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Testing of Singapore’s Blockchain Payment Project Concluded, Ready for Commercial Rollout

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Temasek and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have released a joint report, Project Ubin Phase 5: Enabling Broad Ecosystem Opportunities, signaling the successful conclusion of the fifth phase of Project Ubin that was first launched in 2016 as per a Reuters report on July 13, 2020.

Enabling a Broad Ecosystem Collaboration

A multi-year and a multi-phase project, it has taken four years and reports before today’s announcement. At each stage of their rigorous experimentation, partnering banks and technology companies sought to find practical solutions to improve the country’s financial landscape. 

In Phase 2, for instance, the goal was to re-image real-time gross settlement (RTGS) while Phase 5–whose report was released early Monday, sought to enable Broad Ecosystem Collaboration. At this stage, MAS and its partners wanted to determine the project’s viability and the value of DLT-based payment systems. 

The final phase was developed by MAS in partnership with J.P. Morgan and Chase and Temasek. Its prototype network was launched on Nov 11, 2019. The prototype demonstrated different use cases with the highlight being Delivery-versus-Payment (DvP) settlement with private exchanges. 

The technical specifications for the connectivity interfaces of Phase 5 will be open to the public under Apache License Version 2.0.

The Chief Fintech Officer of MAS, Mr. Sopnendu Mohanty, while commenting, said:

Project Ubin has worked with the financial industry and blockchain community on a journey of experimentation, prototyping, and learning. This has built a strong foundation of knowledge, expertise, and experience, and paved a path towards commercial adoption. Following the successful experimentation over five phases, we look forward to greater adoption and live deployment of blockchain technology.

What is Project Ubin?

MAS’ Project Ubin ropes in several partners including ConsenSys and J.P. Morgan and Chase.

Generally known for their banking efficiency, Project Ubin was launched to explore how the country’s banking and financial systems can harness the powers of blockchain. 

The overarching goal is to create a blockchain-based payment system that merges real-time gross settlement (RTGS) capabilities with transaction privacy and settlement finality while remaining robust. Efficiency and transparency also formed a big part of MAS’ objectives.

In late April, the Internal Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) published a guideline that exempted taxes on hard forks and airdrops.

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Source: https://btcmanager.com/testing-singapore-blockchain-payment-project-commercial-rollout/

Blockchain

Japan is the ‘leading candidate’ for Ripple’s new headquarters: SBI Holdings CEO

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Japanese financial giant SBI Holdings CEO Yoshitaka Kitao said that Japan is the most likely country Ripple will relocate to, should it leave the United States. 

At an Oct. 28 press briefing, Kitao stated that the blockchain-based payments firm “has made Japan the most promising candidate” for its new headquarters if Ripple makes good on its threats to move its San Francisco offices. SBI Holdings is a Ripple investor, while Kitao sits on the firm’s board of directors.

Both Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen and CEO Brad Garlinghouse have expressed frustration at the lack of regulatory clarity in the United States. Earlier this month, Larsen stated the firm was considering moving to countries like the U.K., Switzerland, Singapore, or Japan, because authorities in the U.S. had a “regulation through enforcement” policy and were “woefully behind” in preparing for the cryptocurrency-based next generation of a global financial system.

According to a Bloomberg report on Oct. 22, Ripple shortlisted Japan and Singapore. Garlinghouse said at the time that he had spoken to SBI about using the country as a potential location for its headquarters.

“Japan is one of our fastest-growing markets, in part because we have key partners like SBI,” stated Garlinghouse.

SBI Holdings also announced today that Ripple had completed an investment in Japanese payments company MoneyTap, seemingly as part of its plans to integrate Ripple-powered settlements across ATMs in Japan. The integration is reportedly intended to provide consumers with easier access to funds at Japanese ATMs regardless of their banking affiliation.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/japan-is-the-leading-candidate-for-ripple-s-new-headquarters-sbi-holdings-ceo

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Fidelity’s Crypto Subsidiary Targets Asian Investors To Buy Bitcoin

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  • Fidelity Digital Asset Services (FDAS) has partnered with Stack Funds to enable Asian investors to purchase and store cryptocurrency assets more freely and securely. 
  • Based in Singapore, Stack Funds is a regulated fund manager focusing on Bitcoin and other digital assets.
  • According to the Bloomberg report, Stack Funds will make Fidelity’s secure custody services available to its clients, primarily based in Asia. The company outlined that the Asian market has been continuously growing in demand towards the cryptocurrency industry, especially from high-net-worth investors and family offices.
  • Stack further explained that all assets under its management will be audited monthly. The firm will provide insurance coverage, weekly contributions, and redemptions to enhance capital security.  
  • Stack’s co-founder, Michael Collett, said that Fidelity’s involvement will enable its company to attract even more investors from the region. 
  • On the other hand, Christopher Tyrer, head of Fidelity Digital Assets Europe, believes that “there’s a critical need for platforms which have a deep understanding of what local and regional investors are looking for.” However, he admitted that the digital asset space has “historically lacked” such platforms. 
  • After its success in the US, Fidelity Digital Assets expanded its cryptocurrency services to Europe last year. The company aims at entering the Asian market as well now with the Stack Funds partnership. 
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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/fidelitys-crypto-subsidiary-targets-asian-investors-to-buy-bitcoin/

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Hacked? Crypto Lending Platform Cred Suspends Deposits And Withdrawals While Cooperating With Authorities

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The popular cryptocurrency lending service Cred has announced that it has temporarily suspended all funds inflows and outflows. Without disclosing many details, the platform said it’s cooperating with law enforcement authorities to investigate an incident.

Cred Suspends Deposits And Withdrawals

The United States-based crypto lending platform, which recently announced joining Visa’s fast track program, updated its customers on Twitter regarding the latest troubling developments with a brief message.

“Unfortunately, we are unable to comment further at this time, but we will undertake to provide an update within the next two weeks. During this period, all inflows and outflows of funds will be suspended.” – read the statement.

Staying true to its fashion, the cryptocurrency community lashed out at Cred and its lack of details about what’s going on. This reaction prompted the lending protocol to comment once again. Firstly, Cred apologized for the concerns and inconveniences it has caused while it’s assessing the “business impact connected with a recent fraudulent incident.”

Furthermore, the post explained that Cred is currently cooperating with law enforcement authorities. However, it provided some reassurances claiming that “no client personal data or account information was compromised.”

It’s worth noting that Cred’s website reads that the platform works with “trusted security and insurance providers Fireblocks and Lockton to ensure that our customers’ digital assets have enterprise-grade security.” Nevertheless, several community members have questioned the state of their holdings on the platform, as they weren’t satisfied with Cred’s brief updates.

A Dissolved Partnership Saw This Coming?

Although it’s still unconfirmed if the so-called “incident” is indeed a hack, it seems that the issues have been transpiring for a while now. Days before Cred suspended deposits and withdrawals, one of its partners ended its relationship with the lending protocol.

The cryptocurrency wallet and trading platform, Uphold, announced on Sunday that users could no longer link their Uphold wallets to the third-party crypto lending provider Cred.

At the time of this writing, neither Uphold nor Cred have disclosed why their partnership agreement ended.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/hacked-crypto-lending-platform-cred-suspends-deposits-and-withdrawals-while-cooperating-with-authorities/

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