R3 Inks Deal with Wethaq to Digitize Islamic Markets 25676

Digitize

Fintech, Wethaq, has signed a strategic partnership with enterprise blockchain software firm R3 to build the next generation of financial market infrastructure to enable issuers, investors, central banks and regulators to seamlessly transact in Islamic capital markets.

Wethaq’s platform –built on R3’s Corda Enterprise – is initially aimed at improving the market infrastructure supporting the issuance and trading of Sukuk securities. There is currently substantial unmet demand for Sukuk, the global market for which is worth over $120bn annually. The platform will make Sukuk more accessible by digitizing the costly and lengthy issuance process, which is at present manual, non-standardised and fragmented.

Wethaq has been working alongside regulators in several jurisdictions to ensure the platform will be fully compliant both from financial and Shariah perspectives.

R3’s Corda Enterprise platform is specifically designed for practical business usage and includes additional security protocols that make it ideally suited to the heavily regulated and complex Sukuk capital market.

The Wethaq platform will simplify the Sukuk lifecycle, being solely accountable for performing functions that would otherwise be performed by a number of banks, clearing and trustee entities. Furthermore, the Wethaq platform is designed to seamlessly interoperate with global Financial Market Infrastructure enabling wider distribution for issuers and investors.

David E. Rutter, CEO of R3, said: “Blockchain is driving an unprecedented period of innovation across capital markets, with more assets moving towards complete digitization. As such, there is no better time to seize the advantages of blockchain to transform global financial systems. Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East region are areas where we see huge potential for Corda to modernize the economy and our partnership with Wethaq is a step towards achieving that.”

Mohammed Alsehli, CEO at Wethaq said: “In building the next generation of financial market infrastructure for Sukuks we have found a valuable and trusted partner in R3 and its Corda Enterprise software. Our joint focus is on building world-class financial infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, in alignment with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and the UAE, pursuant to their ambitious fintech agenda, before we expand to the entire Middle East and Southeast Asia. We invite the wider Sukuk community to join the platform to ease access to capital markets, source new products for investors internationally and more closely integrate Sukuk markets with their global counterparts.”

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BitGo Staking Launches with Dash and Algorand 21313

BitGo, the leader in digital asset financial services, announced today that it has launched BitGo Staking. Clients whose assets are with qualified custodian BitGo Trust can now generate passive income while their assets remain in secure, insured cold storage. BitGo Staking launches with Dash and Algorand, with support for additional coins planned for later this year. The rate of return will vary by coin, running from 7 percent to up to 13 percent for Algorand.

The company also announced that it has acquired Hedge, a leader in scalable, programmatic deployment of staking infrastructure. This acquisition forms the foundation of BitGo Staking through the integration of Hedge’s automated secure deployments, scalable and redundant processes, and the use of hardware security modules (HSMs) and secure cryptographic enclaves. Clients will have the option of choosing to delegate staking to BitGo or to the provider of their choice.

Proof of Stake

Proof of Stake (PoS) is gaining momentum as a number of new protocols move to the PoS model. Ethereum, the second largest asset by market cap, is expected to transition to this model within the next year. A key benefit of the PoS model is that it does not need substantial amounts of committed mining power making it more energy efficient than PoW. In addition, the ability of PoS coins and tokens to generate passive returns makes them attractive to a variety of investors and can incentivize long-term holding of the asset.

BitGo Staking benefits

  • Best-in-class security architecture: each node runs on its own dedicated virtual machine so one client’s node cannot access other nodes or infrastructure
  • No keys go online: seamless integration with BitGo Custody keeps assets in cold storage
  • Multi-signature technology: the industry standard for institutional investors
  • Choice of staking providers: delegate staking to BitGo Trust or use the staking provider of your choice
  • Insurance: custodial assets are insured for up to $100 million

“In order to be a great custodian, we need to provide our clients with the ability to use their assets in custody. Staking provides our clients with returns on their investments without ever moving their assets out of custody,” said Ben Chan, CTO, BitGo. “Our acquisition of Hedge builds on the blockchain and staking expertise within our engineering platform to deliver an automated, end-to-end staking service.”

“Building trust in cryptocurrency is a shared mission between BitGo and Dash, which led to our initial partnership last year,” said Ryan Taylor, CEO of Dash Core Group. “Dash support in BitGo Staking builds on this relationship and provides additional ways to derive value from Dash in a safe and secure environment. We’re thrilled to be a part of BitGo Staking’s inaugural launch and expect masternode owners will be as well.”

“We are excited to welcome BitGo to the Algorand community,” said W. Sean Ford, COO of Algorand, Inc. “By providing custodianship services with multi-sig security as well as new staking opportunities, the BitGo partnership adds even more opportunities to participate in the Algorand ecosystem.”

BitGo clients who would like

SIX Digital Exchange launches DLT-based trading and settlement prototype 22644

SIX Digital Exchange

SDX, the world’s first end-to-end platform for digital assets, has launched a prototype of its digital exchange and CSD. Future releases will offer more functionality, with a particular emphasis on asset servicing, in Q1 2020. The full launch is expected in Q4 2020.

The objective of the prototype is to showcase the future of financial markets to the community and obtain feedback as well as demonstrate that a distributed CSD – based on DLT – can be integrated with a central order-book stock exchange model to ensure fair market conditions for all.

Test-cases will showcase the potential of SDX’s riskless trading model, as well as settlement on DLT. Early stage functionality will cover digital security token issuance as well as live trading and instant settlement. This will include the cash-leg of the transaction embracing the concept of a payment token as well as access to a distributed portal where it would be possible to monitor transactions across specific DLT member nodes.

Participants making trades will execute them via a facility resembling the existing Swiss Stock Exchange infrastructure. Similarly, the asset token issuance process on SDX makes use of the Swiss Stock Exchange’s Connexor service and its best-in-class functionality.

Unlike conventional exchanges, SDX will facilitate instant settlement that will remove counterparty risk and the need for default fund collateral at a CCP – this implies that if the buy and sell-side have the necessary cash and assets to fulfil a trade, settlement will occur instantly. This structure is helpful for providing liquidity and credibility for the issuance and trading/settlement/custody of new digital assets. For traditional institutional trading activities, a T+2 environment utilizing existing netting and CCP functions, will be made available, although not as part of the prototype. Members hold their assets on the SDX DLT in a distributed way and have access to them with their own unique private key.

Speaking of the prototype, Thomas Zeeb, Chairman SDX and Member of the Executive Board at SIX, said: “The launch of this prototype is a major milestone in creating a credible digital infrastructure for moving our industry forward. We are now one step closer to demonstrating the viability of our vision for the financial markets of the future and, ultimately, for the way people and businesses access capital. SDX is a testament to the innovative nature of the Swiss stock exchange and the foresight of its shareholders – we are combining existing market technology with revolutionary new technologies to create the market of the future.”

A second phase of the prototype will be released in the coming months, factoring in necessary feedback from the first phase but importantly, also adding the first elements of post-trade and asset servicing (digital custody) functionality.

Asia Pacific’s First Tokenomics Research Center Opens in Taiwan 22315

Flowchain Tokenomics Research Center opened in National Tsing Hua University located in Hsinchu City, Taiwan, on September 6, 2019. With the cooperation of Professor Chuan-Hsiang Han of the Department of Quantitative Finance at National Tsing Hua University, Flowchain aims to build a Tokenomics Research Center to conduct macro and micro models in the tokenized world using evidence-based research.

Tokenomics is a term used to describe the study of the design of a cryptocurrency and its related virtual assets to build the ecosystem around that specific token. In order to ensure the reliability of participants’ behaviors, it combines elements of the study of economic incentives, game theory, cryptography, behavioral psychology, and computer science.

To conduct a reliable and valid model for tokenomics, Flowchain Tokenomics Research Center first used FlowchainCoin (FLC) as an indicator. Jollen Chen, Flowchain’s founder and CEO, initially found it challenging to explain the trading patterns of virtual assets by using the economic models of traditional financial assets. Law enforcement agencies are also unable to analyze and respond to crimes related to virtual assets without specific standards. Consequently, the security and stability of blockchain economics development cannot be guaranteed.

Flowchain, therefore, attempts to use algorithms to build a tokenomics model of trading strategies to prevent scams by tapping into the combination of the team’s experiences in issuing FLC and Professor Han’s background in economics. “Blockchain technology is primarily known from cryptocurrency applications, including token issuing. The goal is that through the Flowchain Tokenomics Research Center, we can create a better tokenomics ecology for Flowchain using rigorous academic research methodologies. Also, with the hope of a successful transformation and development for Taiwan’s tokenomics industries, I anticipate sharing our experiences and future results with them.” said Jollen.

Flowchain is also seeking additional cooperation opportunities with professionals and academics at research universities in other geographic locations overseas to build a comprehensive model.

IOTA Introducing Chronicle — A Permanode Solution 23890

IOTA

The IOTA protocol is a permissionless trust layer for the Internet of Things which enables a frictionless exchange of value between machines and humans. Anyone can secure data on the Tangle and make it verifiable to third parties for free.

For node owners with limited storage, transactions can quickly fill up their database. This presents a problem for the Internet of Things, where IOTA is working on integration with low-level, resource-constrained devices. We introduced local snapshots for this reason, allowing node owners to delete old transactions and keep their Tangle database small.

However, for many business use cases, data needs to be stored for long periods of time. For example, financial data must be stored for 10 years in some cases, and identity data needs to be kept for the lifetime of the identity. In order to enable these types of use cases, the IOTA Foundation has been working on one crucial building block: a Permanode.

Chronicle is the IOTA Foundation’s official permanode solution. It makes it easy for node owners to store all IOTA transactions in a fast, secure, scalable, and distributed database. Chronicle is used to store the unbounded data flow of the Tangle and make it queryable. In other words, a permanode enables indefinite storage of the Tangle’s entire history and makes that data easily accessible at scale.

Chronicle is a distributed fault-tolerant permanode that scales out and up, designed and developed in a battle-tested Elixir/Erlang ecosystem. The project will now be ported to Rust and become an official production-ready building block maintained by the Foundation.

What makes Chronicle so unique is the opportunity for community members and even businesses to offer the Tangle data “query as a service”. With some minor additional development, node owners could earn money by charging IOTA tokens to access historical Tangle data. By querying a quorum of internal and external nodes the absolute truthfulness of the data could be ensured.

The functionality can be extended further through Multiplex networks, building microservices for each layer that can communicate with public and private dataset(s) under different policies.

Learn how to get started and set up your own permanode here.

What are the next steps for Chronicle?

Going forwards, Chronicle will share its runtime environment with Bee, our next generation of node software. With today’s release marking its first iteration, work will begin immediately on porting Chronicle into the Rust programming language to run alongside Bee. As with the release of Trinity, Chronicle will undergo a third-party audit, as part of the Bee framework, to ensure it is water tight before then being declared production-ready.

As part of our work to further extend the functionality and capabilities of Chronicle, we also invite the community to take part in this work. We intend to issue grants in developing and expanding the notion of permanodes, with a grant already recently awarded to a community-made selective permanode implementation.

We encourage people to view the repo on GitHub. The system architecture can be viewed here, detailing the data model, data flow and the backend storage database(ScyllaDB).

Korea’s Union Mobile Launches ‘ELYNET’ Blockchain Project 24863

Korea

NY Union Mobile, which worked to become the fourth mobile carrier in Korea, has officially announced the launch of their blockchain project ‘ELYNET’. The project is designed to provide differentiated mobile services using blockchain technology while leaving behind regulatory hurdles for approval as a mobile network operator.

As a decentralized telecom project, ELYNET uses blockchain technology to make communication more efficient for users who currently rely on a single carrier for telecom service. Through ELYNET, users can freely use data communication services without the drawbacks of existing wireless carriers such as roaming fees and contracts. The ELYNET project effectively eliminates the need for expensive data centers for wireless communications, allowing users to enjoy superior telecom quality at dramatically lower costs.

The ELYNET team plans to use the application of distributed ledger technology to further expand the user base of parent company Union Mobile. “Most of the members of our project team have built their careers at existing mobile carriers, including LG U+, and we have received support from talented people who have worked at KPMG and Samsung for the design of the token economy”, said Union Mobile’s CEO Seyong Ro. “This will help us to realize our business. When users connect to the communications network through ELYNET’s own operating system, they can purchase data through ELyX, a token used in ELYNET’s ecosystem, and freely enjoy mobile data communication anywhere in the world without roaming fees or contracts.”

Trezor: New Bitcoin-Only Firmware Now Available 25647

Trezor

Trezor are thrilled to announce that the beta version of our new Bitcoin-only firmware is now available to download for both Trezor One and Trezor Model T. Trezor aim to introduce a stable version of Bitcoin-only firmware in the next month’s release. From now on, Trezor will be producing four different versions of firmware — regular (full altcoin support + U2F/WebAuthn) and Bitcoin-only, for both Trezor One and Model T.

Trezor have created a customized version of both our firmware and Wallet designed for everyone who supports the idea of Bitcoin. Every Bitcoin maximalist can now enjoy the Wallet interface with nothing else but Bitcoin. All the features of Trezor One and Model T available just the way you like it; Bitcoin only.

How to install Bitcoin-only firmware

Trezor recommend testing your recovery seed in a dry-run recovery before updating the firmware. It’s also essential to note that after installing Bitcoin-only firmware, all your other coins will disappear from the Wallet interface — but don’t worry! The private keys to your altcoins remain protected within your Trezor. The regular Trezor firmware is required to access your altcoins. You can swap between the regular firmware and Bitcoin-only firmware as many times as you like.

There are two ways of installing the Bitcoin-only firmware. You can use either Trezor Wallet or trezorctl (advanced users).

You will need:

  • Trezor Model T running version 2.1.0 or newer, or Trezor One
  • Access to Trezor Beta Wallet or trezorctl
  • The correct firmware installation file for your device — Trezor One or Trezor Model T

Installation process using Trezor Wallet:

  1. Visit https://beta-wallet.trezor.io/ and connect your Trezor.
  2. If you are using Trezor Model T and your firmware version is lower than 2.1.0, upgrade to the latest offered version via web-wallet first!
  3. Type “custom_firmware” after your Trezor device ID in the URL.
  4. Download the firmware installation file for your device (Trezor One, Trezor T) and click on “Choose File” to upload the firmware file.
  5. Trezor Wallet will then prompt you to initiate the firmware update process. Follow the instructions to load the firmware file on the device.

Image of the URL address in the second step.

Installation process using trezorctl:

  1. Download the correct file for your device.
  2. Put your device into bootloader mode and confirm a connection with a host on device.
  3. Launch Terminal and go to the folder with the firmware file.
  4. If you have a Model T, update the firmware by pasting
    “trezorctl firmware-update -f trezor-2.1.5-bitcoinonly.bin” into the Terminal window and press enter. Confirm installation on the device.
    If you have a Trezor One, update the firmware by pasting
    “trezorctl firmware-update -f trezor-1.8.3-bitcoinonly.bin” into the Terminal and press enter. Confirm on the device.
  5. Create a new wallet via https://beta-wallet.trezor.io/

Thank you for testing the Bitcoin-only firmware. If you experience any issues or want to share your ideas with us, please send us your feedback here.

Thank you for being a part of the Trezor beta testing community.