Stanford University Is Going to Study Blockchain

stanford blockchain

The second best university of the world, based in Stanford, California, will open up a center for studying the blockchain technology. The idea was sponsored by a bunch of cryptocurrency projects and startups, including OmiseGO, Ethereum Foundation and others.

The lab will be engaged in analyzing and researching this innovative technology and also coming up with new ways of its application and implementation into education and other spheres of life. However, this is not going to be the only focus of this center. The official press release states:

Center scientists are creating courses to help future students and working professionals use blockchain to develop financial instruments, protect intellectual property, manage vital records and more.

The founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin expressed his excitement about the upcoming opening.

This center is going to be supervised by the two cryptocurrency experts who also happen to be teachers at the engineering department of the Stanford University.

We would like to remind you that the blockchain university will soon be opened in Oxford.

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The Recent Filing of Apple to SEC Suggests Its Interest in the Blockchain Technology

It has been detected that one of the latest listing of Apple submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission called “Conflict Minerals Report” mentioned the blockchain technology as one of the methods to deal with the issue stated there.

The issue itself regarded the mining, production and shipment of minerals used to produce smartphones and other electronic devices.

We have covered the topic earlier and informed you about the company Ford that cooperated with IBM and other giants in order to combat child labor in Africa. Their primary goal was to focus on cobalt mines in Congo, where minors were and maybe still are working illegally.

Meanwhile, Apple has some big plans on that cobalt, since this mineral is crucial for the company to manufacture their devices. However, using cobalt from the infamous mines in Congo would mean direct support of the human rights abuse.

Many experts have repeatedly pointed out that the supply chains of Apple were involved in multiple scandals involving the violation of human basic rights. Thus, the company had to make sure it got rid of the “dirty” reputation.

Apple is deeply committed to upholding human rights across its global network of suppliers that support the manufacturing of its mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and related accessories. Apple works to safeguard the well-being of people involved in its supply chain and to protect the places where materials are sourced,” the filing reads.

Conflict Minerals Report was mainly about the work ethics of Apple and the possible ways to ensure the legitimacy of supply chains, using the blockchain technology, as well as educating other businesses how to use blockchain for security purposes.

Thus, we might draw a conclusion that Apple is getting closer to using the blockchain technology, even though it is indirect so far. Bigger step towards using the potential of blockchain might follow soon.

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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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Huobi Launches New Fiat-To-Crypto Exchange: Full Analysis Of Forthcoming Platform

Huobi decided to expand its market in the Western Hemisphere, therefore, US-based subsidiary Huobi.com launches a new fiat-to crypto exchange, which will operate in the USA.

Preconditions for launching the exchange

Creating a new platform sounds quite weird especially against the background of drastic downfall of cryptocurrency prices, which led to decrease in exchange volumes. Yet, Huobi, being in top three crypto exchange by 24-hour trading volume, seems not to care about it at all.

The company has recently announced a large-scale rebranding of his US strategic partner HBUS. Later, the company adopted Huobi brand and renamed itself into Huobi.com. Now Huobi.com is opened for American customers, and it also has started a partnership with Prime Trust not long ago. The latter is a Nevada-based trust company that provides services of withdrawal and deposits for the users.

With this partnership and the fact that other crypto exchanges are rolling out support for international fiat currencies, Huobi.com made a decision to grow up  and go beyond crypto-crypto transactions.

What do you need to know about the platform?

Firstly, the company plans to add three major coins to the platform, these are Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Tether (USDT), they will be tied to US dollar. The listing of other pairs will depend on customer response.

Secondly, the exchange set minimum deposit and withdrawal limit, which is $100. Though the users are bound to register with Prime Trust in order to deposit USD to the exchange. The custodial account requires the completion of Know-Your-Customer (KYC) identity verification checks.

We want to remind you that Huobi plans to launch its own stablecoin in the first half of 2019. Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange has already a substitute for stablecoin, namely HUSD; it supports four US-regulated stablecoins: Paxos Standard (PAX), True USD (TUSD), USD Coin (USDC), and Gemini Dollar (GUSD). Unfortunately, the report did not specify which currency the stablecoin will be pegged to.

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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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