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IBM, Citi And Barclays Join Forces To Create A Blockchain App Store For Banks

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As of recently, three major institutions have joined forces to create a new private ecosystem based on blockchain. We are talking about the major software giant IBM and the major banks such as Barclays and Citigroup which are acting as the founders of LedgerConnect.

Basically, LedgerConnect will be a financial blockchain “app store” that will make it easier for banks to access distributed ledger technology (DLT) solutions from fintech and software providers. This will be done in turn to reach more bank customers.

The blockchain-based app store (LedgerConnect) is the offspring of the bank-owned currency trading utility CLS and the enterprise software giant IBM. However, it is precisely nine companies that are joining the proof of concept (PoC) and the ones which have selected services from a number of vendors such as Baton Systems, Calypso, Copp Clark, IBM, MPhasis, OpenRisk, SynSwap and Persistent Systems.

What’s most important is that LedgerConnect will allow financial institutions to access DLT-based services in areas such as know-your-customer processes, collateral management, sanctions screening and derivatives post-trade processing.

The new hub will also address a connectivity gap which will face large tech firms and fintech organizations with the cost and complexity of maintaining their own distributed networks. This is why banks will be able to consume their various applications.

According to the vice president of financial markets at IBM, Keith Bear:

“Having a secure network and proven infrastructure allows an app store kind of model, where banks can identify applications from certified fintech and software providers and deploy these apps over a seamless blockchain network,”

There are several different deployment options to consider when designing these distributed ledgers for live environments, according to Dr. Lee Braine who is the CTO at Barclays. As he explained:

“Some banks may also look to explore the more decentralized deployment option of hosting their nodes themselves,” said Braine. “By participating in the LedgerConnect proof-of-concept, Barclays is gaining experience of a distributed ledger private network aimed at connecting both market infrastructure-hosted nodes and bank-hosted nodes.”

Therefore, LedgerConnect will run partly on a permissioned blockchain based on IBM’s blockchain platform – and all of the apps within the store will be Hyperledger-based. Still, the founders are open to other blockchain solutions that may make use of the app store.

 

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Blockchain News

Accounts Of The First Digital Bank In India Closed After Involving In Crypto-Related Activity

Digibank, India’s first digital bank started closing accounts that allegedly were involved in crypto-related activities after a claim made on Twitter reached our crypto news today. The Twitter user ‘’IndianCryptoGirl’’ posted about this on January 14 but has also taken to the social media platform plenty details of the anti-crypto restrictions that were imposed on all of the account holders in India’s second largest bank Kotak Mahindra Bank. Both banks imposed strict measures related to the prohibition on domestic banks dealing with crypto businesses which were first announced by the central bank of India last July. According to the IndianCryptoGirl tweet, Digibank is a multinational financial services company which froze multiple accounts on its platform after it detected transactions from entities identified to be virtual currency traders or brokers. The Twitter user clarified:
 “I've been a user of DBS' Digibank for a year. Although I regularly used Kotak Mahindra Bank for my cryptocurrency transactions, I used Digibank only 7 times throughout the year. On January 14th, I received multiple messages from my twitter [sic] followers regarding an account closure notice by Digibank. I checked my mailbox and found the mail myself.”
However, Digibank stated:
 “Reserve Bank of India through their public notices have warned/advised the public regarding risks associated with virtual currencies. We reiterated the same vide our emails dated 4th May 2018 and 2nd Aug 2019, cautioning our account holders [against] the risks associated [...] and that DBS accounts and debit cards should not be used for their purchase or any kind of dealings.”
Many other users responded to the allegations that not only Digibank but many other banks are doing the same as well.
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Altcoin News

Crypto Exchange OKCoin Is Adding Tron To The Platform

The crypto exchange OKCoin announced to be listing Tron to its platform according to the information coming to our digital currency crypto news media outlet. OKCoin a platform that mainly focuses on traditional swaps and serves only US customers. The CEO of the exchange, Tim Byun believes that first, regulation is extremely important and that the platform won’t be listing tokens that are considered to be securities. He explained:
‘’First thing we do, we have to abide by regulations in the US. We are a money service business. We’re operating out of the US. We’re serving US customers. So from a regulatory perspective, that’s the clearest step one to take, so we spend a lot of effort on our compliance team and our legal team to ensure that whatever we list is not a security.’’
In an interview with CCN, Tim continued on by saying:
‘’We do not have an ATS or a broker-dealer license, so we cannot facilitate the trading of securities. We made sure that TRX is used today as a utility. That there is a use case, that it passes the Howey Test, kind of laid out by the prior rulings of an SEC case, that’s the best we have.’’
OKCoin believes that adding TRON is extremely exciting. They are very cautious with their listings and one of the reasons to be adding TRX is because it is high in demand. The CEO of OKCoin went to meet the TRON team and said that he felt extremely comfortable and really loved their experience. Tron will be available to trade when the markets go live and will be able to be traded against the US dollar, BTC and EThereum on the OKCoin platform.
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Blockchain News

BitMex Pulls The Plug On Trading Accounts In Quebec And The US

BitMex, the Hong Kong Based futures exchange, shuts down all of the trading accounts in the US and Quebec-Canada because of the massive regulatory restrictions in North America. More about this decision, we read in our blockchain news below. The exchange is one of the most active trading platforms in the world and it’s now battling with the impact of the strict laws for exchanges in the continent. It is currently shutting down trading accounts in US and Quebec just in the middle of the crackdowns on unlicensed crypto exchanges. According to the South China Post:
‘’The development comes at the same time as the Hong Kong-based company notifying users in North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan and Sevastopol in the Crimea since the fourth quarter of 2018 against holding positions or trading on BitMEX, as these are restricted jurisdictions.’’
It seems like BitMex only wants to cover its back and provide protection for their users against regulatory crackdowns. However, the exchange decided to pull the plug on the trading accounts after the Canadian regulatory body has announced the BitMex is operating illegally in Canada:
‘’BitMEX is not registered with the AMF and is therefore not authorized to have activities in the province of Quebec. We informed this company that its activities were illegal.’’
There is still no explanation why the exchange decided to shut down the trading accounts in the US. Many believe that the exchange does so because of the same strict crypto regulations. We are still expecting a comment from BitMex since it seems like there is almost a billion dollars worth of crypto still on the platform.
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Blockchain News

Cryptopia Exchange Suspends Services After Major Hack Causes ‘’Significant Losses’’

The crypto exchange based founded in New Zealand Cryptopia, has reported that a major hack has hit the exchange and has since suspended services after the hack caused ‘’significant losses’’ according to the crypto news coming from the exchange itself posting on Twitter. In the tweet, the exchange says that the hack occurred on January 14th and rushed to inform the public that the platform is under unscheduled maintenance. They also provided the public with a series of updates before the official disclosure of the breach. Cryptopia notified all of the government agencies including the New Zealand Police and High Tech Crimes Unit after which an investigation was opened treating it as a major crime. The New Zealand exchange lists more than 800 digital assets but there is currently no information about the daily trade volumes. In another tweet by WhalePanda notes:
 “Interesting that this happens in a bear season where small exchanges are struggling to make ends meet and are aggressively messaging anyone involved with crypto projects to get them to pay listing fees to get listed on their platforms.”
In his response, other commentators said that they have investigated the recent transactions of Cryptopia claiming that the exchange removed ethereum out of its wallet yesterday which was worth several million dollars. However, others think that the hack attack could be an exit scam and probably pre-planned. Cryptopia raised concerns among other users last summer as well after it started a maintenance window extremely early and users even had problems withdrawing their funds until the maintenance was completed.
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