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Blockchain News

Major South Korean Bank Partners With Telecom Giant KT

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The second largest bank in South Korea, Shinhan Bank, recently partnered with the country’s second-largest telecoms provider KT Corp in order to develop a new blockchain-based platform.

As the Korea Times reported, the new platform is intended to build on recent moves by regional governments across the country to introduce digital vouchers. In July 2018, KT Corp launched a commercial blockchain capable of handling 2,500 transactions per second. As such, the mobile giant became the first mobile carrier in the world to build such a platform.

As the government program outlines, the digital vouchers will be permitted to be used like cash in certain locations. The partnership between Shinhan and KT comes ahead of the planned rollout of the economic stimulus program which promotes a digital voucher scheme in the country.

Shinhan will be responsible for developing the new financial services platform including payment fulfillment and account management. Meanwhile, KT will set up the underlying blockchain infrastructure that will underpin the system.

The Head of Digital Strategy at Shinhan Bank, Jang Hyeon-ki said:

“Shinhan’s strategic partnership with KT is a part of our efforts to introduce a convergence between finance and ICT. The blockchain technology will upgrade customers’ financial activities to a new level.”

This is not Shinhan’s first attempt at blockchain technology. Earlier this year, the bank’s Digital Strategy department created a dedicated research center for blockchain technology. Aside from this, the bank is working to develop a blockchain-based integrated certification system for many financial activities such as wire transfers and foreign exchange transactions.

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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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