Recent News on Blockchain Technology & Cryptocurrencies
This week, I would like to highlight some recent announcements in relation to blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
Facebook’s plan to have its Libra cryptocurrency become a global currency is coming apart after PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, eBay, Stripe exited the Libra Association over the past couple weeks. According to The Verge:
“The first to ditch Libra was Paypal, which withdrew on October 4th. Then, over the course of a few hours on October 11th, Visa, Mastercard, Stripe and Mercado Pago all bailed on the project, with eBay tagging along for good measure. That meant every major US payment processor has exited the association. (The final remaining payment processor, PayU, has not responded to multiple requests for comment.) It’s an alarming turnaround for the Facebook-backed project, and the first clear indication that Libra’s founders may have bitten off more than they can chew.”
Telegram, a popular encrypted messaging app with about 300 million users, may postpone plans to launch its own cryptocurrency after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) obtained a restraining order to stop the sale of the tokens in the U.S.
According to the SEC's complaint, Telegram Group Inc., and its wholly-owned subsidiary TON Issuer Inc., (together, “Telegram”) began raising capital in January 2018 to finance the companies’ business, including the development of their own blockchain - the “Telegram Open Network” or “TON Blockchain” - as well as the mobile messaging application “Telegram Messenger”. Telegram sold approximately 2.9 billion digital tokens called “Grams” at discounted prices to 171 initial purchasers worldwide, including more than 1 billion Grams to 39 U.S. purchasers. Telegram promised to deliver the Grams to the initial purchasers upon the launch of its blockchain by no later than October 31, 2019, at which time the purchasers and Telegram would be able to sell their Grams into U.S. markets. The SEC complaint alleges that Telegram failed to register their offers and sales of Grams, which are securities, in violation of the registration provisions of the Securities Act of 1933.
Telegram, which raised more than $1.7 billion last year for its project, told investors it’s evaluating ways to resolve the agency’s concerns, including potentially delaying the issuance of the tokens beyond its October 31 target, according to a note sent to investors and seen by Bloomberg News.
This week, the Korea Financial Telecommunications and Clearings Institute (KTFC) announced the launch of blockchain-based digital IDs for financial services. The organization aims to streamline consumer processes such as renewing loans and opening bank accounts. The IDs are designed to be interoperable between service providers, and already have more than 30 firms signed up.
Last week, Vanguard, one of the world's largest investment companies, announced that it was partnering with Nasdaq Ventures-backed blockchain startup Symbiont to develop a trading platform for the $6 trillion currency market. With the new platform, Vanguard, which manages $5.2 trillion, aims to lower transaction costs for the trillions of dollars worth of currencies it trades annually by boosting peer-to-peer trading for investors, connecting them directly via blockchain technology.
Chief Executive Officer