clients. Our aim is to improve clients’ experience by simplifying processes and enhancing the speed of execution. To be on a common path with our longstanding partner Porsche Holding makes us equally proud.”

Blockchain automotive

The news arrives shortly after computing behemoth IBM had published the results of a survey that gauged the sentiments toward blockchain within the automotive industry. After receiving responses from 1,314 automotive executives, the study found that a majority of respondents saw the tech being a disruptor within the next three years.

It also established a category of respondents named “Auto Pioneers”. To qualify for this title, survey participants need to “report familiarity” with their respective businesses blockchain strategy, and secondly, have confirmed that their companies are either experimenting, piloting or implementing blockchain technologies. These pioneers are reportedly “investing aggressively” into blockchain.

This post is credited to bitcoinnews

Malta has so far established itself has a force to reckon with when it comes to Blockchain adoption. According to a recent report, the ‘Blockchain Island’ is about to have a blockchain bank. The new bank is expected to carter not only for the needs of blockchain focused individuals and companies, but that of high net-worth individuals who are previously having problems moving their money around quickly and easily.

RnF Finance Limited to Launch Blockchain Bank

This blockchain bank initiative is a brainchild of RnF Finance Limited, a Maltese based blockchain focused Fintech company. According to the founder and CEO of RnF, Roderick Psaila, the company has already filed for licensing in order to function as a credit institution with the Malta Financial Services Authority.

Psaila, the former CEO of a Malta-licensed credit institution—AgriBank, has been in the banking industry for about 28 years and he plans on bringing his wealth of experience in the industry into the development of Malta’s first blockchain bank.

According to a recent statement he made, Psaila made it known that:

“when operative, the Bank planned to bring back proper banking services to clients. The Bank shall also engage in four main business streams: Offer banking services to corporates; Lending; Private Banking and Wealth Management.”

He further stated that: “We are targeting big corporates and private clients and the mentality would be that no industries are vetoed beforehand but each application will be treated on a case by case basis.”

Investing in Blockchain Technology And Artificial

With the launching of the new bank, crypto focused companies now have the opportunity of accessing banking features just like any other business in the centralised space.
According to Psaila, initially, the new bank will have its investments focused on blockchain technology and artificial. Through this, the bank will be rest assured that it can truly serve all its customers needs perfectly.

This post is credited to coindoo

KFC in Venezuela is accepting payments using the cryptocurrency Dash starting this week, joining a growing list of fast-food chains that accept crypto in Venezuela, including Subway and the Papa John’s pizza chain.

KFC will initially roll out the program at its store in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas before expanding to 24 other locations across the nation, Forbes reported.

Alejandro Echeverría, the co-founder of Dash Merchant Venezuela and Dash Text, has been working with KFC for the past three months to promote more widespread adoption of Dash in the socialist South American country.

Echeverria said there are already 2,445 merchants in Venezuela that accept Dash.

‘Dash Movement Is Growing Fast’

“The Dash movement is spreading and growing fast in Venezuela,” Echeverría said. “First it was food trucks and small family businesses that started to adopt Dash for payments. Now we’re attracting more established businesses.”

In November 2018, Echeverria launched Dash Text, an SMS-based cryptocurrency transaction service that doesn’t require a smartphone or the internet, as CCN reported.

This is particularly useful in poverty-stricken Venezuela, where 60% of the population don’t own a smartphone and have limited internet connectivity.

The organization Dash Merchant Venezuela is making a major push to advance cryptocurrency adoption in Venezuela because hyperinflation has devastated the near-worthless bolivar.

The International Monetary Fund projects that Venezuela’s annual inflation rate will soon rocket to a staggering 1,000,000%, as the country’s oil production continues to plunge.

Dash Aims For 10,000 Merchants In 2019

Dash Merchant’s Alejandro Echeverria hopes the cryptocurrency will emerge as a common means of payment and a store of value. Echeverría has huge ambitions for 2019, during which he hopes to have 10,000 merchants accept Dash payments.

In August 2018, the price of Dash spiked 20% amid news of growing adoption across Venezuela, as CCN reported. Venezuelans reportedly favor Dash over Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies because of its relatively faster transaction confirmation times.

While Bitcoin transactions take an average of 10 minutes, it can take up to an hour during peak periods. In contrast, Dash transactions average two-and-a-half minutes, thanks to a masternode network which allows it to offer an Instant Send service.

KFC’s ‘Bitcoin Bucket’ Sold Out in One Hour

Bitcoiners who love fried chicken shouldn’t feel left out. KFC has been on the cryptocurrency bandwagon for some time.

In January 2018, KFC Canada launched the Bitcoin Bucket, which allowed customers to buy a bucket of chicken with bitcoin.

The Bitcoin Bucket, which included 10 chicken tenders, waffle fries, gravy, and two dips, sold out within an hour after it was made available.

KFC joked about the marketing stunt on Twitter: “KFC Canada presents the Bitcoin Bucket. Sure, we don’t know exactly what Bitcoins are, or how they work, but that shouldn’t come between you and some finger lickin’ good chicken.”

This post is credited to ccn