Western Union Exploring Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Western Union is exploring the use of blockchain and cryptocurrency to help connect the cash and digital worlds.

They have access to over half a million retail locations as well over a billion bank accounts through the banks themselves. In that regard, they consider themselves as an on- and off-ramp for global money movement.

Western Union President, Odilon Almeida, discusses three things that need to be solved to establish a broadly accepted digital currency:

1) volatility
2) governance
3) compliance

They are running a pilot program with Ripple.

Almeida says they consider it would be just an additional currency. They already operate with 130 currencies. He says it may simply represent one more option they offer customers.

Malta as ‘Blockchain Island’

Malta is one of the smallest countries in the world, with a population of less than 500,000. The island is a speck in the Mediterranean Sea, between Europe and Africa.

Malta gained its national independence from Great Britain in 1964.

As a small country with limited natural resources, they have the willingness and ability to move quickly to adopt new opportunities that can grow their economy.

Malta has made itself very welcoming to blockchain and cryptocurrency companies by establishing friendly regulation and low taxes for such businesses.

Hence, capital, start-ups and talent are leaving less friendly jurisdictions to set up shop in Malta.

So far, the welcoming hand has benefited Malta with a new influx of revenue for the country.

The above video includes interviews with the Finance Minister of Malta, Edward Scicluna; Changpeng Zhao (Binance); John McAfee; Tim Byun (OKEX ); Alexandre Dreyfus (chiliZ); and Marc Taverner (Bitfury).

What is eToro?

eToro describes itself as “the world’s leading social trading platform, offering a wide array of tools to invest in the capital markets.” Social trading is a service that allows investors to follow, share and replicate the trading strategy of other traders.

eToro was founded as RetailFX in 2006 in Tel Aviv, by brothers Yoni Assia and Ronen Assia, together with David Ring with a mission “To make trading accessible to anyone, anywhere, and reduce dependency on traditional financial institutions.”

eToro’s main research and development office is located in Tel Aviv, Israel. In addition to legal entities registered in the UK, Cyprus, Australia and the U.S.A.

eToro offers both short-term options for day traders and long-term options for investors, including stocks, commodities, forex, cryptos, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and indices,

eToro currently offers crypto trading for U.S. customers but states they will be able to offer additional services “soon.”  My email for elaboration received this response:

“We do not have a time estimation to roll out additional USA trading markets. We will send an email notification as soon as we have an update.”

The Dark Side of The Chain

John McAfee from McAfee Crypto Team & Luxcore, Brandon Smietana from Skycoin and Monty Munford (moderator) from Mob76 discuss “The Dark Side of the Chain” at the 2018 Malta Blockchain Summit.

At times distressing and other times colorful, their discussion includes kidnapping, murder, guns and prostitutes.

Additionally, Smietana talks about the origin of Bitcoin as a money system backed my mathematics instead of humans, who are prone to corruption. He describes the current fiat monetary system as a debt ponzi scheme and that the earliest Bitcoin proponents were Libertarian, real-money advocates before the speculators came in and dominated the landscape.

McAfee discusses forwarding the adoption of crypto by actually using crypto for purchases where accepted.

Fall Of Empires: Rome vs USA

Mike Maloney draws eerie parallels to the misguided leaders and monetary policies that doomed civilizations from Ancient Rome to modern-day America.

In particular, the parallel between the debasement of fiat currency and its relationship to gold in Ancient Rome vs. the United States is compelling, as well as a note about the opportunity of cryptocurrency in this landscape.

‘Blockchain’ vs ‘Cryptocurrency,’ According to Google Data

‘Blockchain’ is now more popular than ‘cryptocurrency,’ according to Google Trends data.

Following the massive hype cycle at the end of 2017, Google Trends suggests the term ‘blockchain’ is gradually becoming a more popular search criteria than ‘cryptocurrency.’

The first time ‘blockchain’ briefly overtook ‘cryptocurrency’ (after last year’s hype) was in July. And it has consistently attracted more searches than ‘cryptocurrency,’ since at least September.

See complete article.

What is LedgerX?

LedgerX describes itself as “a cryptocurrency asset management platform.”

They are a “CFTC-registered Swap Execution Facility (SEF) and Derivatives Clearing Organization (DCO) specializing in the custody and trading of cryptocurrency derivatives.”

LedgerX trades Bitcoin swaps and options for institutional markets, which are derivatives of the actual value of Bitcoin.  In the future, they will be offering derivatives of other digital currencies.

This is a way Bitcoin users can execute more advanced ways to both place long bets and short the cryptocurrency.

What is Binance?

Binance is a crypto exchange for buying and selling cryptocurrencies. Some of the factors that have made it attractive to crypto traders include its availability in multiple languages, fast order processing and the fact that it transacts numerous digital currencies.

Binance is only for trading cryptocurrencies, and does not handle fiat currencies.

Due to evolving global regulations, Binance moved from China, where it was established, to Japan and then Taiwan and as of March 2018, relocated to Malta (Island country south of Italy).

Coinbase to List Additional Assets

Coinbase is a U.S. crypto exchange which supports Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin, which of course represent a fraction of the global digital currencies available.  To become more globally competitive Coinbase will begin listing new crypto assets which are in line with local regulations. This is a significant change for Coinbase.

For more info, visit this link: Coinbase’s New Asset Listing Process.