Coinbase-Backed Bitso Raises 62M to Expand Crypto Footprint in Brazil

Coinbase-Backed Bitso Raises $62M to Expand Crypto Footprint in Brazil

Coinbase-Backed Bitso Raises $62M to Expand Crypto Footprint in Brazil

By Coindesk

Latin American crypto exchange Bitso has raised a whopping $62 million funding round, the largest in the region for a digital asset firm.

Announced Wednesday, Mexico City-based Bitso’s Series B also heralded the first investment in crypto by renowned fintech VC firms QED Investors and Kaszek Ventures, which led the fundraise. Also involved in the round were existing shareholders Coinbase and Pantera Capital.

Nigel Morris, co-founder and managing partner of QED Investors, and Nicolas Szekasy, co-founder and managing partner at Kaszek Ventures, are joining the board of Bitso.

“We have been talking to QED and Kaszek for a really long time and they have been interested in crypto but hadn’t pulled the trigger until now,” said Daniel Vogel, CEO and co-founder of Bitso.

“I think the conviction from them is because we are really focused on making this technology accessible to the people of Latin America.”

The spectre of deflationary currencies has driven Bitso user numbers to over a million, and a crypto market share of 97% in Mexico and 77% in Argentina, Vogel said. 

A steady expansion of real-world use cases is behind the VC interest, he said, such as remittances, where crypto enjoys a share of the $36-billion-a-year U.S.-Mexico corridor.

“In the case of the U.S.-Mexico remittances, Bitso has processed over a billion dollars worth,” said Vogel. “That’s exciting because it’s the technology being put to use for the benefit of the consumers, more than just speculation.”

Bitso raised a (previously undisclosed) $15 million Series A round in October 2019, Vogel said, and currently employs about 200 staff.

The firm will use a portion of the latest fundraise to build out a Brazil-based operation, which was given a toe-hold launch earlier this year.

“Brazil is probably the most exciting place to be building out how we envision crypto-powered financial products for the end customer,” Vogel said. “So there’s going to be a very strong commitment from Bitso in Brazil where we aim to triple the size the team over the next 12 months.”

Article produced by Coindesk

https://businessblockchainhq.com/business-blockchain-news/coinbase-backed-bitso-raises-62m-to-expand-crypto-footprint-in-brazil/

 

ecosystem for entrepreneurs

 

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Pro-Blockchain Congressmen Ask SEC for Clarity on Crypto Custody

Pro-Blockchain Congressmen Ask SEC for Clarity on Crypto Custody

Pro-Blockchain Congressmen Ask SEC for Clarity on Crypto Custody

By Will Gottsegen

A bipartisan group of representatives has written a letter to the SEC emphasizing “the need for regulated safekeeping services for cryptographic assets.”

In brief

  • Nine members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.
  • According to the letter, a lack of guidance from the SEC has left would-be crypto broker-dealers in a state of limbo.
  • It asks for clarity around broker-dealer applications to FINRA.

A group of nine congressmen has signed a letter addressed to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, asking for more clarity around broker-dealer applications for companies in the crypto space.

The signatories include Tom Emmer (R-MN-6), Bill Foster (D-IL-11), David Schweikert (R-AZ-6), and Darren Soto (D-FL-9), who co-chair the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, along with Warren Davidson (R-OH-8), Ted Budd (R-NC-13), Ralph Norman (R-SC-5), and Ro Khanna (D-CA-17), who are members. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-2) was the only non-member to sign the letter.

According to a press release from Tom Emmer's office, the congressmen request three things:

"First, issue a formal clarification that banks may act as good control locations for the custody of digital securities. Second, advise FINRA on the specific criteria that must be met for broker-dealers to custody digital securities for their customers and for their own account. Third, instruct FINRA to approve broker-dealer applications that meet those requirements."

In order for a company to issue securities aimed at US investors, either conventional (like stocks) or digital (like blockchain-based tokens offered via an ICO), it has to register with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a self-regulatory organization authorized by the government to grant official broker-dealer status.

Once a company becomes a broker-dealer in the eyes of FINRA, it can begin buying and selling securities for clients and/or itself, as well as hold digital securities.

@BrianBrooksOCC and the @USOCC have provided clarity for banks to custody crypto – now it’s @SEC_News’ turn. Today, I led a letter with 8 of my colleagues urging the SEC and @FINRA to issue guidance and approve broker-dealer applications to custody digital securities. pic.twitter.com/ZTb4UI13L3

— Tom Emmer (@RepTomEmmer) December 9, 2020

But FINRA may be unsure what to do with cryptocurrency firms.

The letter to Clayton asserts that “in the absence of guidance from the SEC, FINRA has not outright denied any broker-dealer applications that involve the custody of digital securities, which would render the applications eligible for appeal.” Instead, the representatives claim, those applications have been in a state of limbo.

As evidence, they point out that the SEC and FINRA issued a joint statement in July 2019 acknowledging that more and more companies were looking to hold digital securities, but that neither organization has done much about it in the way of providing guidance.

The congressmen are asking that the SEC help FINRA guide qualifying companies toward becoming approved broker-dealers and that the SEC explicitly confirm that banks can hold digital securities—something the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an office of the US Treasury that’s currently being run by former Coinbase executive Brian Brooks, has already suggested.

Article produced by Will Gottsegen

https://decrypt.co/50966/sec-letter-broker-dealer

 

ecosystem for entrepreneurs

 

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Ripple Ink Yet Another Partnership With Novatti To Expand Growth In Southeast Asia

Ripple Ink Yet Another Partnership With Novatti To Expand Growth In Southeast Asia

Ripple Ink Yet Another Partnership With Novatti To Expand Growth In Southeast Asia

By Adrian Barkley

  • Over the years, the San Francisco-based blockchain company ripple has made several partnerships with many different companies from all over the world.
  • This week, the company started yet another partnership with the leading digital banking and payments company Novatti.

 

Over the years, the San Francisco-based blockchain company ripple has made several partnerships with many different companies from all over the world.

This week, the company started yet another partnership with the leading digital banking and payments company Novatti. The reason for this collaboration is to track growth in Southeast Asia.

According to the announcement, this partnership will help customers of Novatti to access the services that Ripple provides.

When it comes to the remittance industry, ripple is 100% the leader of the sector. By using distributed ledger technology, cheap, fast and easy payments can be made and are being utilised by more than 300 financial service companies globally.

At first, this new collaboration will help with facilitating cross-border payments from Australia to Southeast Asia. 

As the top digital payments business in Australia, Novatti provides numerous services including fintech and automated billing. Through the services, companies are allowed to have fast and secure payment processing.

At some time in the future, Novatti could be processing cross-border payments from other regions into Australia as well. Peter Crook, managing director of Novatti has commented on the new partnership saying:

“Novatti is incredibly excited to partner with Ripple, who are rapidly disrupting the global payments industry.

This partnership will further increase Novatti’s competitiveness and provide our customers with access to new, innovative payment solutions.

In particular, we look forward to working with Ripple to provide our customers with access to their exciting alternative financing solutions, so that our customers can free-up capital to focus on growing their businesses.” 

Article produced by Adrian Barkley

https://cryptodaily.co.uk/2020/12/ripple-ink-yet-another-partnership-with-novatti-to-expand-growth-in-southeast

 

ecosystem for entrepreneurs

 

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

QampA: What happened after Telegram abandoned TON?

Q&A: What happened after Telegram abandoned TON?

Q&A: What happened after Telegram abandoned TON?

By CONNOR BLENKINSOP

Despite Telegram abandoning TON earlier this year, the technology underpinning the project lives on. Here’s what happened next.

Earlier this year, Telegram announced that it was abandoning the Telegram Open Network — reeling from the effects of a drawn-out legal battle with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

But because TON was an open-source project, with its entire code published on GitHub, the story was far from over.

Here, Ton Labs CTO Mitja Goroshevsky reveals how a “devastating” setback was transformed into a decentralized movement involving tens of thousands of people.

 

1. What happened after Telegram left TON?

A community came together and launched the Free TON network based on TON technology independently. 

The first version of the Declaration of Decentralization was drafted. As others started contributing and adding to it, more and more members got involved — commenting, tweaking and helping it evolve — until things sped up like an avalanche.

There were people who were involved and interested in TON from the start. They became excited about launching the project as a community — spreading the word to their own networks. Eventually, it grew quickly from there as a community-driven project.

 

2. Does the messaging app still have any involvement in the project?

No. Telegram stated publicly that they have fully abandoned the project.

 

3. What inspired Free TON to be formed?

I think it was a natural reaction. When so many people spent so much of their time and effort on the project, just to have it suddenly yanked from their hands on the basis that money was raised in a way someone didn’t like, that’s devastating. 

Suddenly, amazing technology would be taken from these people without a chance to continue developing it.

That was just too much to swallow. Nobody put it quite in those terms explicitly, but that’s what happened. 

That is not how a free world should operate. Free TON proved that.

 

4. What makes Free TON different from the Telegram Open Network that was being planned?

I think the primary difference is a very strong community that drives development on both a technical and on a governance level. 

The original TON did not have any explicit and public vision of how governance should work. 

In the original design, governance was very naive. Validators would vote to approve protocol changes and that’s it. There was simply no vision about how to involve the community in the platform’s governance. 

Free TON came with a much more open approach because now it is all about the community. Many technical changes have been made and many more are coming as we move forward. The developers’ ecosystem and tooling look very different, and there are a lot of protocol changes. 

 

5. When did the Free TON mainnet launch?

The Free TON network was launched on May 7 and it has been operational ever since. We called it a betanet, but there was never a planned restart of the mainnet. 

It’s a gradual transition and the definition of the mainnet is somewhat vague. The more decentralized it is, the closer it is to the mainnet. With the current addition of almost 400 validators, I would say it is as good a mainnet as any other network out there.

 

6. It's a competitive space out there — how is Free TON setting itself apart from other blockchains?

Technically, Free TON is one of the fastest and most scalable networks in existence today. It has a unique design by virtue of a multi-threaded, sharded architecture. This allows it to have one of the fastest block producing times out there — currently an average of 0.2 seconds across the network — and virtually unlimited scalability. 

One important note is that these numbers are achieved on a completely permissionless network on the public internet… not in a lab. It is operational now. It has very mature developers’ tools and it supports different programming languages and dozens of platforms.

But Free TON’s power comes from its community, where thousands of people are involved in governance activities. They’re involved in making hundreds of decisions, as well as building use cases for the network. 

Usually, proof-of-stake blockchains begin with selling their tokens to future validators in order to create a starting point in this game economy. At Free TON, it was immediately clear to everybody that tokens are not going to be sold to anyone. The puzzle we had to solve is how to distribute tokens this way with game theory, but still as allowed through PoS.

Free TON has found a revolutionary solution to that problem in the Meritocratic Token Distribution model. It starts from the community proposing a contest in which all other members can participate. The contest is debated, and soft majority voting is used to decide whether a proposal should proceed.

Any member of the community can now participate by submitting their work for contests. In the end, a jury consisting of community members vote for those contest submissions and tokens are distributed to the winners respectively.

 

7. What have been the biggest challenges that Free TON has faced since launch?

The community faces new challenges every day, both technically and within the community. It is very intense and interesting.

We write a lot of software. We improve the protocol constantly, including the tools around it. We support and organize validators and developers. We discuss and adopt collaborations — partnerships essentially. There are dozens of contests running all the time. The community is very busy indeed.

 

8. How many people are currently involved in Free TON?

I don’t know the exact numbers and nobody really does — but there are hundreds of Telegram channels and tens of thousands of users, developers and validators. New collaborators are joining the community every day. The community members themselves are fantastic — they’re very open, helpful and engaged.

 

9. What are Free TON’s main goals for the future?

Free TON is a community-driven blockchain and the goal is to serve that community. This blockchain is designed to support millions of users and as such, it requires further development and adoption. Our decentralized governance needs to constantly evolve as we encounter new obstacles.

Learn more about Free TON

Article produced by CONNOR BLENKINSOP

https://cointelegraph.com/news/qa-what-happened-after-telegram-abandoned-ton

 

ecosystem for entrepreneurs

 

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Decentralized Cloud 30 to make storage faster more secure and cheaper

Decentralized Cloud 3.0 to make storage faster, more secure and cheaper

Decentralized Cloud 3.0 to make storage faster, more secure and cheaper

By CONNOR BLENKINSOP

Many cloud data storage providers rely on centralized servers that can be slow, expensive and insecure. This decentralized platform wants to change that.

A blockchain platform says big data has a big problem — and has launched cutting-edge nodes that aim to solve the issues associated with existing storage solutions.

SINOVATE, a decentralized cloud data storage provider that is underpinned by blockchain technology, has created Deterministic Infinity Nodes (known as DIN) to deliver levels of security and scalability superior to what’s offered by rivals.

According to the platform, major cloud computing networks are currently confronted by millions of unauthorized login attempts, some of which are successful. Data breaches have also resulted in sensitive data being compromised — undermining consumer confidence and damaging businesses, both reputationally and financially.

But SINOVATE says the problems don’t end here. Slow transactions and network congestion are common — especially if end users are a long distance away from a data centre’s location. Data also ends up being controlled by third parties, and centralized servers often attract high running costs that are passed on to consumers.

Through DIN, data is secured on remote nodes — with redundancy measures in the unlikely event that a single node should go down. Data is secured with a public key, meaning that users need to provide a transaction ID and their private key in order to access their files.

SINOVATE says the data uploaded to its network can also have varying levels of protection. Content can be uploaded with no encryption at all, meaning that it will be available to all users, while secure one-way encryption means data can be accessed by the end-user and nobody else.

 

Distinctive features

In levels of decentralization that few other cloud data storage providers can match, SINOVATE says more than 1,450 nodes are continuously connected to its blockchain at any given time. “Enhanced e-governance” is in place to put power in the hands of users, giving them a voice on the features that they would like to see in future. And to ensure that Sinovate continues to perform consistently as demand grows, its infrastructure is fully scalable.

Node operators receive rewards in recognition of their involvement, with the platform’s white paper adding: “Similar to how other blockchains work, the main SIN blockchain relies upon hundreds of nodes dispersed across the globe without concern for borders or jurisdiction. Each node hosts a replicated copy of the main SIN blockchain.”

MORE INSIGHTS FROM SINOVATE HERE

Each operator also commits to support the network’s longevity by locking and burning SIN coins in an infinity node for 12 months — limiting the supply of coins in circulation and reducing selling pressure.

The introduction of DIN marks a shift away from traditional masternodes — delivering a more secure, efficient network protocol and a streamlined network experience that requires less CPU utilization and network communication. All of this results in “incorruptible and unbreakable” data storage that’s secured by a Schnorr-based multi-signature scheme.

 

Decentralized Cloud 3.0

SINOVATE’s blockchain is also underpinned by incorruptible data storage, in what is described as Decentralized Cloud 3.0. Files can be stored for future retrieval with ease and can be sent on a peer-to-peer basis anonymously. The SIN Messenger application also delivers private messaging without data being stored on Sinovate’s servers.

The SINOVATE team say they are continuing to develop their technology — creating a compelling alternative to the likes of Dropbox at low cost.

The SIN code is constantly being improved to ensure reliability, security and efficiency by integrating custom and novel technologies into the blockchain, by building up a made-in-house stacking algorithm, or by extending the cloud’s scalability.  

SINOVATE says its goal is to deliver free speech and eliminate censorship, all while giving users a far fairer deal than what they get at present. The project also believes that blockchain technology can play a powerful role in helping to prove the legitimacy and ownership of documents including birth and marriage certificates, court proceedings, employment contracts and other legal agreements.

Given the flaws that exist in cloud storage right now, SINOVATE is hoping that governments, educational institutions, medical facilities and financial platforms will embrace its technology as a better alternative to the status quo.

Article produced by CONNOR BLENKINSOP

https://cointelegraph.com/news/decentralized-cloud-30-to-make-storage-faster-more-secure-and-cheaper

 

ecosystem for entrepreneurs

 

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

PayPal Chief Believes Crypto’s Time For Mainstream Exposure Is Now

PayPal Chief Believes Crypto’s Time For Mainstream Exposure Is Now

PayPal Chief Believes Crypto's Time For Mainstream Exposure Is Now

By Robert Johnson

  • Dan Schulman spoke during a web summit earlier this week as a keynote speaker where he said that we have reached the time for bitcoin to go mainstream.
  • PayPal has been extremely well talked about throughout the industry after it announced that customers based in the United States would be able to buy, sell and hold crypto assets on its platform. 

Dan Schulman, the chief executive officer of the payments conglomerate PayPal spoke during a web summit earlier this week as a keynote speaker where he said that we have reached the time for bitcoin to go mainstream.

Over the course of this year, PayPal has been extremely well talked about throughout the industry after it announced that customers based in the United States would be able to buy, sell and hold crypto assets on its platform. The company has plans to further expand its crypto operations in the early months of 2021.

The CEO said that PayPal is definitely on the right path and is confident on its future in the industry:

“I think that if you can create a financial system, a new and modern technology that is faster, that is less expensive, more efficient, that’s good for bringing more people into the system, for inclusion, to help drive down costs, to help drive financial health for so many people… So, over the long run, I’m very bullish on digital currencies of all kinds.”

The CEO further went on to talk about coronavirus and how it has impacted the world this year. Specifically talking about payments and the financial world, the pandemic has outlined the need for assets like crypto and cashless payments. Because of this and more, he believes that the time for mainstream crypto is now.

For the past month or so, bitcoin has been experiencing some extremely volatile moments. Following (and during) the United States presidential election, the leading coin was extremely hectic in its price movements. For Dan, this is a cause for concern because it can reduce the profits that small merchants have on PayPal’s platform.

In order to make sure this doesn’t become an issue, PayPal is going to convert its users' crypto into Fiat currency for merchants in real-time. To that end, customers will be able to know the specific exchange rate for crypto to Fiat when they make a purchase. The volatility risk is therefore mute.

The CEO further said:

“It bolsters the utility of that underlying cryptocurrency, and you can do more with it than just ride the ups and downs of it. In effect, you’re taking that as an instrument that can conduct commerce at our 28 million merchants.”

Article produced by Robert Johnson

https://cryptodaily.co.uk/2020/12/paypal-chief-believes-cryptos-time-for-mainstream-exposure

 

ecosystem for entrepreneurs

 

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur