Seven EU Member States United To Adopt Blockchain In Their Countries

Several European countries, namely France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Cyprus, Greece and Malta, signed an agreement to promote and boost blockchain adoption in their regions. They argue the blockchain technology is able to strengthen their economics, as well as increase well-being of the population.

The declaration, signed on December 4, also anticipates collaboration on development of the technology, so that countries listed above become leading regions in this sector.

“We believe that Distributed Ledger Technologies could be one of the instruments that can help our countries [the Southern European Union countries] transform their economies and society into truly digital ones and become a leading region in this sector.”

From their point of view, blockchain may be used in different spheres, such as certifying product origin, education, transport, mobility, shipping, land registry, customs, company registry, and healthcare.

Malta’s parliamentary secretary for digital economy, Silvio Schembri, was extremely excited by this news, tweeting that he is “proud” to see Malta being a “leading role” on blockchain cooperation.

We remind you:

A New Blockchain Association To Be Launched By The European Commission

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A Major Japanese Bank Is Developing a Blockchain-Based Payment Network Due in 2020

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG) is on the most prominent financial institutions in Japan, moreover, it is the world’s fifth largest bank in the world. Located in Tokyo, MUFG has branches in 50 countries all over the globe and over 150 thousand employees.

The financial group provides services in the various fields like leasing, asset management, commercial banking, credit cards, securities and others. It also constantly collaborates with the largest banking establishments in America, Europe and Asia.

MUFG and blockchain

Following the example of its competitors and partners, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group decided to involve innovative technologies in order to upgrade and advance its payment systems.

According to the official press release of the bank, it is partnering up with the Massachusetts-based company Akamai Technologies, which is a leading provider of content delivery and site accelerating services.

MUFG and Akamai Technologies, Inc. (“Akamai”) announced today that they have agreed to strengthen their strategic alliance towards the full-scale launch of a new payment network business and establishment of a joint venture, Global Open Network, Inc.,” is mentioned in the press release.

The main purpose of the collaboration, the development of a blockchain network for payments, is planned to be launched in 2020.

As stated by the bank representatives, they want to experiment with “diverse payment schemes” which will allow to expand their range of services.

We remind you that another global financial establishment, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, is also working on implementing cutting-edge technologies and launched a financial management app.

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Report: Blockchain Investments Cannot Overcome Fintech Funding

European blockchain companies set a record in 2018, however, they are unable to overcome funding that comes to financial technology companies.

Blockchain boom in 2018

At the end of 2017, the rate of Bitcoin skyrocketed to incredible price of $19,000. As the first cryptocurrency began gaining popularity, people started to wonder about the technology that stayed behind. After that people understood that blockchain can be used not only in crypto, but also in other spheres of life.

Some companies began to create their own blockchain and implement it into financial sector, political sector, etc. For example, Western Union supports cryptocurrency and blockchain, and it seeks the ways of their implementation; LG Uplus released a blockchain cross-border payment system.

After the cryptocurrency prices collapsed, the blockchain technology remains to be quite popular topic on different IT conferences and summits.

Blockchain investments cannot overcome fintech funding

According to Innovate Finance’s ‘2018 FinTech VC Investment Landscape‘ report, blockchain and cryptocurrency industry in Europe has witnessed a series of significant deals, but notably just four deals amounted to over $300 million. These deals include such projects, as Paxos (Bankchain), Dfinity, SEBA Crypto, Bitfury. They raised from $65 million to $103 million in different periods of the year.

Analysis shows that fintech companies are much more popular among investors than blockchain. European challenger banks Revolut and N26 alone raised $461 million across 7 deals. They closely followed by personal finance and wealth management ($333.61 million), and alternative lending and finance ($306.64 million) industries.

Fintech’s big picture

If we take the investments of all financial companies all over the world, we will see that they raised $36.6 billion from venture capital investors.

The leader in fintech investments is China, Chinese company Ant Financial set a record for  both fintech and venture capital, raising $14 billion. In overall, China led with $18.9 billion invested across 90 deals.

Next place is taken by the United States; it has raised $10.6 billion across 1,042 deals. The United Kingdom followed on in third place with $1.7 billion invested across 261 deals.

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SEC is Looking for Partners to Collect Blockchain Data

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have published an announcement that they are in search of companies that are involved in analyzing blockchain data.

According to official information, the SEC is looking for both large and small companies. As part of the cooperation, the regulator expects companies to provide data on the “most widely used” blockchain registers based on the volume of transactions in order to “monitor risk and improve compliance” associated with cryptocurrencies.

In addition, the companies will have to provide the Commission with information on how this data is extracted, transformed and verified.

Those who would like to cooperate with the SEC should send an application by e-mail with a brief description of their activities until February 14.

We want to remind you:

Does Blockchain Bring a Threat to the US National Security?

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CryptoKitties Is Trying to Attract Users by Partnering with Gods Unchained

A once revolutionary development, undoubtedly, the cutest game on blockchain ever, CryptoKitties is not doing quite well, as the hype around it went down a bit. As we can see from the chart, the app cannot boast of a bunch of active users per day.

Source: DappRadar

Thus, it is quite obvious that the developers of CryptoKitties are taking measures to fix the situation. They decided to cooperate with Gods Unchained, a card game, also developed on the Ethereum blockchain. The joint project is supposed to boost up the popularity of both games.

According to the press release on the Medium account of Fuel Games, the developers of Gods Unchained:

For the next two weeks only, players who own a CryptoKitty will be able to purchase a limited edition card pack (Codename: “The Cat in the Pack”), which will grant the player a unique and tradable talisman that represents their Kitty as a statue in Gods Unchained, in addition to a rare Genesis pack.”

Correspondingly, three Kitties are going to be themed after the characters of Gods Unchained.

We remind you:

Will the Developers of CryptoKitties Release a New App Soon?

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The Blockchain Browser Brave Partners Up with Cheddar to Make a Unique Offer to Its Users

The blockchain-based browser Brave is collaborating with the news portal Cheddar and unlocking the content on the side that is normally available only to the premium account subscribers.

The offer is limited in time (starting today, January 29, and ending in three months) and meant only for the users who try to access Cheddar using the browser Brave.

Cheddar viewers are obsessed with crypto; we even have a show dedicated to it – The Crypto Craze. The idea of unlocking our premium feeds for Brave users via crypto funding, with no sign-up, seemed like a natural way to engage a passionate community,” the CEO of Cheddar mentioned.

Brave was launched back in 2015 by a co-founder of another famous browser Mozilla and a JavaScript developer Brendan Eich. It has over 5 million active users every day.

The browser is actively engaging in multiple collaborations in order to research the blockchain technology and how it may improve user experience.

Recently, it partnered up with a blockchain startup Civic and used it verification technology to check the authorship of content and make sure the real creators are paid for their work.

We remind you:

Opera Has Become the First Browser to Implement a Cryptocurrency Wallet

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Lightning Network: What State Is the Technology Currently in?

The last time we talked about the Lightning Network of Bitcoin, it showed massive increases in development. It was in December of last year. We remind you:

Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Is Growing: 500 BTC Has Been Passed

Let’s see what happened with the Network in a month or so.

According to the analytical data from the site 1ML, the number of the channels in the Lightning Network has grown by approximately 36% since last month and is now more than 22 thousand.

Visually, the Networks looks like this:

Source: https://1ml.com/visual/network

As for the active nodes in the Network, they also increased in quantity and are approaching the point of 6 thousand ones.

The technology was first launched back in March of 2018. It was created as a solution to the major problem of Bitcoin blockchain – the infamous scalability problem. The Lightning Network is maintained by 6 teams of specialists all over the world. Since the very launch date, it has been gaining momentum and expanding massively.

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