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Blockchain News

AliPay Creator Raises $14 Million To Boost Blockchain Development

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The famous Alibaba subsidiary Ant Financial recently cashed in on their historic $14 billion Series C funding round which saw the Alipay creator ready to boost its blockchain development.

China’s largest online and mobile payments network which operates Alipay and acquired MoneyGram International last year is focused on using technological advancements in order to better serve its customers. Aside from blockchain, the company is also developing AI technology, IoT projects, and computing fields.

According to the announcement that the company launched a definite agreement with the investors for the Series C with the amount of $14 billion, the funding came from different investors. According to the Wall Street Journal, $11 billion was raised in USD and only $3 billion was raised in RMB.

The lowest investment amount was $200 million and the highest was $500 million in the funding scheme. As an IPO, Ant Financial was looking for a $9 billion investment – compared to the $14 billion that it received as an ICO. Currently, the Chinese company is valued at around $150 billion.

According to the official statement issued by the company:

“The Company will continue to invest in developing its blockchain, AI, security, IoT, and computing capabilities to upgrade its global technology platform for the next generation.”

If Ant Financial goes public, it could definitely be worth more than some of the most hyped US financial firms such as PayPal, BlackRock and Goldman Sachs.

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Blockchain News

CEO Of Major Russian Bank Says Blockchain Will Be ‘Ready’ In 3-5 Years

The CEO of one of the largest banks in Russia, Sberbank, is in the blockchain news lately for making a bold statement and predicting that global governments won't "let go" of centralized models to allow decentralized cryptocurrencies to flourish within the next 10 years. Herman Gref, the Sberbank CEO, thinks that governments are not yet ready to part with centralized currencies. As the local news agency named RIA Novosti reported two days ago, Gref said:
“[The future] of cryptocurrencies is not clear so far as the state will not give up its central role, won’t allow [decentralized] cryptocurrencies. Though this might be the proper model – as for me, I’m for a distributed model, including in money supply. But it seems like that is not in the cards for the next — well, let’s be optimistic – ten years.”
Even though he stated this, Gref remains confident about the future of crypto and the underlying technology behind it - blockchain. He said that the tech would be "ready" for adoption in a shorter time span of 3-5 years, noting:
“The technology [blockchain] isn’t ready right now. When will it be ready? In my view, in 3-5 years [...] [Blockchain’s] potential is huge. The philosophy embodied in it could drastically change approaches in many areas. Improving this technology could bring huge value both to business and society.”
The CEO of Sberbank also encouraged governments to seek for a middle ground between the mitigating fraudulent activities and the "killing" cryptocurrencies - pointing out to a crypto ban as something that would do harm for lots of companies that are active in the realm of distributed ledger technologies (DLT) such as blockchain.  
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Bitcoin News

The Number Of Crypto And Blockchain Jobs Have Increased By 300% From Last Year: Report

In the latest daily cryptocurrency news, we are focusing on the popularity of crypto and blockchain as industries which constantly attract new talent. Despite the slump in the prices of cryptocurrencies led by Bitcoin, it seems that the crypto and blockchain industries are attracting more specialists well-versed in these cryptocurrencies. According to a new report by Glassdoor, the US job postings with keywords related to blockchain, Bitcoin (BTC), as well as cryptocurrencies, rose by even 300%. The company took into account all of the blockchain-related terms and excluded jobs from third-party recruiting firms. From the 446 job openings reported in 2017, we now have 1,775 unique blockchain-related job openings in the US since August 2018, proving that the popularity of these jobs is high. Speaking of heights, the highest proportion of job openings within the US is concentrated in 15 cities, including the New York City and San Francisco, both having a 24% and 21% share of the total job ads, respectively. The most demanded blockchain roles are mainly technical and engineering - and the most popular job is "software engineer" holding 19% of the total job openings. However, there are many other aspiring roles including the role of an analyst relations manager, product manager, risk analyst, and marketing manager roles.
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Bitcoin Scams

Largest Nordic Financial Group That Banned Bitcoin Gets Caught Up In A Money Laundering Scandal

The Nordea Bank that banned Bitcoin in January is in today’s crypto news because of a money laundering scandal where allegedly the financial group was receiving foul money from the Baltics. Nordea said in a report:
 “We are aware of the report, and at Nordea, we work closely with the relevant authorities in the countries in which we operate, including the Nordic Financial Intelligence Units.”
The Nordea Bank prohibited its employees in January from buying and trading cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin because of its unregulated nature. A spokeswoman for Nordea Bank explained:
 “It is widespread practice across the banking industry to restrict the personal account dealing of staff to prevent them taking positions in speculative investments, or which might expose them to a risk of financial loss and therefore impact their financial standing. Nordea therefore, like all banks, has the right to set out policies in this area that apply to its staff.”
Kellberg, the spokeswoman referenced the lack of regulation in the crypto space and expressed concerns for the possibility of using digital assets to do money laundering and that investors will be under the biggest impact. Nordea spokesperson also noted that they would gladly cooperate with major central EU banks and the entire European Banking Federation to develop a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. The crypto sector hurried to criticize the controversial decision of Nordea Bank where many analysts believed that this decision was made without a legal basis. On the money laundering aspect, according to SLE reports, more than 300 Nordea accounts received payments of more than 150 million euros from shell companies that allegedly run illegitimate operations. The Finnish authorities will cooperate with Swedish authorities and will launch a full investigation on Nordea Bank.
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Blockchain News

Novogratz: Tether’s Loss Of USD Peg Comes Due To Lack Of Transparency

Controversial Tether hits the crypto news again only five days after losing its US dollar peg. The people who are defending tether claim that supporters of other stablecoins are making a coordinated assault on tether which brings FUD in the entire crypto space. However, Mike Novogratz believes that the reason for the loss of the USD peg comes as a fault of the issuer’s lack of transparency. He said:
 “I think Tether didn’t do a great job in terms of creating transparency.”
He explained his stance on a conference held in Frankfurt this Wednesday where he especially called out the token’s creator Tether Limited, for operating offshore and being very wary of its financial relations. Currently, Tether is now believed to be banking with the Deltec Bank after teaming up with the Puerto Rican institution Noble Bank. However, none of these relationships have been confirmed in the public. Novogratz also noted that he prefers some of the other stablecoins such as Gemini Dollar issued by the Winklevoss twins. This is because Gemini’s assets are housed in a USA-based bank and also the issuer received approval from the New York Department of Financial Services. Gemini has also been evaluated for its monthly attestation reporting that the token is always fully backed by the US dollar. He also believes that the newer stablecoins are ideal for transactional exchanges. Novogratz believes that the USDT is always fully-backed by physical dollars and stressed that the competition within the stable coin market is growing immensely.
“Id like to put context to these quotes as the last thing I want to do is spread FUD. I said I thought tether has a dollar for every tether and that we actively traded it. The fact that almost $700mm has been redeemed in an orderly fashion is important,” said Novogratz.
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