Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson on mission to deploy crypto for global economy revolution

In recent weeks, plenty has been said about the possibilities of reshaping the economic system using innovation and technology. In the latest episode of #FinancialFox, we caught up with Charles Hoskinson, founder of IOHK and Cardano, to hear his thoughts on the current concerning socio-economic situation brought about by the pandemic, and his plans for Cardano moving forward.

Charles is not just the co-founder of cryptocurrency Ethereum and the founder of Cardano; he is a charismatic figure, highly influential in the crypto community, not to mention a natural visionary when it comes to the power of technology to build a better world. Speaking of the pandemic’s dramatic economic impact, especially for small and medium businesses and in developing countries where debt is increasing dramatically, Charles criticises the current financial and economic system, particularly measures like quantitative easing, which he thinks are unsustainable and harmful to the global economy.

Watch the full interview with Charles Hoskinson here:

The impact will be even stronger on smaller businesses. As Charles sees it, there is an ‘asymmetrical economic depression’ ahead because larger businesses will continue to make profits and have access to credit lines and financial resources. However, a stronger and fairer economy can be built by leveraging the potential of blockchain and decentralisation, in what he calls monetary innovation, given that cryptocurrencies offer an alternative credit system.

He also believes that there will be a significant push for crypto technology in the developing world in the near future, as we see that their economic structures tend to be more fragile and vulnerable to crisis and debt. New technologies are leapfrogging to quickly bridge this gap.

Endorsing Charles’ philosophy, there have been moves from IOHK and the Cardano Foundation to spur research and development in blockchain and technology innovation. IOHK has recently donated $500m, in ADA, for the University of Wyoming for blockchain research and development in academia, one of the core values of IOHK. The state of Wyoming is known for its progressive approach to crypto legislation, as reported by CoinTelegraph.

The research lab activities are focused on three main elements: software development, pilots, and research on a new crypto-native microchip. The greater purpose of the grant is to look at ways of optimising supply chain systems with more transparency and efficiency.

Cardano expands its presence in Africa

For years, IOHK and Cardano have pushed for innovation in Africa and have established key partnerships on the continent. Currently, Cardano reaches 54 countries in Africa, committed to building blockchain governance to future-proof the region’s sustainable growth and development.

In November last year, the Cardano foundation announced it has joined forces with various leading institutions such as the African Leadership College, the University of Mauritius and the Swiss Blockchain Federation, among others, to lay the groundwork to future-proof the blockchain industry in Mauritius.

Charles believes Africa is an exciting and promising place to do business and employ technology solutions. The African population is young, keen on embracing technology tools and open to a change in the system that will give them better future prospects and economic opportunities.

Charles Hoskinson and Cardano have been working with Ethiopia government

In other African countries like Ethiopia, Cardano has engaged in financial inclusion programmes, particularly for small farmers and businesses, where blockchain technology and digital currencies can streamline transactions, increase production and facilitate trade.

More recently, Cardano has identified South Africa as a key market for the cryptocurrency to build a network of governments, institutions and enterprises using Cardano on the African continent. The newly established South African National Blockchain Alliance (SANBA) is an ally of the Cardano Foundation and was created to push innovation and employ blockchain in its efforts to boost socio-economic growth. SANBA, supported by the South African government, is a partnership between the state, business community, academia and civil society to fast-track the use of blockchain in South Africa.

Among the possible applications of Cardano technology are tools for developing greater transparency to reduce fraud, building digital identities for municipal services and bolstering developing economies with virtual currencies. “The potential collaboration with SANBA is the first step in delivering game-changing technology to enhance Africa’s dynamic and diverse economies,” reads the official statement from the Foundation.

Beyond government initiatives and partnerships, Cardano has very active communities in Nigeria and Rwanda.

Nathan Kaiser, Chairperson of the Cardano Foundation, says: “Legislation is key to adoption and real use cases of blockchain. The Cardano Foundation is proud to be at the forefront of shaping blockchain-enabled sustainable growth in Africa. We are open to working with the continent’s countries to establish robust governance policies and assess existing laws and policies.

“Our aim is to help African nations to shape legislative and commercial standards while ensuring accountability, which in turn will create new jobs and ensure sustainable growth. Blockchain will afford African countries to diversify their economies and help the continent to increase its innovation and investment attractiveness.”

IOHK and Cardano Foundation are not alone in the mission to bring crypto to Africa. Binance, the largest cryptocurrency trading exchange, is also targeting African countries for cryptocurrency adoption. Emanuel Babalola, Binance’s Business Manager in Nigeria, says that most crypto users in the country are school students, showing the appeal of digital currencies for younger generations.

“People use cryptocurrency as a remittance gateway as well as a hedge against any devaluations of local currency, plus speculative trading,” said Yele Bademosi, co-founder of the Binance-backed social payments startup Bundle.

Sustainability is key for future growth

Just as important as building a resilient economic system is ensuring sustainable practices, both financially and environmentally. Charles believes that projects need to be sustainable to last and nurture the economy. Change requires a shift from the current heavily centralised order into more autonomy and decentralisation.

“I think it is a great life lesson to grow stuff, even if it is a small plant on your desk. It changes your perspective,” says Charles, making an analogy with his own farming. “When you grow things, it takes months and months for you to see the result. You can do things that will damage your soil if you are not clever about it. I think this is a great analogy for sustainable protocol design and company design.”

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OBC’s Brazio undergoes first halving as Brazilians take more interest in crypto

Just as the crypto world was talking about the recent Bitcoin halving, Online Blockchain’s (OBC) Brazil coin cryptocurrency underwent its first halving on May 13th. According to London’s’ Blockchain guru, Clem Chambers, CEO of OBC, miners of Brazio will see their block reward reduced from 200 BRAZ to 100 BRAZ.

Chambers said, “This is a coming of age moment for Brazio and we are excited by both the currency’s development and popularity, Brazio’s excellent security, fast transactions and decentralised governance is a compelling proposition in Latin America, a region which is seeing a continued rise in cryptocurrency adoption.”

There are currently 83 million Brazio coins in existence. Allocation is tightly capped at 210 million BRAZ. It is also expected that the lower supply, along with a growing demand, will boost the coin’s value. Brazio’s next halving is expected to happen in approximately two years.

The coin is a secure digital currency developed by London listed Online Blockchain (LON:OBC) in partnership with ADVFN Brazil to provide the people of Brazil a doorway into the cryptocurrency revolution. Brazio trades on the SouthXchange.

Users can also get Brazio for free from FreeFaucet.io, OBC’s hub for cryptocurrencies faucets where users can mine and cash cryptocurrencies for free.

Brazil has the largest internet market in Latin America, accounting for nearly 140 million users in 2016. Digital adoption along with an interest in crypto currencies has been growing steadily over the last few years. Binance, the largest crypto exchange in the world, saw an increase of 16% from Brazilian users in Q1 2020 than in Q4 2019.

Mayra Siqueira, from Binance Brazil added that because of political instability in Brazil, cryptocurrencies pose an opportunity: “We’re not seeing international investment coming to Brazil any time soon because we’re politically unstable. We’re going to see more crypto adoption because of that.”

There are around 60 crypto exchanges now operating in Brazil today.

Crypto currencies provide an attractive option for financially excluded Brazilians. They offer innovative alternatives for banking services, which are highly concentrated. Around 78% of all deposits in Brazil are made to five financial conglomerates. Digital currencies challenge the hegemony of the major banks, providing users with quicker transactions, lower costs and more accessibility. Alternative payment methods also mean more freedom and control over personal finances.

Brazio offers the robust features of a secure blockchain and can be mined by anyone with a computer.

A report from the World Bank on financial inclusion shows that by 2014, only 54 percent of the adult population in Latin America had an account at a financial institution. In developed economies, 94 percent of adults have an account at a financial institution.

Online Blockchain (LSE: OBC) has also developed Buenos, a cryptocurrency ecosystem targeted at the people of neighbouring Argentina. The company sees huge opportunity for digital currencies in developing countries where the financial system is less stable and people, particularly the young population, are more open to adopt digital financial services.

“Emerging markets have always had a problem with their financial infrastructure. Cryptocurrencies and the Blockchain give emerging economies a chance to leapfrog the legacy issues and opportunity to steal a march on G7 countries forever hijacked by their bankers,” says Clem Chambers.

Brazil is one of the largest markets for ADVFN, OBC’s sister company, and has an exciting audience keen and eager to seek alternative financial services and investment tools.

Online Blockchain plc (LSE: OBC) is a UK-based incubator and developer of businesses in internet and information-based technologies, including developers, administrators, as well as custodians of blockchains and crypto currencies. Focusing operations on building ‘the new generation of blockchain’. OBC continues to consider new related opportunities, particularly crypto currencies, and blockchain-based opportunities. Led by a CEO and team with over two decades of pioneering in tech. Online Blockchain focuses on innovation in crypto currency and decentralised ecosystems via various applications of blockchain: incubating crypto currency start-ups and developing technical innovation in the blockchain space.

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Time for cryptocurrencies to take over the stock market?

While the events of the past few months have shaken up pretty much every aspect of our lives, the truth is that even before the pandemic was in sight, the financial market had been struggling. Talks about another crisis had been brewing for some time.

The arrival of Covid-19 was indeed the last straw in revealing widespread discontentment with a system that is increasingly considered unfit for purpose. Amid a near total shutdown of the air travel industry, the price of oil — which had already been heading down — reached negative figures, worsening the turmoil in the financial market.

Beyond the wreckage in the stock market, the impacts can also be seen in the global economy, which will experience negative growth this year. In the US alone, 30 million people have filed initial unemployment claims since mid-March. As a way to recover the economy, the US FEd and the European Central Bank are resorting to quantitative easing, a method criticised by many as potentially causing inflation and returning very low interest rates on investments.

The virus has shown itself not only to be a threat to people’s lives and healthcare systems; it has also highlighted how our economic and political structures are ill-prepared to protect people’s assets and jobs, calling into question how much governments and authorities can be trusted to provide sound and effective solutions at a time like this.

In a research report published on April 30th, Phil Bonello from Grayscale Investments noted: “Today’s macroeconomic environment continues to reinforce that a scarce, digital, non-sovereign form of money may be an attractive place to store value and may serve as a hedge against unrestrained money printing.”

Cryptocurrency to the rescue?

Talk of alternative finance has always been brewing within the crypto community, which has long advocated for a shift to a new financial and economic system, one that is less centralised and more user-centric.

Cryptocurrencies leverage on the features of blockchain technology, allowing money to be transferred in a safe and quick manner. Praise for blockchain and cryptocurrencies had been growing over the last few years as the ‘crypto revolution’ was fuelled by frustration with the old highly centralised system which operates slowly and concentrates power into the hands of a few elite organisations.

Just as stock markets were struggling at the start of April, Revolut, one of the largest fintechs in Europe, announced its decision to make cryptocurrency trading available to all its seven million customers.

Revolut was no stranger to digital assets, having offered support for Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin to its Premium users since 2017. The London-based fintech referred to crypto’s origins as an “alternative to real money during the times of quantitative easing and currency devaluation following the 2008 financial crisis,” which is “happening again right now” following the COVID-19 economic upset.

Investors have been seeking safer havens for their money, and cryptocurrencies — particularly Bitcoin — are regarded as one of these alternatives. “Aside from gold, the list of alternative assets to consider as a hedge against uncertainty in the global markets are few and far between,” said Fred Schebesta, co-founder of Finder, to the Economic Times. ”To me, Bitcoin remains one of the most attractive assets in helping diversify a portfolio looking to hedge against risk in the coming years.”

Crypto market heats up anticipating Bitcoin halving

This May, crypto enthusiasts are looking forward to the next Bitcoin halving, a rare event that will mark the fall in the number of bitcoins unlocked for mining one block, from the current 12.5 bitcoins to 6.25 bitcoins. This mechanism exists to ensure the limited supply of Bitcoins and to control the value of the cryptocurrency. It also works as a market regulator, indicating it could lead to a price increase. Crypto advocates see the halving mechanism as a way to control inflation.

Clem Chambers — serial investor, CEO of global leading financial news platform ADVFN and CEO of blockchain application developer Online Blockchain — who predicted the market collapse in earlier in January 2020, warns investors to be very careful about equities as he looks favourably at crypto as a sound alternative investment for long- term rewards in these times of market volatility and anticipated recession: “If you think the future is hyperinflation, you need to buy Bitcoin.”

In anticipation of the halving, in the last week of April the entire market capitalisation or value of cryptocurrencies jumped $35.3 billion in 24 hours. Bitcoin reached $9,388.30, representing an 18.57% increase in one day.

In the last 24 hours, Bitcoin price went back above $9,000, just as as the U.S. government announced it plans to borrow further $3 trillion to revive the economy.

While Bitcoin can be considered as a form of ‘digital gold’, the true value of cryptocurrencies lies in the fact that they are designed as more than an alternative finance method. Digital assets have high use-case value because they provide a range of services and products that in the traditional system would require a middleman such as a bank, in addition to going through a lengthy, expensive and bureaucratic process.

Ethereum, the second-highest valued crypto in the market, for example, is a smart contract platform that enables developers to build decentralised applications (dapps). On the blockchain, smart contracts run without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference; facilitating the exchange of money, content, property, shares, or any valuable asset.

Be sure to follow us on social media @cassiopeia_ltd to keep up with more news and updates in this exciting sector, and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel to hear about further upcoming interviews on FinancialFox.

Crypto in coronavirus times: Opportunity or doom?

Crypto in coronavirus times: Opportunity or Pitfall?

With the escalation of the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe and the Americas, we have seen increasing disruption in the financial markets and political spheres. Tensions have been building as more cases and deaths are reported by the day and countries take ever more drastic measures such as closing borders and locking down cities.

The impact on the stock market has left investors flocking to bonds and yields in search of safer investment options in this critical situation. The US 10-year yield fell below 1% on Monday after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to near zero, as well as announcing it would start quantitative easing in order to pump $700 billion into the economy.

The crypto market has also felt the effects of the global pandemic. Last Thursday, bitcoin suffered its worst one-day drop in years, falling from $7,600 to $5,300. On Friday March 13, bitcoin fell to a year low of $3,867..

Chart from 17/03/20 https://www.coindesk.com/price/bitcoin

The bitcoin price drop was a surprise for some crypto advocates, who had argued that cryptocurrencies were the new ‘safe-haven’ assets and flight capital of choice due to their limited supply, lack of transportation issues and because they can be bought and turned into fiat very easily regardless of geographical location. In previous stock market declines, the crypto market was indeed boosted, and prices rose. However, this time, the trend does not seem to follow.

Even traditional safe-haven assets such as gold and silver are seeing a decrease in prices. The price of silver reached an 11-year low this week, while gold dropped to a multi-month low, as reported by Kitco News.

Some in the industry have said this bear run could pose an opportunity to buy cryptocurrencies.

Clem Chambers, CEO of ADVFN (which owns InvestorsHub in the US) and Online Blockchain plc comments: “Crypto is a victim of liquidity issues caused by the collapse of other markets. People are selling BTC for dollars to make margin with their banks and brokers or even pay wage bills.”

“As liquidity from central banks flood the markets, this should reverse, but the situation is very fragile with a guarantee of many outrageous situations to come.”

Next Bitcoin halving is close

Despite the sharp price drops, the crypto community is looking forward to the upcoming bitcoin halving.

With the next occurrence expected in May 2020, bitcoin halving sees the reward for mining new blocks of the cryptocurrency halved. On this occasion, miners will be rewarded 6.25 BTC, instead of the current 12.5 BTC. Halvings are scheduled once every 210,000 blocks, until the network reaches the maximum supply of 21 million bitcoins generated.

This mechanism exists to stop inflation by limiting the supply of coins: an important price and market regulator which could also indicate a price increase.

The first halving in November 2012 saw the initial reward of 50 BTC halved to 25. Since the second halving in 2016, miners have been receiving 12.5 bitcoins for each block successfully processed.

However, other crypto experts argue that the circumstances are different in 2020, and that the two previous halvings should not be taken as an indication of price surges.

"The bitcoin ecosystem today is arguably very different from previous halvings: four years ago, crypto derivatives markets were in their infancy, institutional involvement was slim and valuation frameworks were practically non-existent. It’s not unreasonable for investors to believe that this time it’s different," wrote Noelle Acheson, Director of Research at CoinDesk.

Blockchain to rescue the global economy?

The global pandemics and the ensuing stock market plunge have thrown the current economic model into question by showing it is not fool proof, nor does it protect individuals in times of need.

So, can new technology step in? Many of us think so.

Cryptocurrencies, by their very nature, challenged the economic model and were designed as a decentralised, borderless alternative to traditional currencies. The foundation of the cryptosystem is to democratise access to money and financial services. Even in their infancy, before the price booms and institutional investment, cryptocurrencies attracted advocates who believed a new finance model was possible and necessary, an idea we have recently been sharply reminded of.

The criticism of the current system comes from some of the most acclaimed names in the crypto industry, such as IOHK and Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson. In times of a drastic crisis like the COVID-19, we can see how fragile economic and market systems are. Through a pragmatic view, we see that the current economic and financial system works on the basis of artificial sums of money coming from trade and debt, being kept afloat by interest rate cuts and weekly cash injections from central banks.

Hoskinson believes in the potential of cryptocurrencies like Cardano and even believes that blockchain technology could benefit from the current crisis, offering better future prospects and a healthier financial system.

“They are probably going to want financial freedom and our industry as a whole is the only one that can offer that so the worse this pandemic gets, the better it’s going to be for our industry and for people’s perception of the need for new systems to solve complicated problems,” Hoskinson commented.

On his Twitter, Hoskinson said that the $700 billion ‘quantitative easing’ announced by the US government — what he called ‘dumpster economics’ — would not happen in the crypto sphere.

While there seem to be no right answers in this unprecedented scenario, it feels crucial to ask the right questions about building more resilient and fairer solutions.

Be sure to follow us on social media @cassiopeia_ltd to keep up with more news and updates in this exciting sector, and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel to hear about further upcoming interviews on FinancialFox.

Crypto Faucets: An easy way to earn crypto

There are many routes into the crypto market for investors: purchasing a coin, trading on an exchange, or even mining directly. Yet, making an informed decision between these alternatives requires a certain degree of technical expertise.

Recently, cryptocurrency companies have tried to fill this potential knowledge gap and spur growth in cryptocurrency adoption by setting up crypto faucets.

Faucets are applications that allow users to distribute and access cryptocurrencies without need for mining. As this model aims to address the technical difficulties of mining cryptocurrencies, it includes those users who are not familiar with the mining process but still want to obtain their share of cryptocurrencies.

These sites reward users with small amounts of Bitcoin when they complete a task on their platform, such as visiting ads, completing a captcha or playing games. Faucets then pay participants in Satoshis, the smallest available unit of BTC: a hundred million Satoshis equal one Bitcoin.

The faucet makes revenue by sharing its advertisement proceedings with users, as advertisers pay per click and by impression rates. This encourages users to return and spend as much time as possible interacting with the content, ensuring ad exposure.

One of the most recent faucets to arrive on the market has been launched by the Tezos Foundation and is targeted at developers. The Tezos mainnet allows developers and users to request XTZ tokens for development and testing purposes.

Because the service is free of charge, users may be sceptical of its legitimacy. If you are considering using faucets, be sure to do your research about the various services, weigh up the pros and cons of signing up, and always take precautions online such as never entering your addresses, public keys, or private keys on websites and forums.

Online Blockchain’s FreeFaucet: The ‘Yahoo of Crypto’

In 2019, Online Blockchain (OBC) launched its faucet product, the FreeFaucet, an easy service intended to make cryptocurrencies available to more people. So far, it has proven very popular: in eight months, OBC’s FreeFaucet has gathered more than 40,000 registered users, increasing its userbase by approximately 150 a day.

“With crypto faucets, we take that technical difficulty away. People can get a little Bitcoin, a little Ethereum, a little Brazio ̶ they can just get it on the website. If they want to get more, they can subscribe,” said the CEO of OBC, Clem Chambers.

OBC’s FreeFaucet, claimed to be have some of the highest paying faucets on the net, offers many popular cryptocurrencies including: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Monero, alongside OBC-owned cryptocurrencies such as PlusOneCoin, Buenos and Brazio. Free registered users can make three claims per day.

In addition to conventional faucets, FreeFaucet.io offers its free users a number of ways to net cryptocurrencies:

External webfaucets — cryptocurrency can be earnt by performing actions on other websites

Email faucet — users can claim cryptocurrency by accessing faucets sent to them via email

Impression faucets — an advertising disruptor; anyone registered can claim free cryptocurrency simply by checking out interesting featured projects on the site

Geofaucets — QR codes at set locations, which when scanned reward the scanner with cryptocurrency. Additionally, anyone can set up their own Geofaucet and make a passive income

Bitferno — a powerful cryptocurrency miner used to mine brand new cryptocurrencies. Approximately once a month, these cryptocurrencies are distributed — ‘airdropped’ — to all Freefaucet.io users

The innovative aspect of crypto faucets lies in their business model that allows users to earn without paying: FreeFaucet’s revenue comes from subscriptions and advertisements placed on the website. Cryptocurrency companies will purchase ad space on the FreeFaucet page to attract more coin holders

“It is not just about the money, it is about community and education, enabling people to enter the crypto world. FreeFaucet.io will help unlock the value of the crypto sector,” says Clem Chambers, CEO of Online Blockchain.

FreeFaucet “reverses the economic chain: money comes back to consumers rather than them paying the middlemen involved in purchasing a product or service,” he adds.

You can access the free faucet website here https://freefaucet.io

Follow Frefaucet.io on Twitter https://twitter.com/freefaucetio

Online Blockchain is a UK-based incubator and developer of businesses in internet and information-based technologies, including developers, administrators and custodians of blockchains and cryptocurrencies. Online Blockchain explores new opportunities in the tech space, particularly cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based opportunities including incubating cryptocurrency start-ups and developing technical innovation in the blockchain space. Led by a team with over two decades of pioneering in tech, Online Blockchain focuses on innovation in cryptocurrency and decentralised ecosystems via various applications of blockchain: incubating cryptocurrency start-ups and developing technical innovation in the blockchain space.

Other faucets available:

FreeBitcoin offers a range of casino-style games that allow you to multiply the Bitcoins you earn. For instance, the basic Hi-Lo game allows users to win up to 1 mBTC every time they play. The site also runs free weekly lotteries for which users get free tickets for playing the Bitcoin games. Visit freebitcoin.io

Cointiply is one of the newest Bitcoin faucets on the block, Cointiply gives users the chance to win up to 100,000 Satoshis per hour just by playing games and completing tasks such as watching videos and visiting webpages. Users may receive loyalty bonuses for playing daily and earn additional Bitcoins for completing short surveys, installing mobile apps and the unique Cointiply Mining Game. Payouts can be made directly to a Bitcoin Wallet and Doge Wallet. Visit cointiply.com

Moon Bitcoin was founded in 2015 and is one of the most widely used faucet services. Unlike most crypto faucets, Moon Bitcoin does not restrict how many times or the amount that users can cash out. Visit moonbit.co.in

Bonus Bitcoin is a faucet paying out up to 5,000 Satoshis every 15 minutes, with a variety of ways to boost earnings via its Bonus schemes and frequent special promotions and competitions. The current bonus scheme pays a daily 5% bonus of the total of all faucet claims and referral commission earned over the previous 3 days — providing that users have made at least one faucet claim during the previous day. Visit bonusbitcoin.co

Tokenisation of the real estate market: Swiss BrickMark makes largest ever property purchase in…

Tokenisation of the real estate market: Swiss BrickMark makes largest ever property purchase in tokens

2020 has started with a bang.

Swiss real estate investment firm BrickMark announced that it has signed an agreement to make the largest property purchase ever made using tokens. The building has a prime location ̶ Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse ̶ with the total transaction valued at CHF 130 million.

In the latest episode of #FinancialFox, crypto guru Stefania Barbaglio talked to Stephan Rind, CEO of BrickMark, about this pioneering transaction and the impact of such a deal on the blockchain industry.

Founded 18 months ago, BrickMark is now a member of EPRA (European Public Real Estate Association) and has already earned the position of leading blockchain real estate investment firm. The company is combining the asset value and profitability of this asset class with the technological possibilities of smart contracts in blockchain and tokenisation to create a more efficient “form of capital designed specifically for the needs of today’s global institutional investor,” said BrickMark on the announcement.

BrickMark sees this transaction as the first of a planned large-scale international real estate portfolio . The tokens will be built on the Ethereum blockchain and will make use of smart contracts to establish rights and entitlements of the token holders. “The market was waiting for a transaction of this size,” says Stephen.

CEO Stephan Rind

As for the high value of the purchase, Stephen says that ‘it is about trust, long-lasting relationships and track record’ and that the seller company RFR was a idealgreat international transaction partner.

Dr. Alexander Koblischek, Managing Director of RFR Management GmbH, said: “We gladly accepted the BrickMark tokens as part of the purchase price. We assume that digital financial instruments will also significantly gain in importance in the real state sector in the future.”

The BrickMark team has long-term experience in investment and real estate management. Two years ago, they realised the potential of blockchain in the industry.

“Real estate is the biggest asset class in the world and only 5% of all real estate investment is available for public investment through shares, bonds or fund units. The rest is locked in the hands of private investors. BrickMark tokens or other tokens that follow our concept are able to unlock this value and give access to these properties and wealth to people who haven’t had the chance to invest in prime properties in top locations around the world.”

Stephen believes this transaction is the first stage of BrickMark’s growth trajectory towards building a portfolio of high-quality properties.

Beyond tokens and smart contracts, blockchain technology can have other positive impacts on the real estate industry, especially in the developing world where land registry remains an issue to be solved. In many developing countries, property records are vulnerable to inconsistencies, as well as issues like tampering, damage, and loss, mainly due to the lack of a suitably secure system for land governance. These issues lead to vast areas of land ending up locked and unproductive.

The use of distributed ledger technology can streamline land and property records, reducing expropriation risks, facilitating market transactions, and unlocking access to finance, says the World Bank.

Watch the interview:

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CARDANO BLOCKCHAIN EVOLUTION

Cardano enters a new evolution phase with Shelley Testnet. Focus on decentralisation, power efficiency, community engagement and much more in an exclusive interview with Charles Hoskinson

In the latest episode of FinancialFox, crypto guru Stefania Barbaglio welcomed Charles Hoskinson, co-founder of IOHK and Cardano (ADA), one of the most prominent and most followed innovators in the blockchain/crypto space. In this three-episode series, Charles talks about the much anticipated Shelley test, updates on Cardano’s next phases and plans, more socially relevant partner projects, and the crucial element of community engagement.

Cardano was developed to be more than a cryptocurrency: a smart contract platform which seeks to deliver more advanced features than any previous protocol. It is the first blockchain platform to evolve out of a scientific philosophy and a research-first driven approach. It also ranks within the top 15 cryptocurrencies by market capitalisation.

Input-Output Hong Kong (IOHK) is the brains behind the Cardano blockchain. The team comprises scientists and engineers committed to developing decentralised open-source technologies that can cause cascading disruption.

These are exciting times for Cardano enthusiasts as the team gears up to complete the Shelley testnet. According to Hoskinson, after Shelley and planned updates, Cardano will be a true ‘third-generation cryptocurrency’ whose mission is to unlock a new era of development, powered by technology and decentralisation.

Shelley will see the introduction of a delegation and incentives scheme: a reward system to drive stake pools and community adoption. By the end of the Shelley era, Cardano should be 50–100 times more decentralised than any other extensive blockchain network. The Shelley era represents the natural maturation of the network, through which it emerges more useful, rewarding, and valuable for users. Shelley will set the stage for a fully distributed system.

From https://cardanoroadmap.com/en/

This past weekend, IOHK announced the successful set-up of the Shelley-incentivised test network via Twitter, allowing for the creation of stake pools. For those wishing to participate, IOHK has released a series of tutorial videos exploring the different stages of building up a functioning stake pool in the testnet. With the new incentivised network now up and running, pool operators are set up and ready for the Rewards wallet launch next week.

While other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are criticised for their high energy consumption, Shelly and Proof-of-Stake will enable Cardano to improve scalability and energy efficiency, bringing significant value and advantages without compromising on security or decentralisation. The entire Cardano network runs at a fraction of the power cost of equivalent proof-of-work blockchains, using the electricity equivalent of a single house, rather than that of a small country.

Hoskinson talks about the future of digital payments and AdaPay, a solution developed by the Cardano Foundation and COTI launched in November which allows merchants to accept ADA payments with a near-instant settlement into 35 fiat currencies.

Despite its advanced technology and expert team, Cardano has been struggling to break into the mainstream crypto industry and compete in the major league, which has disappointed some members of the community. Charles talks about the challenges inherent in crypto success and the importance of having a project with a solid mission behind it.

In the second part of the interview, the Cardano founder shares his views about quantum computing and the impacts of this new technology. It is a significant development, but it may take a while before quantum computing forms part of mainstream technology. Nevertheless, Charles believes that innovation is a process, and evolving technologies are a part of this.

Cardano is a social project as much as a financial one. It is not just payments; it’s about applications that can improve how things work in today’s world.

Stefania and Charles also discussed the signficant opportunity within the fashion and luxury sector to improve supply chain management and brand reputation and trust. Cardano has recently partnered with New Balance, the footwear giant, to allow people to establish ownership of the products they buy as an effort to combat counterfeit products. Blockchain also has the power to make the second-hand retail market more transparent and better regulated.

The food industry, land registry, digital identities and digital assets also offer considerable opportunities for implementation of blockchain technology.

Innovative technology developers like Cardano have the ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to enter markets in developing economies, where they can introduce their technologies to have a high impact on social and economic structures.

Cardano offers the technology necessary for systematic change. With the multitude of applications that blockchain offers, a decentralised technology can enable digital payments, smart contracts and food traceability, to name but a few.

In the last segment of the interview, Charles expands on the crucial role played by the community and the importance of engaging with people to raise awareness about Cardano and cryptocurrencies in general.

He also comments on the MMA fight with Chico Crypto. Is it going to happen?

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Facebook’s Libra: a coin-toss towards digital economy evolution and crypto’s mainstream status

Facebook’s announcement of its plans to introduce Libra, a global cryptocurrency focused on achieving the financial inclusion for unbanked people, spurred substantial backlash over data privacy and security issues from governments and their regulators. Libra has faced cynicism in relation to the social media giant’s controversial past regarding its failed attempts to protect users’ privacy.

While the governments’ main focus is on the regulatory issues, the industry experts believe Libra plays a more significant role for the crypto community in general and the development of the digital economy. Nonetheless, Facebook’s blockchain project seems to affect on every aspect of the modern digital economy and appears to have all-encompassing influence.

Mass adoption of cryptocurrencies and digital payments

This pessimistic approach of governments and regulators towards innovative technologies is however, nothing new. From an innovation aspect, Libra as a blockchain-based digital currency presents the next step in the evolution of money: an inflection point in the form of financial solution created not by governments and central banks, but the private companies which will ultimately disrupt the deeply ingrained monopoly set up by the mainstream money systems.

During the latest episode of Financial Fox, hosted by PR guru Stefania Barbaglio, Jared Tate, founder of DigiByte, explained that Libra symbolises significant validation for the novel blockchain technology, and starts to forge a new path for the future of finance and the crypto technology. Due to its pre-existing association with a well-known name such as Facebook and its 2.5 billion users, Libra stands a chance of becoming successful, and is essentially expected to be an advocate for cryptocurrencies, encouraging a lot more people to step into the crypto space.

As such, even if deemed unsuccessful, Libra symbolises an important first step towards the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. It will allow for a large segment of the public to get familiar with the crypto space and educate them on fundamental concepts and the key idea of controlling their own funds, as claimed by the Charles Hoskinson, founder of Cardano, during his conversation with Stefania Barbaglio for the Financial Fox Crypto Show.

Issues on data privacy and the control of technology market

Due to its potential for mass-adoption, Libra raises serious questions on the aspect of regulation and as such has been greeted by backlash from the regulators and members of traditional financial institutions, mainly over serious concerns as to whether the digital currency threatens the stability of the US dollar and other government-backed currencies, or could infringe on consumers’ privacy.

Essentially, there is no limit on the type and the amount of data Libra will gather, and absolutely no guarantee on privacy. Facebook’s business model is based on how much it knows about you. As Libra itself is based on the permissioned blockchain, it means Facebook has full censorship power backed up by money that people, especially the unbanked, are going to need, said Jean Phillipe Beaudet, Director and CTO of ZeU Crypto network for the Financial Fox.

Such concerns among experts regarding the Libra stable coin are predominantly rooted in the market dominance of its parent company, Facebook, and the latter’s controversial past regarding data handling. With that in mind, introducing Libra, a payment system powered by Facebook, raises serious political power and consumer privacy concerns.

Jean Philippe Beaudet, director of ZeU, argued that although cryptocurrencies are always seen as a decentralisation tool that will help people gain more freedom, they can also become the most effective control tool ever made, as this is smart money needed by everyone. “We are now at the point where we have to balance these requirements of being a bit regulated and not enabling the governments to control their populations. That is potentially going to be a great challenge and Libra is not helping on that front. I believe it’s just creating a scarier monopoly”, added Jean Philippe Beaudet for the Financial Fox.

Adoption of Libra in different countries

Libra’s main objective — to bank the unbanked in developing countries — seems to be running into obstacles already.

Jared Tate, Bill Barhydt, Jean-Philippe Beaudet, Ajeet Khurana and the host, Stefania Barbaglio

It appears that Libra’s mission could be undermined as some of the developing economies such as India, Libra’s largest potential market, seems to have adopted a hostile approach towards cryptocurrencies. Earlier in 2019, India introduced a bill on Banning Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currency, proposing a 10-year-long prison term for people who “mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies”, ultimately preventing Libra and any other innovative crypto-technology project from entering the Indian market.

Ajeet Kurana, Indian entrepreneur and former CEO of Zebpay India shares his hopes in the interview with Director of Financial Fox Stefania Barbaglio, in regards to Libra’s efforts in India: “If in such an environment, Facebook’s Libra succeeds in leading the way against the Indian government or in fact any such government hesitant towards cryptocurrencies, showing that the unbanked are truly the marginalised community in question, that would open the doors to all the other cryptocurrencies and digital assets to enter the Indian market.”

The future of Libra in China, the other leading emerging economy, does not seem much brighter. The media outlets Facebook and WhatsApp are already banned in China, the most restrictive country when it comes to ICO’s, prompting social media consumers to use WeChat, a similar app that allows the options of payment transfers and purchasing goods without ever leaving the app.

Jared Tate, founder of DigiByte, believes that “If history is any sort of track record, the Chinese government will opt to do something very similar to Libra, creating their own digital currency”. The central bank of China is reportedly working on its own digital currency to stop Facebook from taking over the market.

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Ecosystem to expect other players, inspired by Facebook

Charles Hoskinson in an interview for the Financial Fox

Charles Hoskinson, CEO of Input-Output Hong Kong, shared in his interview for the Financial Fox his prediction of the Crypto and Blockchain market: “The existence of Facebook in the market will be an invitation to the others to come in as well. It is kind of the next wave and a great competitive pressure to existing players such as Cardanos, Ethereums and Bitcoins to evolve more quickly. Ultimately it’s Darwinian technology and we have to be obsessed with usability, consumer experience and usefulness in order to survive. Facebook has certain advantages which other smaller players don’t.”

However, those advantages don’t seem to be stopping other big companies either. We are possibly expecting to see other big platform providers such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft entering the Blockchain and Crypto space. Samsung has already announced experiments on developing an Ethereum-based Blockchain , while Nestle announced its new Blockchain initiative to support its supply chain.

Decentralised technology

The decentralised nature of blockchain technology means that it doesn’t rely on a central point of control. A lack of a single authority makes the system fairer and considerably more secure. The way in which data is recorded onto a blockchain epitomises its most revolutionary quality: decentralisation.

Instead of relying on a central authority to securely transact with other users, blockchain utilises innovative consensus protocols across a network of nodes to validate transactions and record data in a manner that is incorruptible. However, that can’t really be said in the case of Libra, which is supposedly backed up by the pool of securities.

In that respect, Jared Tate, founder of Digibyte, believes that the truly decentralised projects out there really cannot be compared with these fiat currency-backed projects. Jared told Financial Fox that in the case of Libra, there needs to be a differentiation from the regulators’ perspective on how an everyday, transactional stable coin is operated versus a truly decentralised digital asset like Bitcoin or Digibyte. We can’t really compare the two as they don’t function in the same way, considering that the Libra project is pegged to the US dollar, which is subject to inflation.

So far, Facebook doesn’t have a very good record of decentralising things and giving power to the users. It is, like most Silicon Valley companies, the middleman of necessity and in occupying that position, has the enormous control over your privacy, your information and your autonomy. “They like being dictators in that respect”, said Charles Hoskinson, CEO of Input-Output Hong Kong in an interview for the Financial Fox.

That perhaps subjects Facebook’s decentralised technology to even more scrutiny, as calling it decentralised while in essence it is not, makes it even more controversial.

So where does that leave Libra? Ultimately, it is at the forefront of this paradigm shift towards a more developed digital economy of the future. But until further developments are completed and authorities start to warm to the idea of digital money, Libra’s near future depends on its collaboration with the financial sector, social impact organisations, regulators and experts across various industries. This is the way to ensure that a sustainable, secure and trusted framework underpins Libra’s system, allowing it to deliver a leap forward for economic empowerment on a global scale by ultimately encouraging the development of digital economy, as has been promised by Facebook.

To watch the debate about Libra and follow other related stories subscribe to our Youtube Channel and follow @financialfox for the upcoming updates.

Libra’s boundary pushing causes worldwide backlash

A month after the announcement of Libra’s proposed launch, Facebook’s cryptocurrency has faced considerable backlash from authorities, raising uncertainty around its future plans. The blockchain project has been greeted frostily by most regulators and financial institutions all over the world, as they collectively indicate that an unregulated digital currency available to billions of social media users globally would bring about significant financial disruption.

The negative response has prompted skepticism around the feasibility of bringing Libra to the market in 2020 — if ever. According to CNBC, the tech industry is expressing doubts over whether the cryptocurrency will become available next year, in light of the issues raised by US lawmakers.

The lack of public trust in the social media company is also a factor that could hinder further developments: “Facebook won’t get far with Libra if consumers are worried about their financial data being compromised or misused, and regulators don’t trust Facebook to keep that data secure,” Dimitri Sirota, CEO of BigID, a New York data privacy firm said to CNBC.

The US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the US central bank has “serious concerns” about Libra, the Wall Street Journal reported. Both the Federal Reserve System and the separate Financial Stability Oversight Council are meeting to discuss Libra alongside global policy makers.

Facebook faces pushback from regulators over Libra launch

The backlash, however, does not seem to have stopped Facebook from moving forward with their plans. In a letter addressed to the US Senate Banking Committee last Monday, Facebook blockchain lead and Libra project leader David Marcus attempted to ease concerns, stating that the social media company is open to collaboration with authorities and other regulatory bodies to make the Libra project work within the right framework:

“I want to give you my personal assurance that we are committed to taking the time to do this right. We understand that big ideas take time, that policymakers and others are raising important questions, and that we can’t do this alone. We want, and need, governments, central banks, regulators, non-profits, and other stakeholders at the table and value all of the feedback we have received,” Facebook’s blockchain lead stated.

David Marcus is scheduled to testify before the Banking Committee next week.

India and China not open to Libra, but China considers the benefits of crypto

If Facebook is facing problems with the US Senate, the international stance on Libra is no friendlier. In the biggest Asian markets, India and China, Facebook’s cryptocurrency seems to be an increasingly remote possibility.

Due to tight regulations, Facebook is currently locked out of the Indian market, one of the largest in the world. Since April 2018, all entities regulated by the Reserve Bank of India have been banned from dealing in cryptocurrencies and virtual coins, and the government is working on a draft to increase penalties for those who trade and use cryptocurrencies.

“Design of the Facebook currency has not been fully explained,” India’s Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Garg said in an interview in New Delhi on Saturday. “But whatever it is, it would be a private cryptocurrency and that’s not something we have been comfortable with.”

Chinese authorities are reluctant to let Libra enter the market, but show interest in cryptocurrencies

Meanwhile in China, a senior official from the Central Bank stated that Libra must be “put under the oversight of monetary authorities” as reported by Bloomberg earlier this week.

Because as a cryptocurrency, Libra would be able to be transacted freely across borders, Chinese authorities are concerned that it “won’t be sustainable without the support and supervision of central banks,” Mu Changchun, deputy director of the People’s Bank of China’s payments department, told Bloomberg.

Mu has also expressed further concerns about the lack of clear commitment to counter money-laundering mechanisms, as well as clarification as to how Libra will protect its users’ privacy.

Nevertheless, Chinese authorities have not ruled out the use of digital currencies in their territory as they recognise the advantages of the technology in terms of improved efficiency.

Libra’s announcement has prompted the PBOC (People’s Bank of China) to look into plans to introduce a government-backed digital currency, aiming to secure China’s position in the global cryptocurrency race, as reported by the China Daily.

“A digital currency issued by the central bank can improve the efficiency of monetary policy, and help to optimise the payment system,” said Wang Xin, director of the PBOC Research Bureau.

Don't miss Cassiopeia live debate about Libra with crypto experts. SUNDAY 7PM UK TIME. Subscribe to our Youtube Channel and follow @stefixy @financialfox for participating link.

The two sides of Facebook’s crypto coin Libra

The launch of the cryptocurrency Libra announced by Facebook earlier this week has prompted many discussions about the future of finance, particularly the role of cryptocurrencies. The project has grabbed the attention of regulators all over the world, most of them calling for the project to be delayed or even scrapped.

In the crypto space, some experts have expressed their disapproval over a big tech company entering the area, while also acknowledging that the launch of Libra could be a tipping point in the history of blockchain.

On the latest FinancialFox, crypto PR guru Stefania Barbaglio interviewed On Yavin, CEO and founder of Cointelligence about his views on Libra. He is an angel investor and serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in the tech industry. A leading authority on cryptocurrency, he is also a data-driven strategist.

His company, Cointelligence, conducts data research and analysis for the crypto economy. Cointelligence was created to bridge the information gap in the crypto economy, and also offers professional due diligence and blockchain advisory services.

“The new Facebook coin is a fake cryptocurrency. They are calling it cryptocurrency because it is a buzzword. It may be a digital currency, but it is not a cryptocurrency. It is a crap coin,” says On Yavin.

On believes that Libra is not a real cryptocurrency because of three main factors:

- A Facebook digital currency will by definition be largely centralised.

- Facebook has a huge trust problem after its poor track record in securing its users’ personal data.

- Facebook is partnering with big companies such as Uber, Paypal, Vodafone and Visa to create Libra. In essence, this means that big corporations will continue to control the system and exploit users. “That is the opposite of what a cryptocurrency should be,” says On.

Libra might eventually have a financial value, he says, but the whole system sounds illegitimate and it does not represent a real cryptocurrency.

Libra could make crypto mainstream

Whilst Libra itself might sound like a poorly developed cryptocurrency, its impact on the cryptocurrency market is likely to be positive and could be the move needed to bring cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.

Regardless of the future of Libra, its launch has exposed huge numbers of people to cryptocurrencies and the world of blockchain. Because Facebook has now officially stepped in, crypto may start to be viewed as more serious and credible.

Up to this point, conversations about cryptocurrencies have been nearly exclusive to technologists. Now with the launch of Libra, Facebook is practically making cryptocurrency available to its two and a half billion users at once.

“I think that the positive side is that Libra will get so many people introduced to the new generation of digital payments and some of them will want to learn more about real cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum,” says On.

With the threat of disruption posed by a company the size and influence of Facebook launching a digital currency, regulators and central banks have started to look seriously at the crypto world, which could prompt much needed regulations of the market.

The launch of Libra means that the cryptocurrency market is bound to become more interesting for outside investors. Nevertheless, it is important for those entering the crypto space to be careful and carry out thorough research before putting down large amounts of money. We are still at the ‘young’ stage of the crypto market, so there are plenty of scams going around, which can easily lure eager investors into fraudulent projects.

On’s company Cointelligence helps to identify the most authentic projects and exchanges in crypto. Cointelligence found over 80–85% of crypto exchanges to be faking trading volume to get their rankings up on listing websites to increase revenue. “There’s very little transparency on crypto exchanges. This is misleading to investors,” says On. He warns users of different types of malicious actors around:

- Scammers: people who launch fake projects with the intention of stealing investors’ money

- ‘Mini scammers’: people who found crypto ventures quite genuinely, although the project is not feasible in reality and does not bring returns

- ‘Scamming neighbours’: the partners of a fake project, such as the publishers that advertise it and YouTubers and influencers who promote it

More developments are sure to unfold soon and whatever happens, the crypto market could be on its way to a great transformation. All eyes on Libra.

Watch the full interview here: