An authoritative american magazine Forbes has published the traditional Fintech 50 rating, consisting of companies that succeeded in the field of financial technology.
The leader in terms of investment among crypto and blockchain projects became a popular american crypto exchange Coinbase, which managed to attract investments in the amount of $ 525 million. This time, the list mentioned 4 more crypto companies: Circle, Gemini, Ripple and Bitfury.
In Investing section, the first place was taken by Robinhood company, which delivers financial services. The company managed to attract $539 million. The rating also includes the following companies: Betterment, Guideline,iCapital Network, Personal Capital, Stash.
Multinational financial company Credit Karma became the leader in Personal Finance section, which raised $ 869 million. Its neighbors: Acorns, Chime, Earnin, Even, Lemonade, Root Insurance.
Forbes also presented such categories as Lending, Payments, Real Estate and Wall Street.
Thirty people have filed complaints to Thailand’s Technology Crime Suppression Division stating that they were victims of crypto mining scam, they allegedly lost 42 million baht ($1.34 million). The police thinks that the amount of victims can be bigger.
According to the victims’ words, the leaders of the scam convinced them to invest money into CryptoMining.Farm, a blockchain-mining website. One anonymous victim said to the Bangkok Post that one of the leaders promised investor an impossibly high return – 70% a year.
The victims signed contracts when they entered the website, the documents said that a customer may withdraw money at any time he/she wanted without any additional condition. However, the situation has changed since August. The victim stated that:
“From August the owner began imposing conditions for withdrawing the money. Then at the start of this month, the site announced it would start paying back investors in 84 installments which would take over seven years to complete. The payments were supposed to be made in foreign currencies [which] is not permitted by Thai laws.”
After a preliminary investigation, the police is sure that not 30, but 140 people became victims of the scam. Moreover, it can be related to a big scandal which happened in August 2018, when a popular Thai actor and his siblings stole about 797 million baht ($25.5 million).
According to the Bangkok Post, the company has two official offices in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, which may make the victims think that the company’s operations are legal.
Thailand treats digital money with caution and tries to regulate it. The Thai Ministry of Finance even issued a document last year where all the country’s cryptocurrency activities were regulated, including the taxation of participants of crypto market.
Bitcoin is one of the most famous cryptocurrencies in the world. It is actually the first one, thus, no matter what might be, it has already gone down in history. Even though the cryptocurrency may not be that popular right now, due to various reason, some changes are already inevitable, hence, let us just check on trends which will become a part of everyday life in 2019.
1. Bitcoin ATMs
The number of Bitcoin ATMs is growing rapidly. It is a kiosk which allows a person to buy/sell Bitcoins in cash or by credit card. They actually look like an ordinary terminal, yet, it is connected not to bank account, but to Bitcoin exchange. The number of Bitcoin ATMs in the world accounts for 4292 at the time of writing.
Such ATMs will definitely encourage people to use cryptocurrency, since now it becomes more understandable for ordinary people. If people get accustomed to use Bitcoin ATMs, then crypto will see a bright future.
2. Central banks and Bitcoin
Some people do not want to get involved in crypto as it lacks regulation, including bank regulation. However, in 2019, one of Bitcoin trends may become partnership between central banks and cryptocurrency.
Several banks have already introduced systems how to work with crypto. Bank of America, for example, has officially patented a system for saving crypto actives for significant corporations. Moreover, this week, one of the biggest American banks, JPMorgan Chase & Co, has announced that it developed its own digital coin – JPM Coin.
Perhaps, such implementations will bring positive effect on the relationships between crypto and financial institutions.
3. Bitcoin in smartphones
Since the beginning of the third millennium, a cell phone has become an integral part of our everyday life. By using a smartphone we can do almost everything that is connected to our work, study, leisure, or hobby. Financial transactions, including crypto operations, are no exception.
On May, 2018, Huawei Technologies Corporation provided users of its smartphones with the opportunity to use Bitcoin wallet BTC.com. At the end of the past year, HTC company released the smartphone Exodus, powered by blockchain. A person can only purchase the phone with digital currencies.
It is too early to say whether these phones will be successful and useful or not, yet still it is very important that world is trying to meet the needs of everyone.
According to The Wall Street Journal, two biggest card networks in the world, Visa and Mastercard, will raise up fees on credit and debit cards in April this year. The new change relates to interchange fees.
Merchants are financial institutions that maintain accounts for sellers, the biggest merchants in the US are JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citygroup.
Interchange fee is paid by merchants to banks when a consumer purchases any item using a specific card from card network which actually sets that fees. As such fees increase, merchants have to secure their profits, hence, they raise prices for items.
About 1.5-2% from the price of goods and services cover card fees. Consumers often pay for such fees whether they pay in cash or by card, while merchants pay billions of dollars for interchange fees every year.
According to the table on the left, merchants paid about $64 billion dollars last year to Visa and Mastercard for interchange fees on credit and debit cards. The number is 77% higher than it was seven years ago. And this year in April Visa will also push the fees up again.
The representative of Visa said to the WSJ:
“Visa’s network fees are paid by our financial institution clients and used to enhance the safety, efficiency and innovation of our platform, and are set based on market conditions and to reflect the value we deliver.”
In addition, she said that the new price changes will have an influence on fees which Visa has not adjusted for about three years. Mastercard, in his turn, declined to comment on this statement.
One of the biggest American banks, JPMorgan Chase & Co, announced that it developed its own digital coin, JPM Coin, to speed up payments between customers. The statement also said the coin is based on blockchain, that is why improvement is about to come.
Why would the bank create JPM Coin?
JPMorgan explains that clients often faced trouble with the speed of transactions. Sometimes, it takes much longer time to send money than they expected, therefore it is an urgent problem for bank to solve. The head of digital treasury services and blockchain, Umar Farooq, said:
“Many of our clients move money in different ways and they’re looking for a more real-time way to move value around.”
The amount of payments JPMorgan moves every day accounts for more than $5 trillion, thus a number of client demanded to develop digital coin on blockchain to implement instantaneous value transfer. The bank started the development of JPM Coin about a year ago.
Main details of the coin
JP Morgan has become the first American bank to introduce its own digital coin in public. However, it is not a usual cryptocurrency in its true sense.
Ordinary cryptos usually use public blockchain technology that is in open access to everyone. Yet, a JPM Coin uses private blockchain of JPMorgan Chase & Co, and the price of the coin is pegged to one U.S. dollar.