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Blockchain News

Fintech News: Hong Kong Is Activating A ‘Fast’ Instant Payment System’ For Retail Payments

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The latest crypto news show Hong Kong as one of the countries in the focus lately, this time for pivoting into the fintech space and activating its new retail payments upgrade that will work 24/7 and foster improved payments.

Dubbed the Faster Payment System (FPS), the new platform will operate in real-time and be open all of the time in order to connect banks with stored-vault facility (SVF) operators, according to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA).

In simple words, this platform will allow residents of Hong Kong to transfer funds in real-time across banks and SFVs that are participating in the system – by using their mobile number or email address rather than their bank accounts, with added support for QR codes.

The FPS will support the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) as well as China’s fiat currency Renminbi (RMB) for settlements in the mainland. In order to propel adoption, the HKMA outlined how the Common QR Code Standard will work for retail payments, all through a free mobile app named Hong Kong Common QR code (HKQR).

This app will convert multiple QR codes from different payment providers to a single and combined QR code that will better facilitate payments among merchants, small as well as medium enterprises (SMEs)  and the public, accepting payments with a single code.

A central bank executive also revealed that the service will be free for small-value transfers. As he announced:

“We can enjoy an instant payment service which is round-the-clock, simple and convenient to use, robust and secure, with full connectivity while supporting both the Hong Kong dollar and the renminbi.  It is also free of charge for small-value fund transfer.”

The complete list of participants and entities joining the platform can be found here. Also, the news comes at the perfect time for Hong Kong, considering the government’s recent efforts to attract blockchain professionals with friendlier immigration policies in order to boost the country’s economic development by investing in the job marketplace.

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Russia Is Not Planning To Buy $10 Billion In Bitcoin

According to an official with the Russian State Duma Elina Sidorenko, Russia is not planning to buy $10 billion in Bitcoin after the rumors reached all crypto news media outlets. Sidorenko said:
 “This statement has no common sense. The Russian Federation — like any other country in the world — is simply not ready to combine its traditional financial system with cryptocurrencies.”
Sidorenko reacted to the fake news reports from Telegraph where it was noted that Russia wants to invest $10 billion in bitcoin in order to mitigate the economic impact that is brought up from the US sanctions. The rumors emerged on Twitter where a particular user wrote that Kremlin has no choice but to invest in bitcoin and that it is the only way to avoid the harsh sanctions by President Trump. Ginko posted on Twitter and his post went viral after Telegraph wrote a story about it and lots of other websites just added their own touch to it. Ginko is known to the public for making such shocking tweets and comments after once saying that sham investment adviser Bernie Madoff is the real Satoshi Nakamoto. However, Sidorenko said that Ginko’s comments are absurd:
 “Even if Russia wants to place its cryptocurrency assets now, it simply cannot do this. We do not have any mechanisms that would allow us to introduce a system: where these assets would be stored, which authorities would be responsible for it, which would be responsible for abuses and stuff.”
However, according to Tota Kaliaskarova, the director of macroeconomic policy with the Eurasian Economic Union says that crypto could have a huge impact on the Eurasian economy.
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Huobi Re-Launched As Fully Licensed Platform In Japan

The world’s 7th largest crypto exchange by daily trading volume Huobi reaches our blockchain news today after re-launching in Japan as a fully licensed platform after it merged with BitTrade, announcing the news in an official press release. According to the press release, Huobi Japan Holding Ltd has officially acquired a majority stake in BitTrade back in September 2018 and at that time BitTrade was one of the rare exchanges that actually had a license from the national financial regulator. The CEO of Huobi Group Founder Leon Li pointed out that securing the license is a huge milestone for the company. In the press release, you can also look up how the security provisions are emphasized saying that Huobi Japan has a specialized distributed architecture or a Distributed Denial of Service countermeasures system and an A+ SSL certification. Also, Huobi Japan supports trading of Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Bitcoin and Ripple. Having a license as a crypto exchange in Japan is mandatory since April 2017 after the amendment of the country’s Payment Services Act was imposed but the agency has continued to look out for applicants in 2018 as well after the huge $532 million theft of NEM tokens from Coincheck happened. BitTrade, on the other hand, was the first FSA-licensed platform in Japan and was acquired by the Singaporean multi-millionaire Eric Cheng. He also acquired FX Trade Financial Co. which is BitTrade’s affiliate company. As of now, there are exactly 17 crypto exchange platforms in Japan that hold the FSA license. In the past 24 hours, Huobi made $299 million in trades.
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$1 Billion In Transactions Reported For 2018 By BitPay

One of the largest crypto payment service providers BitPay has reported $1 billion in transactions for 2018 according to their official press release coming in into our crypto news today. Following the report, BitPay seems to have set another record in terms of transaction fee revenue after also gaining a couple of new customers such as Dish Networks, HackerOne and the State of Ohio. Another important notice, BitPay’s B2B business has also grown up by nearly 250 percent since 2017. Despite the huge crypto decline last year, co-founder and CEO of BitPay Stephen Pair pointed out that the company saw some growth over the year only because the product is much cheaper and faster than a bank wire from all around the world. The crypto payment service provider is still focusing on Bitcoin but, the reports show that BitPay has added another settlement support for other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin Cash but also for the USDC stablecoin and the Gemini dollar. Back in April, the company secured $40 million in Series B funding where major crypto industry players such as Tencent were included. Tencent is a company acquired by IBM back in 2006 and run by Alvin Liu and Christopher Klaus Family Office. CEO Stephen Pair also noted that his expectations for mass bitcoin adoption will come true in three to five years whereas BitPay’s chief commercial officer Sonny Singh has a prediction that BTC’s price will skyrocket up to $20,000 by the end of 2019 and as he believes, there won’t be any significant price movements in BTC (up or down) until institutional names come to market with their own products.
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