Argentinian Bank to Use Bitcoin for Cross-Border Transactions 152

BMV bank has revealed a partnership with Bitex to allow customers to make cross-border payments in Bitcoin. They aim to utilise Bitcoin as a low-fee cryptocurrency which can be transferred across borders and easily exchanged for fiat currencies.

Bank Moves from SWIFT to Bitcoin

BMV said in a statement: “The service allows you to reduce costs associated with international transfers as there are no international banks as intermediaries. The logistics solution allows for a reduction in the time it takes to send or receive transfers up to a maximum of 24 hours. Bitex has a wide network of partners that enables international transfers to more than 50 countries.”

Bitcoin enables transfers to be made without using third parties and does not rely on any trusted parties. Instead, it uses a network of nodes that validate transactions and uses incentives to ensure that the network operates accurately. It also uses cryptography, such as hash functions, to ensure that only the person who holds their Bitcoin can spend it as well as providing a public ledger to ensure accountability.

Bitex is a blockchain-based financial services provider for both individuals and institutions. They help to create logistics solutions which allow for payments to be made between multiple countries. Bitex are self-regulated, but follow compliance and KYC rules. They have also hired Deloitte services to fulfil audits on the company’s operations and holding of funds.

U.K. bank Santander has continued their move into the blockchain ecosystem by announcing their new app One Pay FX which uses Ripple technology in April. The app was launched in Spain, the U.K., Brazil, and Poland and is designed to make cross-border payments in a matter of minutes. It runs on xCurrent, a payment solution provided by Ripple Net but does not exclusively use XRP which is associated with Ripple. XRP is used by xRapid, another solution, and has been successfully trialled by Mercury FX.

Ripple have targeted banks and, specifically, cross-border payment providers and argue that XRP can save costs and deliver faster transactions than using SWIFT or Bitcoin. This move by BMV shows a preference for the number one ranked cryptocurrency by market cap instead of XRP which is aimed at being used by banks.

In Q1, along with other xRapid pilots customers, we have proved that #xRapid can lower liquidity costs & increase payment speed and transparency using #XRP. We are looking forward to continued successful testing and going into production.https://t.co/hlYDcFyG7o

— Mercury-fx Ltd (@mercury_fx_ltd) April 26, 2018

Should Bitcoin Be Used by Banks?

Many token holders will welcome real-world integration as an increase in use of a coin usually leads to an increase in price. However, Bitcoin was initially set up in a libertarian environment which was hostile to banks. In fact, the Bitcoin’s genesis block contains an extract from the Times which references the 2008 financial crisis. Bitcoin is also pseudonymous which makes it harder for governments to keep track of payments and users.

In this partnership, we have an example of a low-fee cryptocurrency being used by a bank which is then charging 3% plus VAT for the service. This means that the bank is profiting from the low fees that Bitcoin offers. On the other hand, BMV did suggest it has passed some of the savings on to the customer. Instead of going through a bank, users could set up their own wallets and send transactions without using a bank, but novices may find this risky as mistakes can happen.

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Nifty’s Announces 1st NFT-Focused Social Media Platform For Creators, Collectors And Curators With Backing Of Major Investors 3838

Nifty’s, Inc. today announced the close of a pre-seed round supporting the rapid development of the first NFT-focused social media platform that brings together premium publishers, brands and creators with collectors, curators and fans. The innovative platform will allow members to create, collect, discover, and curate the most important digital art and other collectables from across the scattered NFT universe. Nifty’s is led by co-founder and CEO Jeff Marsilio, former SVP of new media at the NBA, where he led the league’s digital licensing business and was instrumental in numerous landmark fan engagement experiences, including the league’s social media partnerships, virtual reality game broadcasts and the NFT phenomenon NBA Top Shot.

“Our vision for Nifty’s is to enable anyone with a passion for digital collectibles to be a part of a vibrant community and engage in an exciting new art scene filled with galleries and personal interactions that are unconstrained by the limitations of physical location,” said Jeff Marsilio, CEO and co-founder of Nifty’s. “We are proud to have several of the most influential investors in technology share our vision.”

Nifty’s has secured financial backing in a pre-seed round from high-profile technology and blockchain investors including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Joseph Lubin, founder and CEO of ConsenSys and co-founder of Ethereum, and the secretive DeFi investor and NFT “whale” known solely as 0xb1. Institutional investors participating in the round are Draper Dragon, Polychain, Tally Capital, Liberty City Ventures, and Future Positive which is led by Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter and Medium, and Fred Blackford, co-founder of Swing Technologies.

“Nifty’s provides exactly what the digital collectibles space needs next as it evolves into much more than a creative marketplace – namely community and social engagement,” said Mark Cuban, serial entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks. “As an NBA team owner I saw how Jeff leveraged technology to dramatically increase fan engagement on a global basis, and am thrilled to be involved in building this community at the center of the NFT ecosystem.”

The capital infusion has permitted the company to acquire the technology stack of DeFi and NFT viral hit MEME Protocol. MEME co-founders Jordan Lyall, Chris Your, and Eric Tesenair will join Nifty’s as co-founders. Mr. Lyall, serving as CPO, was previously DeFi product lead at ConsenSys, and Messrs. Your and Tesenair, formerly lead developers at Dragonchain, will become VP of design and VP of engineering respectively. The trio join two more co-founders, COO Jeremy Drane who was CCO at Lukka and was previously a founding member of PwC’s blockchain practice, and CGO John Scianna, the former head of growth at QTUM. The team has also made its first hire, Shanon Kelley as VP of partnerships. Ms. Kelley was formerly CRO of NTWRK and head of experiential at VICE Media, where she was also the founder and publisher of Broadly.

The Nifty’s platform, which will officially launch later this spring, will eliminate technological and economic barriers to enable anyone to access, share and enjoy digital collectibles while connecting directly with creators and other community members. The platform will establish a central home for the collectible content of publishers, brands, creators, and collectors, and the communities that will emerge around them. Leveraging MEME Protocol’s technology, Nifty’s will provide creators with a premium, powerful, flexible and safe platform to launch their NFTs.

“We are excited to utilize the robust technology that has made MEME Protocol such a success – with advanced NFT creators and enthusiasts – to offer the new Nifty’s community sophisticated content and experiences that simultaneously make the space more accessible and inclusive,” said Jordan Lyall, CPO and co-founder of Nifty’s. “It is important to Chris, Eric and me that our MEME community knows we will remain involved, and that what we have built together will continue to be their space for innovation and fun.”

Future FinTech Enters into Cooperation Relationship with Shenzhen SOSOB Technology to Provide Market Information 4306

Future FinTech Group Inc. (NASDAQ: FTFT) (“hereinafter referred to as Future FinTech”, “FTFT” or “the Company”), a leading blockchain e-commerce company and a service provider for financial technology, today announced that on March 17, 2021 the Company signed a Strategic Cooperation Agreement (the “Agreement”) with major shareholders of Shenzhen SOSOB Technology Co., Ltd. (“Shenzhen SOSOB”) to form a joint venture titled FTFT Capital (Dubai) Limited (“FTFT Capital Dubai”), an entity formed to provide services and solutions in the global digital currency business.

Pursuant to the Agreement, the Company will make a cash contribution of $5.5 million for 55% ownership of FTFT Capital Dubai, and the shareholders of Shenzhen SOSOB will contribute 80% of their equity interest in Shenzhen SOSOB to FTFT Capital Dubai; Shenzhen SOSOB assets include intellectual property rights, an online platform that provides global digital currency market information and its members and online traffic, valued in aggregate at $4.5 million for 45% ownership of FTFT Capital Dubai. Under the planned structure, FTFT Capital Dubai will become a 55% owned subsidiary of the Company and Shenzhen SOSOB will become an 80% owned subsidiary of FTFT Capital Dubai. It is also planned that FTFT Capital Dubai will set up an investment fund for the investment and management of encrypted financial assets for institutional and high net worth investors. FTFT Capital Dubai will be based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Shanchun Huang, Chief Executive Officer of Future FinTech, said, “We are excited to jointly create a new enterprise that will serve the digital currency markets. Our objective is to build a company of significant value by creating new content and capturing market share through the application of blockchain technology in financial service markets including digital wallet safety management, blockchain code auditing and operations, and maintenance services. We believe that SOSOB’s digital currency market data information service, analysis capabilities, diversified financial services and multilingual services will serve as a catalyst to introduce new advisory services for blockchain-based financial asset products.”

Mr. Xiong Li, Chairman of Shenzhen SOSOB Technology Co., Ltd., said, “SOSOB currently provides high value-add services to the digital currency markets by being the world’s largest digital currency market information and data service platform of real-time asset and price information for global users. Based on our blockchain aggregation service platform, it collects real-time, comprehensive and reliable blockchain asset and digital currency market information and price data to provide a one-stop market data service for global users. SOSOB now has more than 30 proprietary technologies. We collect data from more than 300 global digital currency trading platforms and cover more than 1,000 digital currencies. With our independently developed data analysis engine, we process more than 200 million datum per day. SOSOB currently has more than 560,000 registered members and over 520,000 members who have installed our mobile App so they can have access anywhere at any time. In addition, our mobile app daily activity number totals more than 84,000 members, our daily website page view (PV) totals more than 500,000 views, and our daily unique visitor (UV) number, which only counts the first visit with a unique IP address, and which does not record again in the same day, totals more than 160,000 visitors.”

Mr. Li continued, “We will continue to maintain and improve the strategic position of our global blockchain financial services and one-stop platform for data, market information and analytics service for digital currency markets. Through our cooperative relationship with Future FinTech, we intend to use blockchain technology to further expand the platform ecology of the digital currency market and to promote its expansion in cooperation with other industry parties to build a stable and sustainable digital currency service platform.”

NFT Mania: For the 1st time, a GRAMMY – Winner sells an NFT music album as a solo artist 4121

NFT marketplace Rarible has announced that the awaited Al Walser NFT album drop will be launched on their auction site on March 18th at 12 EST. Auction participants will get a rare chance to own a true and scarce NFT by one of the music business’ biggest unicorns.

Scarcity and story is what drives NFT prices. The artist from the world’s smallest double landlocked microstate Liechtenstein embodies those elements unlike any other artist. Even President Obama follows him on Twitter. Al Walser is in its truest form a unicorn, and NFT collectors know they’ll be buying into a rare opportunity of scarcity and historical fascination with a promising secondary market.

Even within the tiny state, sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria with a population of less than 40,000, Walser also stands out as being its very first biracial citizen son.

Star producer Diplo, when asked by the AP, says: “I love everything about him!” On Instagram, posing next to Walser, Diplo writes: “With the legend al walser”

In 2012, Al Walser was responsible for what many call the ‘independent Big Bang’ of what later made him the GRAMMY®’s biggest underdog. It caused ripples throughout the entire music industry. Deadmau5 about Al Walser: “Everybody cares apparently. It’s like all the big news man. I hope he wins.” Star producer Calvin Harris tweeted: “Good luck Al you deserve it mate.”

Today, Walser is more active than ever. His production work won him a Grammy in 2020. His 2 hour Christmas TV Special, a 2021 EMMY® contender, was one of the most seen Holiday Specials released in 2020.

The album artwork is beautifully unusual, depicting Walser stepping out of a coffin. Al Walser: “This album means a lot to me, it’s a direct result of what happened after that pivotal cultural moment years ago. It’s no surprise it has a very raw and modern Rock’N’Roll edge all throughout.” The album will also include one unreleased song.

Walser’s appearance at the GRAMMY®s in an Apollo space suite became legendary. EDM DJ Kaskade shared it with his fans on social media, responding to media: “The Space Suite was a good touch!” It became one of the most publicized pictures taken at the red carpet. That original flag will also go to the highest bidder, along with the album.

Masha Vyazemsky, Head of Communications at Rarible: We’re excited to be exploring the use cases for NFTs in music, and to support fantastic artists such as Al Walser among the pioneers in the space.

Auction bidding for the Al Walser NFT drop will start, March 17th on Rarible and OpenSea. with Rarible as the primary marketplace. The auction will run for 1 week.

Free TON Open Network Evolves as the Next Generation of Blockchain 4522

According to Radiance Team (independent blockchain developers) the future of blockchain is already here, with the launch of a brand new platform and native currency that aims to address some of the biggest challenges in applying digital cryptocurrency to real world scenarios. Prioritizing user-friendliness, TON – the next generation of blockchain – will offer high speed transactions thanks to dynamic sharding.

Transactions using the TON Crystal eradicate many of the problems of using cryptocurrency for everyday payments, such as extended transaction times and hefty fees. Currently, Bitcoin and Ethereum can process around 7 and 15 transactions per second (TPS) respectively, while TON is capable of processing millions of TPS, making it faster than VISA and MasterCard. TON users will be able to make transactions for less than $0.01 in fees, and pay less than $0.05 per coin exchange transaction (swaps).

Initially created by the Durov Brothers – Nickolay and Pavel – back in 2017, the original Telegram Open Network (TON) faced challenges last year when the US Securities and Exchange Commission made it impossible for the brothers to continue the development of the platform; a move that affected more than 400 million users. However, in May 2020, an online community of developers from across the digital currency industry came together to create a new, decentralized version – Free TON – to bring the innovative TON blockchain to life.

Now supported and powered exclusively by Free TON community, all TON Crystal cryptocurrencies on the TON blockchain are owned by the community itself, without an ICO or token pre-sales. TON Crystals are distributed via contests as rewards for the useful actions of community members, and perhaps most importantly, Free TON platform will continue to be supported by fully decentralized autonomous organizations.

Many experts believe that decentralization is key to creating a strong blockchain future, shifting control away from a single decision maker and towards a distributed network; in this case, Free TON community. Decentralization stands to bring numerous advantages to the blockchain, including improved reliability of the entire network and reduced risks of centralized control over the blockchain. For users, it means that cryptocurrency coins can be transferred directly from person to person, without the need for a ‘middleman’. It becomes as easy as sending an email.

Free TON was launched in May 2020, and the community has big plans for ongoing growth and development this year. It has been announced that Decentralized Finances (DeFi) products will be introduced to Free TON during this month. One of the developers, Radiance Team, in collaboration with Extraton Wallet is preparing the Decentralized Exchange (DEX) to beta launch in Quarter 2, 2021.

Prescryptive Health Announces Free COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Solution to Support Independent Pharmacies Nationwide 4929

Prescryptive Health, a healthcare technology company, announced a free vaccine scheduling solution for pharmacies across the country. This service builds on their successful COVID-19 testing partnership with the State of New York, and will be available nationwide beginning today. The initiative is part of a larger commitment by Prescryptive Health to empower pharmacists and consumers through its digital platform to improve the way healthcare is delivered, making it more affordable and accessible to all.

“Local pharmacies play a critical role providing vaccines, yet they don’t have a solution that can meet their needs and address their specific challenges with COVID-19 vaccines,” said Chris Blackley, CEO of Prescryptive Health. “Our solution closes that gap, is easy to use and is now available at no cost to pharmacies nationwide.”

Prescryptive’s scheduling solution is designed for pharmacists by pharmacists to provide the security, flexibility, and ease-of-use required to deliver COVID-19 vaccines in today’s fluid environment. Pharmacists can configure when and where they provide vaccines, customize patient screening criteria to comply with state and local guidelines, and manage patient demand with a new “waitlist” function that allows them to invite patients directly for appointments to prevent over-booking. Equally important, Prescryptive’s solution is architected on blockchain, fully encrypted, and HIPAA-compliant.

Patient success has also been engineered into Prescryptive’s solution. The mobile-first design allows patients to minimize time spent onsite at the pharmacy and to receive real-time notifications from pharmacists when appointments become available. Patients receive a digital proof of their vaccination with links to additional health and safety information—including the CDC v-safe program. Beginning in April, patients will also have the ability to book appointments directly with a local pharmacy at MyRx.io.

Huobi Tech’s Subsidiary Huobi Asset Management Got the Approval to Launch 100% Virtual Asset Funds and Plans to Launch 3 Virtual Asset Funds 4867

Huobi Technology Holdings Limited (“Huobi Tech” or the “Company”, stock code: 1611), is pleased to announce that Huobi Asset Management (Hong Kong) Limited (the “Huobi Asset Management”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, has obtained the Securities and Futures Commission’s (the “SFC”) approval to manage and distribute 100% virtual asset funds with effect from 3 March 2021. Huobi Asset is the second licensed virtual asset manager in Hong Kong to fall under the SFC’s “Proforma Terms and Conditions for Licensed Corporations which Manage Portfolios that Invest in Virtual Assets” (“T&C”) since October 2019.

As the first licensed virtual asset fund manager approved by the SFC to issue virtual asset funds with an active investment strategy, it is the first virtual asset fund manager in the Hong Kong market to accept fiat currency or virtual asset subscription channels. Huobi Asset Management plans to launch three virtual asset funds: BTC tracker fund, ETH tracker fund, and multi-strategy virtual asset fund. Besides, Huobi Asset Management is launching its multi-asset fund with 10% allocation to virtual assets whilst 90% into traditional assets such as equities and fixed income.

A senior investment team will manage Huobi Asset Management’s virtual asset funds. The main business partners include Sidley Austin, Mourant, DBS, Fidelity Digital, and other world-renowned institutions. Ms. Gillian Wu, CEO of Huobi Asset Management, said, “We aim to provide various choices to investors with different risk appetites. We have covered comprehensive perspectives through in-depth dialogues with SFC and made full preparations on corresponding solutions. We are confident that our funds could offer one of the most secure and reliable channels for Professional Investors to access this novel asset class conveniently.”

The management of Huobi Tech said, “We are delighted that Huobi Asset Management team has secured such a breakthrough. The approval’s timing is perfect, coinciding with the mainstream institutional adoption of virtual assets starting from this year. We will continue to explore the possibility of diversifying our businesses in relevant areas to enhance our growth prospects and bring long-term sustainable returns to our shareholders.”