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Top 5 Stories -21/09/2017
The former CIO of $3 trillion financial giant UBS has joined the non-profit behind one of the largest cryptocurrencies
The former head of technology at one of the largest banks in the world has joined the team behind IOTA, the ninth largest cryptocurrency on the market.
Oliver Bussmann served as the chief information officer of Switzerland-based UBS, the global financial services firm with $3 trillion under management, for three years from 2013 to 2016.
Bussmann, who joined the bank after holding a number of top tech jobs at companies such as IBM and Deutsche Bank, led IT strategy and introduced blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies like IOTA and bitcoin, to the bank.
Since Bussmann left UBS, he has dived even deeper into the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, serving as the president of Crypto Valley Association since the beginning of 2017. He also is the founder of an advisory firm, Bussmann Advisory.
And now he is joining the IOTA Foundation, the non-profit behind the ninth largest cryptocurrency of the same name. The IOTA Foundation owns the intellectual property of cryptocurrency IOTA, according to David Sønstebø, the founder of IOTA.
“We are thrilled to have one of the world’s foremost financial technology thinkers and actors with such gravitas and senior experience from world leading companies join the project,” Sønstebø said on Wednesday in a lively blog post.
Sønstebø told Business Insider that Bussmann will be an employee of the Foundation and serve as a global representative and key adviser.
“Bussmann will represent the Foundation throughout the world,” Sønstebø said.”This isn’t the standard advisory role, he will dedicate a significant amount of time to raising awareness about what we are doing through his massive network.”
Bussmann is a well-known financial technology influencer. According to the blog post penned by Sønstebø, Bussmann has been included twice on the Financial News “FinTech 40” list of innovators. He also works closely with a number of non-profits.
“As the former CIO of UBS, Oliver brings a wealth of knowledge that will be crucial for the Foundation as we move forward with big upcoming projects,” Sønstebø added.
Bussmann joins the Foundation as it rolls out a new marketplace platform based on IOTA’s blockchain technology that will allow companies to exchange data. Already, it is working with Bosch, the Germany-based autoparts maker, and EWE, a German energy and IT technology company.
IOTA, the ninth largest cryptocurrency by marketcap, began trading in June of 2017. It trades at around $.50 a coin, according to data from Coinmarketcap.com.
Next Step in Decentralised Payment Gateway Revolution is Here
So far, Blockchain based payment gateways are succeeding where conventional ones have failed; transferring money fast at significantly lower fees. However, even these advanced gateways haven’t ironed all the wrinkles out of money transfers just yet. Enter ErosCoin- a multi-currency, Ethereum-based, peer-to-peer payment gateway.
Payment gateways and Blockchain
It is safe to say that the advent of Blockchain technology has spurred unprecedented advancements in the transfer of payments and remittances in the past few years. So much so, that they’re giving banks a run for their money. By cutting out the middleman, guaranteeing anonymity and ensuring security, Blockchain technology lends itself perfectly well to replace all traditional money transfer infrastructure.
While mass adoption of decentralised payment gateways may be on the horizon, there are still several challenges to overcome. These challenges were the starting point of the ErosCoin team, who set out to ‘provide mass payment facility.’
As Blockchain technology enters into mainstream consciousness, the ErosCoin gateway provides easy-to-use applications for smooth and instantaneous peer-to-peer payment transactions for all. With the ERO token ICO set to launch on Oct. 11 and the pre-sale starting in less than a week, the ErosCoin team is committed to providing more secure and facilitated payment transfers to the masses.
After nearly a year of development, the ErosCoin team launched their website presenting a multi-cryptocurrency, peer-to-peer payment gateway which they aspire will become a leading platform in the field. The team is also aiming to bring Blockchain technology to a wide range of other industries.
Unique features and services
Complying with all ERC20 principles, the gateway cuts payment transfer time of traditional banking services from days to seconds. ErosCoin affords its users all the perks of a decentralised payment gateway and then some. Like other decentralised payment gateways it allows for transfer of payments while ensuring anonymity and transparency without third party involvement. However, the ErosCoin development team promises not only increased security but also a number of distinguishing features that make for an enhanced money transfer experience.
ErosCoin goes a step further, not only by enabling instant cross-border transfer of fiat money and cryptocurrencies, but also by supporting all cryptocurrencies. In this regard, the ErosCoin development team has put forth innovative solutions for several issues within the Blockchain-based payment gateway industry. One example of this is their feature that simplifies the ‘currency splitting’ issue.
The ErosPay wallet application is available on both stationary and mobile devices. It is designed as a customer-focused application that removes all the complexity associated with the typical payment transfer experience through unique features like peer-to-peer communication, In-chat instant payment and One-touch payments. Additionally, with the ErosPay mobile application, it is possible to have remote access as there are no IP restrictions. This wallet will be featured on both Android and iOS. The web application makes one step access possible while retaining two-factor authentication security measure.
The open source gateway offers advanced services that are tailored for e-commerce. These include payment and invoicing management services as well as real-time solutions for merchants and customers. Notably, ErosCoin provides a Merchant Panel to support retailers with their day-to-day challenges and is suitable for every type of business.
ICO and business development
The pre-sale for ERO starts in less than a week, and the ICO starts Oct. 11, where 1.2 bln ERO tokens will be available of the 2.4 bln cutoff. Half of the funds raised during ICO will go towards development, while the rest are divided between operational work, marketing, legal work, content licenses and administrative fees. The team has brought on an accounting firm to perform a financial audit and ensure compliance of services.
It’s no secret that decentralised payment gateways are disrupting the billion dollar money transfer industry. With increased security, innovative services and a convenient interface, ErosCoin might just be the next revolutionary step in this disruption.
Written by cointelegraph.
Popularity of Crypto Debit Cards Will Encourage Mainstream Adoption
World boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, popular for his uncommon attitude towards money, has taken his relationship with cryptocurrency a step further by partnering with Centra Card to spend his cryptocurrency in mainstream commerce.
With posts under some of his social media handles earlier this year, Mayweather’s interest on cryptocurrencies attracted a lot of attention.
While some members of the crypto community assume that the world champion’s attraction to cryptocurrencies is an organic development, others think that the celebrity’s popularity is being capitalized upon by marketing companies aiming to sell their coins. Whichever opinion takes the day, Mayweather’s involvement and ownership of cryptocurrencies remains an undeniable fact.
Crypto debit cards are becoming popular
A class of product that is currently growing in popularity within the crypto world is debit cards that allow crypto holders to spend their digital currencies in mainstream commercial environments.
Accepted in most countries where regular fiat-based debit cards are effective, crypto debit cards offer users the flexibility of managing multiple cryptocurrencies and fiat money at the same time. Since digital currencies are more or less borderless and not restricted to particular governments, crypto debit cards also serve as a convenient tool for travelers due to their easy conversion to different major currencies.
CEO of Trive, David Mondrus, describes crypto debit cards as “real life savers.” Mondrus explains that such cards allow users the flexibility of using their crypto wallet for retail purposes.
“Crypto Debit card adoption can play a significant role in bridging the gap between the crypto and fiat worlds. A crypto debit card allows users to use their crypto wallets in a retail setting easily and with low friction. I’ve travelled extensively in the US and abroad using my crypto debit card. It’s been a real life saver at times.”
Of the available crypto-enabled debit card services, Mayweather’s recent tweet reveals his partnership with Centra Card, a service that supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, ERC20 Tokens, Ripple, Zcash, and Dash.
Crypto cards will encourage adoption
Links between crypto and mainstream commerce have been identified as vital aspects of cryptocurrency development. This is because such links are expected to encourage crypto adoption by wider society. These links come in the form of user interfaces such as apps and debit cards.
Some of the other crypto debit cards are the Bitpay Visa debit card, Xapo debit card, Cryptopay debit card and Coinbase/Shift card.
Chairman of Auxesis Group, Kumar Gaurav, tells Cointelegraph that a cyptocurrency-based debit card works just like any other debit card but instead of being connected to your bank account, it is linked to your digital currency wallet. This makes it easy to spend your coins wherever you go.
According to Gaurav, this gives a very convenient way to use and store cryptocurrency and is a strong driver of mainstream adoption. Especially in countries where people have lower incomes, crypto debit cards serve as one tool for people interested in investing in cryptocurrencies who do not want them to lock and lose their purchasing power.
“Considering this Cashaa is launching its cards based solution in India to facilitate the use of cryptocurrencies in a fully regulated way. This will support the initiative of the Prime minister Narendra Modi’s vision. Auxesis group is supporting this initiative which runs the Auxldger with State government of India with 53 Million users on it.”
Gaurav also notes that Cashaa is targeting not only the banked population but also about 167 million people who are unbanked in India as having debit cards linked with the Mastercard, Visa or Rupay network will bring more participants into the crypto economy. This will accelerate the growth of digital currency significantly once the network goes live in India.
A buffer to local currencies
Cryptocurrency holders have employed crypto debit cards as a buffer against deteriorating local currencies in recent times. In Venezuela, for example, the high fluctuation in the exchange rate of local currency has been a factor for confusion in trading. As a result, shop owners are continuously marking up prices and consumers are complaining severely at the increasing prices of commodities.
Crypto debit cards retain the advantage of universal application, frictionless adaptation to other major national currencies and lower charges compared to regular fiat debit cards.
Blockchain Disrupts Asset Management Using “Proof of Performance”
The ICO market
For the past few months, the rise of ICOs has challenged the venture capital industry in its ability to finance early stage companies and projects.
As shown by the graph below (from CB Insights), the ICO trend is fairly recent but exponential. From almost nothing in 2015, the funding accounts for an estimated $757 mln in Q2 of 2017. That figure exceeds by more than 3x the disclosed funding amounts by venture capitalists for Blockchain companies and projects.
When such a massive flow of capital appears, two main phenomenon usually follow: frauds and failures. It is almost certain that the current market will see numerous examples of both.
”We are in a bubble, a lot of projects will fail.”
– Vitalik Buterin, Founder of Ethereum
But the forecasted failures will not hide the tremendous disruptive potential of the Blockchain in many of industries and markets. Among these, the asset management industry may be most ripe for disruption.
Asset management, quantitative management and Blockchain
Among the successful projects of the first ICO wave, several, as Melonport, are bringing classic tools of the asset management industry into the crypto world. But the biggest disruption lies in more complex tools. Quantitative management, in particular, has extraordinary potential.
Quantitative strategies are algorithms producing sell/buy signals on a set of underlying assets when provided with data such as prices. Contrary to what most people imagine, pure quantitative management in traditional finance is still a small portion (around 10%) of the $75 trln asset management industry.
In the crypto universe, quantitative strategies such as trading bots naturally emerged and found a niche. Other examples of Blockchain’s disruptive power in the asset management industry are tokenizing of assets, or projects like Iconomi trying to create a diversified performing fund from a basket of digital currencies. Other examples include Blackmoon which will launch a high yield fund or NaPoleonX which will launch a series of absolute return funds based on traditional equity indices.
Separate the wheat from the chaff
With more trading bots and funds being established, digital currency investors find themselves wondering how to assess the quality of quantitative manager, and how to separate the one who was lucky in the past from the one who has a strong expertise that should lead to sustainable performance.
When a young market has grown exponentially for some years, many of “wannabe quants” have produced working and well-performing algorithms. But what does that tell you about their ability to generate strong returns in different market conditions?
A new concept yet a natural solution: proof of performance
According to the CEO of NaPoleonX, Stéphane Ifrah, the company’s founders were asset managers managing billions in tier 1 banks; as such they faced the issue consisting in “convincing investors to make you manage their money.” Backtesting is usually the first step to convincing customers that you’ve developed a quality algorithm.
This process involves using the algorithm on past data to determine whether its predictions would have been accurate. Backtesting isn’t perfect, because the testers can use overfitting and/or undisclosed algorithm modifications to get the desired result. That’s why NaPoleonX invented the proof of performance concept.
Proof of performance consists of using a public Blockchain as the trusted third party to validate in real time the trading signal flow of any low-to-medium frequency trading strategy. It’s a two step process: first, the signal is sent in a hashed and obfuscated way to the Blockchain, and then, several days after, the signal is sent again, but in the clear, with the random string enabling the hash verification.
As a consequence of doing so, the manager is able:
- To prove the trading signals at the time they should have been executed on the financial markets
- To compute the gross performance the quantitative strategy would have achieved in a trusted manner
Proof of performance could revolutionize the quantitative management industry, particularly with respect to digital currencies. It remains to be seen whether this concept will work on a large scale, or whether other projects will make further enhancements.
The EU Wants to Beef Up Penalties for Cryptocurrency Crimes
The European Commission is gearing up to propose new penalties for cybercrimes involving cryptocurrencies.
In a release yesterday, the European Union’s executive arm outlined its intent to introduce a new directive focused on digital crimes, citing recent ransomware attacks in the region and abroad. Part of that plan would involve the creation of a European cybersecurity agency to spearhead such efforts.
Included in the proposal is a plan to beef up punishments for those involved in related cybercrimes, including ransomware attacks.
The commission said:
“The proposed directive will strengthen the ability of law enforcement authorities to tackle this form of crime by expanding the scope of the offences related to information systems to all payment transactions, including transactions through virtual currencies.”
That the EU’s leadership would move in this direction is perhaps unsurprising given past moves to regulate the bloc’s cryptocurrency startups more closely.
Further, possible changes to EU regulations related to cryptocurrencies could extend beyond crimes involving ransomware, additional public documents show. In a separate release outlining “non-cash payment fraud” in the EU, officials said that existing statutes aren’t equipped to account for crimes involving the tech.
“The current rules on criminalization of non-cash payment fraud are set out in the Council Framework Decision 2001/413/JHA dating back to 2001,” the document states. “It has become clear that those rules no longer reflect today’s realities and do not sufficiently address new challenges and technological developments such as virtual currencies and mobile payments.”
EU flags image via Shutterstock
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