Category: Payments

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Associated Press teams up with a blockchain-based journalist firm

Categories Blockchain, Technology, Trading, Payments, Tokens, Wallet, DLT, Journalism

Associated Press teams up with a blockchain-based journalist firm

The news agency, the Associated Press has started a licensing partnership with a blockchain based start-up called Civil. The news came in an announcement made on the 28th of August and AP will be one of the first, and certainly, the biggest media company exploring the benefits of blockchain in the world of journalism.

The idea behind the project is to explore various ways of securing intellectual property rights, ethical journalism, and content usage using the power of blockchain. An integral part of the project will include AP delivering its content such as international and national news to Civil, who will then allow other news agencies to access it via the blockchain platform. Any newsroom that wishes to access the AP content platform, will be licensed directly by AP themselves.

AP will own CVL tokens which will then be used as an incentive device to help keep up levels of accuracy and objectivity in newsrooms. SVP at AP, Jim Kennedy stated:

“AP has been pushing into new digital territory for more than two decades, and Civil is opening up another new space with interesting technology to explore and a commitment to good journalism. We’re eager to help cultivate the space and demonstrate our value to a new set of digital publishers.”

The Associated Press is one of the world’s largest and most respected news agencies and was founded in New York City, back in 1846. The agency operates approximately 263 news bureaus in 106 countries across the world. Civil, are a startup that develops technology to keep track of ownership and content rights in the journalism sector.

Back in July, Adblock Plus announced the launch of a blockchain-based browser extension called Trusted News that would flag ‘fake news’ whilst highlighting trusted sources and stories.

E&S Group is a leading corporate & law firm offering various services with regards to ICOs. Feel free to contact us directly on +356 20103020 or by email at [email protected] to find out how E&S can help you in ‘making things happen’.

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Why is data the new currency?

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, GDPR, Technology, Payments, Bitcoin, Data Protection, Ethereum

Why is data the new currency?

The EU GDPR came into force at the end of May 2018, and since then our data has become a currency. We now have the ability to earn money from our own data and this has to lead many to call it the “new oil”.

Before the GDPR, companies such as Facebook and Google-owned all of our data, so essentially they owned our currency. Now, this is no longer the case. The concept of Vendor Relationship Management has been around for some time, fuelled by the ambitions of those at places such as Harvard who believe that the internet giants use of our own private data is wrong.

All of our data has value and as the customer and owner of it, we should receive its value. Whether you are browsing for new clothes, a holiday, or cinema tickets, you should be able to publicise this fact and wait for the offers to come to you.

Killi is a new application owned by Freckle IoT which allows this to happen. Since its launch, big names such as Staceys, McDonald’s, and GM have already signed up and are paying money to people for the things that they sell them. Whilst Killi has its limitations, it is most definitely a step in the right direction.

Issues such as connecting to other sites through APIs that can be changed without warning can be overcome, and whilst it may not be paying out big bucks at the moment, this is just the beginning. The idea needs appropriate scale, and like the fax machine, it is useless if there is only one other person with the app. Whilst Killi has 70,000 subscribers and counting, it needs a lot more users before it will have any real value.

This is great news for those that were shaken by the Cambridge Analytica scandal or the fact that all internet companies have been shamelessly harvesting our user data without telling us.

What is really interesting about this concept, however, is the fact that it all takes place on the IoT via a blockchain platform. This is a great example of a real-world use case for both bits of tech and shows how easy it is to disappear this technology into everyday life. What’s more is, this is a great example of a company doing something sensible about the privacy issue rather than just writing an angry article or vowing to delete Facebook.

 

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She (256) will help women enter the world of virtual currencies

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Technology, Payments, Tokens, Wallet, Utility Tokens, Security Tokens, Woman

She (256) will help women enter the world of virtual currencies

She(256) is a new scheme that is focussed on helping to encourage women to enter the cryptocurrency job market. The aim of the programme is to enable female students to benefit from the guidance of crypto OG, as well as to provide invaluable technical and business experience.

A University of California and Berkeley-led initiative, She(256) will present a chance for students and early-career young adults to learn from each other through serving as guides and allies.

The world of cryptocurrency, particularly when it comes to those being employed within it, is a somewhat male-dominated industry. Each woman that takes part in the programme will be assigned with a well-known and knowledgeable crypto expert as a mentor who will guide them through making their way into the sector.

Jill Carson tweeted about the project:

“Dear men of crypto, I would love to see many of you sign up to be She(256) mentors too! Many of you have been the most important mentors and influences in my career. It matters more than you know when you support your female colleagues,” 

Finding direction and career opportunities within the space can be daunting for many, especially when such a gender disparity exists. Through the use of mentors, young, professional women can identify areas of interest and seek out new career opportunities that they may not have been able to observe before.

Guidelines of the programme include connecting with the mentor via phone or in person 1-3 times a month, as well as maintaining regular contact via email. She(65) will also organise meet-ups and networking events where they can meet other like-minded individuals within the field. Mentorships run officially for a period of a year, but communication is encouraged even after the official programme has finished.

 

To learn more about ICO Legal Services in Malta please follow this link.

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Wikipedia will not launch a decentralised network system

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Payments, Bitcoin, DLT

Wikipedia will not launch a decentralised network system

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia, created and updated by volunteers and hosted by the Wikipedia foundation. Today, its founder Jimmy Wales stated that the not-for-profit platform will never hold an ICO or issue its own cryptocurrency or token.

After giving a speech at Berlin-based blockchain event, he told the media:

“We are absolutely never going to do that. Zero interest.”

When questioned on cryptocurrencies in the past, Wales has always been sceptical and even went as far as to call ICOs “absolute scams” that offer “nothing of value”.

When questioned as to why he would then speak at a blockchain event, he explained that he was only doing so as he was being paid. When asked to elaborate, he did, however, state that he thought the technology was very interesting but that it was probably a bubble with a lot of mania and hype surrounding it.

The pages of Wikipedia are maintained purely by volunteers and with ICOs ruled out completely, it seems that Wikipedia will continue to be funded via traditional donation methods, including Bitcoin. The site started accepting Bitcoin for donations in 2014 despite Wales saying he was “cautious” about the new technology.

The Wikipedia site made GBP 140,000 in crypto donations during its first week of accepting virtual currencies and the approximately 237 BTC it received back then, would be worth around $1.8 million today.

Whilst Wales’ criticism of the industry is harsh and he remains adamant that he will never venture down the ICO route, many people, countries, and companies before him have had similar opinions and then had their minds changed. Whether this will be the case with Wikipedia remains to be seen but for many, it is obvious that blockchain and crypto would be a useful addition to one of the world’s most visited websites.

 

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Singapore Airlines launches a decentralised air miles programme

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Aviation, Payments, Airline, DLT

Singapore Airlines launches a decentralised air miles programme

Singapore Airlines has officially launched its blockchain-based loyalty programme for frequent flyers.

A digital wallet called KrisPay was developed in collaboration with KPMG and Microsoft and it allows customers of Singapore Airlines to turn travel miles into units of payment. These units can then be spent with partner merchants throughout Singapore. The best bit about the project, however, is the fact that the KrisFlyer programme works via the blockchain in terms of underpinning the clients’ loyalty wallets.

Any customer that signs up for the programme is able to download the application on their mobile device before turning their air miles into KrisPay units. They can then use these units to pay for a range of products and services by scanning a QR code at the point of sale.

So far, Singapore Airlines have announced 18 partners in Singapore such as bars and restaurants, beauty salons, petrol stations, and shops including LEGO. They are expecting the onboarding of more partner merchants in due course and the airline will be offering discounts for users that adopt the programme in its early stages.

The KrisPay programme was announced back in February after conducting various successful proof-of-concept trials with KPMG and Microsoft. Days ago, the airline was announced as the best airline in the world by Skytrax in London and they have fought off stiff competition from the previous winner, Qatar airlines.

But this is not the first example of airlines using blockchain technology. One year ago, Russia’s biggest airline S7 announced that it would be issuing tickets over the Ethereum blockchain with support from Alfa Bank, the countries largest banking institution.

Due to these two proven use-cases, it is expected that many other airlines will look to adopt blockchain technology into various aspects of their operations.

 

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Virtual Currencies are increasing in value

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Smart Contracts, Cryptocurrency Exchange, Payments, Bitcoin, Regulation, Ethereum, Ripple, Market, Market Cap

Virtual Currencies are increasing in value

For the first time in two months, the value of Bitcoin has exceeded $8200 and it seems that slowly but surely the value of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency is regaining some of the strength that it had before the spectacular crash of January 2018.

In July, the value spiked rather suddenly and it value started to creep towards the price it reached two months ago at $7502. But what is causing its price to grow? Here are five reasons why?

Facebook and Google relax their rules

When news broke that both Google and Facebook had relaxed their rules around advertising cryptocurrencies and related products on their platforms. Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world is now allowed to advertise its services on Facebook and Google has now listed the top cryptocurrencies in its exchange rate converted. This newly founded web visibility and a significant vote of confidence from the world’s largest tech giants has undoubtedly had a positive effect on the value of BTC.

The possibility of a BTC ETF

Another big vote of confidence for BTC was the announcement from the Chicago Board Options Exchange that they had sought approval for a Bitcoin ETF. This request from one of the most well-known exchanges comes at the same time as a number of similar requests from other leading big names. Whether or not the application will be approved, remains to be seen but in the meantime, this news is believed to have helped create the surge in value that we are seeing today.

Approval from big institutions

Some of the world’s leading banks such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have started showing more and more interest in cryptocurrencies. At one time, leading figures in the industry were quick to criticise and dismiss the technology, but it appears that the tides have turned. The fact that such prominent names have shown interest in investing in and utilising the technology has been a big boost for the industry as a whole.

Regulatory changes

Following in the footsteps of Malta that recently introduced three new Acts that would support the growth and development of cryptocurrencies, ICOs and blockchain technology, more and more jurisdictions are considering changing their approach. The market has suffered from a lack of regulation or unclear laws which has lead to confusion, abuse, and crippling of cryptocurrencies value. Now the US Chamber of Commerce along with the SEC and CFTC are working on creating a better regulatory environment, crypto is set to thrive.

It’s summer!

The price of BTC seems to surge every summer and 2018 is no exception. Whilst the leap of 2017 was the largest so far, before that we saw considerable upswings during the summer season. So far, the level of growth in 2018 pales in comparison to previous years, we still have August to go and considering points 1-4, we could be in for a pleasant surprise.

If you have invested in Bitcoin or are considering doing so, contact one of our team today to ensure that you are making the best out of your investment and that you are in compliance with all applicable fiscal regulations.

 

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Is Amazon about to launch virtual payments?

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Technology, Payments, Bitcoin, Tokens, Wallet, Utility Tokens, Security Tokens, Ethereum, Ripple

Is Amazon about to launch virtual payments?

Rumours have been swirling for months that e-commerce giant, Amazon is set to launch its cryptocurrency payments. Earlier in the year they purchased a range of crypto-themed domain names such as amazoncryptocurrency.com and amazonbitcoin.com which just fuelled the reports further.

Now reports from an anonymous software engineer have been circulating on Reddit stating that Amazon has been talking about accepting Bitcoin payments and that the only reason they haven’t done it yet is due to issues surrounding refunds and volatility.

There have also been talks of them offering blockchain solutions through their AWS Blockchain Templates which can be used to launch an Ethereum of Hyperledger Fabric network in a matter of moments. It has also been speculated that they are creating their own cryptocurrency. In fact, they created one back in 2013 called Amazon Coin but it never took off due to the fact it was not based on any blockchain technology and could only be used on the Amazon platform.

Whilst the tech and e-commerce giants have not revealed anything about accepting crypto or developing blockchain tech over the previous months, they have made some interesting moves during the last few weeks. An Amazon subsidiary “Amazon Technologies Inc” recently issued a patent for a data streaming marketplace which allows clients to view crypto transaction data as it happens. It is designed to function like a crypto stock trading portal with real-time updates.

The patent states:

“A group of electronic or internet retailers who accept Bitcoin transactions may have a shipping address that may correlate with the Bitcoin address. The electronic retailers may combine the shipping address with the Bitcoin transaction data to create correlated data and republish the combined data as a combined data stream.”

Whether they will do something more concrete to move forward in the space remains to be seen but what we do know is that they are interested in dallying with the technology and its implications. The fact that crypto and bitcoin has even been recognised by Amazon is a big step forward and a vote of confidence for the sector.

 

E&S Group is a leading law firm offering various services with regards to ICOs. Feel free to contact us directly on +356 20103020 or by email at [email protected] to find out how E&S can help you in ‘making things happen’.

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Ledger Wallet could be set to offer Tron support

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Technology, Payments, Tokens, Wallet

Ledger Wallet could be set to offer Tron support

Ledger, the world’s leading hardware wallet provider is rumoured to be planning to support Tron (TRX) across all of its cryptocurrency wallet platforms.

The news came after a response from Ledger to a question posed on their Twitter platform. When asked if plans were in the works, their social media spokesperson invited the team of developers from Tron to contact them and work with their team to iron out the technical issues relating to Tron’s blockchain.

At the moment, there are a few small issues with the blockchain that have made it difficult for Ledger to include TRX in its list of supported currencies. It is still unknown whether Tron has replied to Ledger’s invitation but it is clear that the two companies are both eager to collaborate for the future of the currency.

Monero working to integrate

Earlier this month, Monero was in talks with Ledger to incorporate it onto the wallet platform but as of yet, developers have been unable to create a stable support mechanism within the Ledger system.

To assist with this process, Roccardo Spagni, the man behind Monero made several tweaks to its blockchain’s core software to enable it to have a smoother transition when it is finally implemented.

It seems likely that the pressures of the cryptocurrency community will continue to push the Tron Foundation to work on other similar solutions but this will have to wait until TRX manages to weather the storm that came as a result of its MainNet transition.

There are other collaborations already in the works- Ledger is working with VeChain, Teos, IOTA, Zclassic, Cardano, Decred and many others. PIVX seems to be ready for use on Ledger any day now, but it does beg the question as to why Zcoin has not been integrated, whereas Zcalssic has.

The Zerocoin protocol was created by PIVX around 12 months ago and it became the first cryptocurrency to operate on a model that doesn’t require mining. Integrating PIVX into Ledger was completed in October. Whilst integrating TRX may not be too much of a complex job, the fact that it is relatively young on the market could be what holds things back.

 

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Can you pay your staff with Bitcoin?

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Payments, Bitcoin

Can you pay your staff with Bitcoin?

The world of cryptocurrencies is going from strength to strength and it is becoming more obvious that it has the potential to substantially disrupt the way we live our lives. With governments now jumping on the bandwagon and a huge under-the-table -payment process for freelancers, many are wondering- is it legal to pay employees or freelancers with Bitcoin?

The simple answer is “maybe”. The IRS in America considers and treats Bitcoin like property and there is every possibility that the Department of Labour will not consider it in the same way as the American dollar. This means that if you pay your staff with Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, there is the likelihood of you getting into trouble for not paying them the minimum wage. This would apply in any jurisdiction where the definition of cryptocurrencies and whether they are a security, a currency, or property, is something of a grey area.

There are however tax issues to take into account if you do decide to risk it. First of all, you need to be aware that as crypto coins are considered property by the government, you need to file for them as such. This will also depend on how your coins were acquired.

What does the future hold?

Even with these issues, the concept of cryptocurrencies fulfilling the role of a proper form of payment is not unrealistic and it could be on the way quicker than we think. Companies such as Ecobank have managed to amass over 3 million clients in just 6 months- a clear indicator that regardless of the governmental standpoint on such coins, the tides are continuing to turn.

The truth is that the overall implications and the potential of such technologies truly transcend borders and eliminate the divides that exist between human beings. Companies such as Bitwage and Unocoin are working hard for cryptocurrencies to become the new means of international payment, and with no issues like hefty transaction fees or sky-high conversation rates, it is not hard to see what the attraction is.

The impact that cryptocurrencies are having on our culture is impossible not to notice. Governments, corporations, and stakeholders from almost every sector are beginning to use blockchain technology for a wide range of purposes. Financial companies such as Quickbooks have even started creating new ways for cryptocurrencies to be able to be included in invoices. Not only is cryptocurrency tech being used, but it is being developed, evolved, and innovated on to make other systems more efficient. There is no doubt that it is just a matter of time before all currencies are treated in exactly the same way

How will it happen?

Quite simply, the systems are not quite in place to be able to take a final decision as to whether cryptocurrencies can be considered as actual currency or not. This means that by paying your staff with Bitcoin or the like, is risky. With that in mind, how on earth is it going to happen? There seems to be a lot of progress in the right direction when it comes to Bitcoin and the like, but for them to be used successfully as an actual form of wage-payment, quite a few things need to happen.

In America for example, the Department of Labour will have to make an official decision on whether it is good enough to be considered as a cash equivalent. Secondly, the semantics need to be properly thought out. For example, if a company decides to pay its staff in cryptocurrency, they should consider outsourcing their payroll. Consideration also needs to be given to the fact that the value of coins such as Bitcoin is extremely volatile. Some people do not want or like change and such a drastic shift from traditional methods could result in some needing a lot of convincing.

 

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