India on track as the next big digital payment market

The Indian market is growing more attractive by the day: that’s what the fintech numbers show. The digital payment scene in India is dynamic and exciting for technology enthusiasts, as new channels pave fresh avenues for smart solutions, creating opportunities and carving out room for growth.

Over the last few years, India has witnessed impressive growth in its financial inclusion rate. According to the World Economic Forum, in 2011 40% of adult Indians had a bank account; seven years later in 2018, almost 80% of adult Indians had one. However, the bulk of this inclusion has taken place in urban centers, with a great deal of the rural areas starting to access financial services at a slower rate.

In 2016, the launch of the United Payments Interface, UPI, by India’s NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) became a game-changer in the digital payment space. The UPI allowed account-based payments to become widespread, prompting a move away from traditional cards and wallets towards more sophisticated methods.

One the greatest benefits is that the UPI has an open architecture that has allowed different players to enter the market, such as the giants Google and Facebook but also local services like PhonePe, which was later acquired by Walmart.

The Indian P2P payments market is without a doubt among the most exciting and fastest-growing globally, poised to increase at an impressive overall average annual growth rate of over 72%, expected to reach US$159.2bn in 2022, according to the 2019 Statista Fintech Report.

The growth is spurred as more people in rural areas gain access to easy and affordable financial services via their smartphones. A study by BCG reports that the next 1 billion users for digital services will be from Asia, with India leading the pack.

India will see the fastest growth in digital payment transaction value between 2019 and 2023, with predictions that digital payments will more than double by 2023.

Despite having one the most tech-savvy populations in the world, mobile payments are not so much of a reality in India yet. According to Business Insider, only 14% of Indian consumers make mobile payments on a weekly basis, which highlights the large scope of opportunity and growth in one of the largest countries in the world.

Even though the US and Europe tended to be pioneers in the development of new technologies, the Asia-Pacific region is already the leader in use of mobile payment services: mainly thanks to China, which is by far the largest Alternative Finance market globally. With the projected growth in India, the region could take an even bigger leap in the area.

US and China fight for leading position in India

Eyeing the massive opportunity in India with a market yet to mature, Chinese and American investors are moving quickly to conquer customers in this market. “Everyone is coming to that market, and trying to see if they become big,” said Neha Singh, co-founder of data provider Tracxn, to the FT.

The battle between the two biggest economies in the world over the Indian market is indeed a weighty one: India has double the number of mobile users than in the United States — a figure which keeps growing, as about half of the country’s population is below the age of 25.

At the moment, there is strong evidence of Chinese efforts to dominate the market and tap into the opportunities. Tracxn revealed that last year, Chinese investors injected $3.5bn into the Indian technology sector, as well as taking part in nearly twice as many funding rounds than in 2017.

However, the American big tech names are not giving up without a fight. As announced in July, Facebook’s WhatsApp is gearing up to enter the market with a bang later this year — the app is very popular in India, where it has around 400 million users. The market leader Paytm with 350 million users, which is backed by Alibaba, could expect its position to be challenged by tough competition coming from WhatsApp.

“Indians love WhatsApp, and will love the convenience of transacting through the app. I foresee a trend wherein entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises start embracing and using WhatsApp Pay,” Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, told IANS.

On the emergence of WhatsApp pay services, Paytm Founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma tweeted: “After failing to win war against India’s open internet with cheap tricks of free basics, Facebook is again in play,” Sharma had tweeted.

Nevertheless, there are doubts over whether Indians will trust WhatsApp as a payment system, given Facebook’s long-lasting history with user data misuse.

The Indian government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) welcome private and international ventures that contribute to the growth of the tech sector. The Digital India strategy is a national flagship programme aiming to transform India into a ‘digitally empowered society and knowledge economy’ by boosting the country’s digital capacities.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s Information Technology Minister, said during the 2018 G20 meeting in Argentina: “India’s digital story is a story of hope and growth, of opportunities and profits. But above all it is a story of digital inclusion and empowerment. Digital India is a mass movement today touching the lives of a billion people.”

Follow us on twitter for more such informative content : @cassiopeia_ltd / @_FinancialFox

Cardano: Blockchain-powered economic development

Technology has proved to be of the greatest propellers of economic development in recent years. The advent of innovative technologies such as blockchain has offered new solutions to old problems in the global economy. One of the main projects acting in this space is Cardano, a blockchain enterprise based on human-centered approach to innovation with the aim of providing financial services and technological infrastructure to developing countries and to the three billion people who are excluded from mainstream banking services.

Cassiopeia Services is pleased to introduce you to the first in a series of industry-focused articles and interviews featuring IOHK’s founder Charles Hoskinson, and the cryptocurrency Cardano ̶ a decentralised public blockchain aiming to provide financial services and ultimately help individuals in developing countries achieve financial inclusion.

Founded in 2015, Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK) is a technology engendering company that, through innovative solutions such as their blockchain platform Cardano, aims to provide financial services to the three billion people worldwide who are currently excluded from mainstream banking, ultimately helping them achieve financial inclusion. Through building solutions, IOHK aims to push for a fairer and more transparent order that would help a great number of people, by means of bringing back trust into the systems.

The company recognises the high potential in future Blockchain studies, as well as its rapidly developing market. As such, education presents a core element of IOHK’s philosophy, consequently shaping its mission: to establish a reputation as a leading institution in the academic study of blockchain by tackling difficult research questions and building a strong foundation in the blockchain industry.

Research Based Approach to identifying and testing solutions

Confirming that education is truly the backbone of its approach, IOHK employs decentralised research teams across the globe, comprised of academic experts in specific fields. The teams work together to bringing innovation and development through collective effort.

In addition, besides bringing innovation to the market, IOHK aims to teach the local talented individuals on the uses and implications of such technologies, thus contributing much more to the field than just a “finalised product”.

IOHK’s Director of Education Lars Brünjes, a Pure Mathematics PhD, explains: “We strive to offer the highest quality teaching to selected students who will become the next generation of young talent in the industry.”

Speculatively, this can have larger implications on further development and growth of the specific market IOHK operates within, as it enables individuals to fully grasp the uses and opportunities the innovation bears.

Cardano: A deconstructed cryptocurrency concept focused on the Emerging Economies

By deconstructing the concept of cryptocurrency, IOHK team created the blockchain platform Cardano. Cardano is home to the ADA cryptocurrency, which can be used to send and receive digital funds. This digital cash represents the future of money, making possible fast, direct transfers that are guaranteed to be secure through the use of cryptography.

Cardano is more than just a cryptocurrency, however: it is a technological platform that will be capable of running the financial applications currently used every day by individuals, organisations and governments all around the world. Cardano will also run decentralised applications, or dapps ̶ services not controlled by any single party but instead operating on a blockchain.

This is the first blockchain project to be developed from a scientific philosophy, and the only one to be designed and built by a global team of leading academics and engineers. It is essential that the technology is secure, flexible and scalable for use by many millions of users.

David Esser, the IOHK’s product manager focusing on Cardano explains the research process in detail: “IOHK employs an evidence-based approach that requires a lot of research upfront by scientists and academics researching on how we might approach something and try to write mathematically provable specifications. When you’re building a brand new technology it’s the things that never existed before, and so during that process we discover the details in how it would fit better for the market. We have to adjust to the realities of the technologies. We spend a lot of time on research and theory before putting down the work.”

A major innovation by Cardano is that it will balance the needs of users with those of regulators, and in doing so combines privacy with regulation. The vision for Cardano is that its new style of regulated computing will bring greater financial inclusion by providing open access to fair financial services for all.

Cardano’s main focus is to apply academic research and evidence-based solution to provide technological infrastructure for the developing world, where blockchain can have a transformational impact: “Emerging markets are where cryptocurrencies matter,” says founder Charles Hoskinson.

By employing a public-private partnership approach with the governments of developing countries, Cardano employs Blockchain, as it is believed to be the best way to rebuild fraudulent systems, looking to enable fraud-free land registration, fairer voting systems and improved supply chains.

Cardano is currently working with projects in 25 developing economies worldwide such as Ethiopia, Mongolia, Georgia, and hopes to be present in 52 African countries by 2020.

Part-1 of our in-depht interview with founder Charles Hoskinson will be live on Friday on our FinancialFox channel. Follow us on @Cassiopeia_ltd @_FinancialFox. Stay tuned!

Blockchain Applications Bring More Value To Gamers, Leading The Evolution Of The Multi-Billion…

Blockchain Applications Bring More Value To Gamers, Leading The Evolution Of The Multi-Billion Dollar Gaming Market.

The gaming market is growing at a fast pace. With more than 2.2 billion active gamers in the world, the UK gaming sector generates £3.864bn, making it larger than music and video combined. Revenue from digital gaming, accounts for 87% of the UK market. Globally the industry generated $135bn in 2018.

The market is indeed so attractive that even the ‘big tech’ companies are moving into it. Earlier this week, Apple was said to be investing more than $500 million for its Arcade service, which will let users play exclusive gaming titles across their Apple devices ad-free and offline.

Google is also reportedly entering gaming. In March, the tech giant released a note about Stadia, its new platform that aims to deliver instant access to games on gadgets like laptops, tablets and mobile devices.

Gaming can provide one of the first playgrounds for experimenting with new technology, and the emergence of technologies such as blockchain, machine learning and virtual reality are changing the landscape of gaming as they become integrated into those platforms. The addition of these technologies is making the gaming experience a lot more sophisticated, fun and ever lucrative for users.

Gaming Integrating Blockchain

Technology pioneer OBC debuts in gaming space; Q&A with CEO Clem Chambers:

Blockchain is a mechanism to open the gaming market up further and take in-game values into the real world and vice versa.”

Earlier today, pioneering tech company Online Blockchain (OBC) announced its brand new blockchain-based gaming product FreeLoadr. FreeLoadr is a multi-platform application which allows gamers access to PC games for free in exchange for running the FreeLoadr application on their personal computer. The user donates “hash power” to earn points, which they can redeem for products on the FreeLoadr store’s selection of 2,500 titles.

OBC has been acting at the forefront of technology for decades. Previously known as On-Line plc, the company gained prominence during the dotcom boom. In 2017, the word ‘blockchain’ was added to signal its move into the fast growing blockchain industry. With the opportunity growing within the gaming sector, OBC is using the versatility of blockchain and developing applications with high user-case value and tailored for the needs of gamers. OBC also identifies and invests in strong projects in the space such as US-based gaming company Encryptid. OBC invested US$100,000 in cash in exchange for a 35% interest in the company.

Since then, OBC has developed multiple projects at a global level, envisioning widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies and exploring early stage opportunities for blockchain applications.

Cassiopeia Services talked to OBC CEO Clem Chambers about FreeLoadr, blockchain in gaming and opportunities in the industry. Chambers is a well-known figure (Maverick Genius) in the City of London, having made a sizeable fortune in the dot.com boom.

How was FreeLoadr inspired? What makes it special and different from other gaming applications available?

CC: “We’re constantly coming up with great ideas as a group and FreeLoadr was a favourite as it was such an accessible project, in the mainstream and in the heartland of the digital natives that love Crypto.”

What market demands in gaming can blockchain applications meet?

CC: “The potential is endless. Crypto opens up vast horizons for computer games because it allows for a real financial system to underpin the giant environments that are played in by millions of people.”

Nowadays, mobile gaming takes the biggest share in the gaming market. Why is mobile taking over consoles and PCs? In terms of blockchain applications for different platforms, is there any difference between them?

CC: “Mobiles are ever present and that’s spawned a whole new way of delivering and monetising computer gaming. Blockchain is a mechanism to open that market up further and take in-game values into the real world and vice versa.”

What are non-fungible assets and what advantages does it bring to gamers? Can it be monetised in the blockchain?

CC: “Most games have virtual goods that cost money but it is hard or often impossible to sell them on second hand. Micro transactions are already big new in computer games and blockchain will extent that environment much further not just by making non-fungible virtual game items fungible but by providing a platform for made-for crypto games, a tremendous example of this is the game by Encrypted we have invested in.”

Any more gaming projects for OBC in the future?

CC:We have invested in a tremendously exciting developer called Encryptd and the product is taking shape. They have deep crypto expertise and their game could be a smash. distributed Crypto games will light up the gaming market at some point, it’s just a case of when. We want to be part of that.”

Different kinds of fraud, cheating, and other attacks have become a big deal in the $135 billion game market, while research showed that one in five gamers fall victim to fraud while playing. How can blockchain help with preventing and countering gaming fraud?

CC: “Blockchain can and will help but there is no magic bullet for that. Never was, never will be. The best solution is solid game management, something deeply rooted in our heritage in the games business.”

In the case of FreeLoadr, users can enjoy free access to games in exchange for ‘hash power’. How does OBC use this ‘hash power’ to mine selected cryptocurrency? What is the cryptocurrency? Why is this a profitable exchange for OBC?

CC: “We farm the hash power out to mining pools. We receive Bitcoin and other coins from the pools, take our margin and use the rest to buy games for the user. It’s a very simple clean model.”

China is the country with the highest gaming revenues ̶ $34,400M ̶ showing the opportunity in this market. OBC will be launching FreeLoadr in the UK and in North America soon, but are there any plans to bring it to Asia and other parts of the world?

CC: “In one word, Yes. Asia is very interesting and exciting and we’re looking at that market.”

Blockchain and gaming is already a very potent combination, so do you think integrating cloud services with FreeLoadr’s model would help it expand in the future? Considering not all people have a lot of GPU power on their laptops, would it better to have an ecosystem of blockchain-gaming and cloud services?

CC: “This is a possibility, but I think we’re thinking about other verticals as the biggest opportunities. You could charge you Costa Coffee card with Freeloadr, for instance.”

Are there any plans to launch a FreeLoadr coin? Considering your plans to venture into the gaming console systems such as Playstation and Xbox, if people get the opportunity to have one unique coin for all their gaming purchases, it might help promote widespread adoption of FreeLoadr ̶ what are your views on this?

CC: “We will have a Freeloadr that buts console games, that will be a product for this autumn. The lesson we have learned over the years is to focus hard, stay under the radar, keep your risk surface low and embrace talent. Blockchain is a continent of opportunity and the key to success is to find a sweat spot and build your city there. Can you tell I got Civilization IV with Freeloadr points?”

Follow Freeloader on twitter @FreeLoadr_App

DigiByte Summit Agenda

We are pleased to share the agenda for the first DigiByte Global Summit in Amsterdam — only two weeks away on 19th April 2019.

The summit will host some of the most prominent experts working in blockchain and decentralisation today. All are developing projects that build on the DigiByte blockchain, deploying it to new applications such as digital identity, data privacy and digital asset trading. Created by Jared Tate in 2014, DGB boasts high scalability and security, together with a forward-thinking approach to development. As such, the technology is a perfect fit for breakthrough projects and concepts, having seen considerable growth in adoption and awareness over the past few years.

Confirmed speakers are:

DigiByte founder Jared Tate

Josiah Spackman, DigiByte Foundation Member and Chief Fun Officer (CFO)

Steffy (Stefania Barbaglio) Official DigiByte PR

Rudy Bouwman, the founder of the DigiByte Awareness Team

Marnix van den Berg, Lead Dev/Founder of V-ID

Pim Voets, Lead Concept Design/Founder of V-ID

Joshua Jenster, Lead Business Dev of V-ID

Jan Muyldermans, Founder of Antum ID

Justin Seidl and Stuart Menzies, Founders of Vertbase

Brian Foote, CEO of Block 30 Labs

The agenda is as follows:

2pm

- Welcome and Introduction — Stefania Barbaglio

- State of DigiByte / DGB Intro — Jared Tate

- DGB Awareness Team and how to get involved — Rudy Bouwman

- Dandelion Info & Demo for Privacy — Josiah Spackman

3pm

- DigiID Demo / Antum ID Demo — Jan Muyldermans

- Vertbase Presentation — Justin Seidl & Stuart Menzies

- V-ID Presentation & Demo — Marnix van den Berg, Pim Voets & Joshua Jenster

- OdoCrypt & Upcoming Hard Fork — Jared Tate

- DigiAssets Live Demo — Jared Tate

4pm

- Block 30 Labs Presentation — Brian Foote

- Panel Discussion: “Where will blockchain be in 2035?”

- Closing remarks

5pm

Networking drinks & nibbles

After the conference, we have also organised a scenic canal boat trip departing at 18.30. If you are interested in joining us, contact Steffy for details and bookings.

The summit marks the first ever gathering of DigiByte’s great minds to present and discuss their projects. Even though the projects serve various purposes and have multiple applications, they are all connected by the same vision of technology potential, and how it can be used to design the future of our society.

Decentralisation, at its very core, is about empowering individuals and reshaping society; it is about offering solutions to protect people and businesses against digital fraud using a network where everyone could fairly contribute to, so it remains distributed and decentralized, without the need for any trusted third party, and building a digital economy that serves users’ purposes and facilitates transactions worldwide with a high level of security. These new platforms are developed by users just like everyone else, who have the technology expertise to create a new system.

More than that, the summit is also a chance for the DigiByte community to engage in open dialogue to strengthen the bonds that bring them together.

Stefania Barbaglio, official PR for DigiByte and organiser of the summit, commented: “It is very inspiring to see these great minds coming together and sharing their plans and projects with us. Jared started DigiByte with the mission to fix most of the cyber security vulnerabilities the internet is facing today by using blockchain technology. DigiByte but it is now a social project that has the potential to change society and its economy. It has grown stronger over the last few years and while many other blockchain and cryptocurrencies tried to ride the hype, DGB were working hard paving the way for more innovative ventures to arise. As Jared always says, DigiByte is a family who share the same values, positive energy and enthusiasm in developing projects that can change the world for the better.

What we are seeing at the summit is all about the future of society and economy, powered by blockchain technology and decentralisation.”

Tickets for the summit can still be purchased here: http://digibytesummit.io

DigiByte Global Summit will take place on April 19th, 2019 at De Balie, Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10, 1017 RR, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Media Contact

Cassiopeia Services

info@cassiopeia-ltd.com

Vertbase: Coinbase for Altcoins.

Accelerating cryptocurrency adoption

Founded in 2018, Vertbase is a highly secure and user-friendly digital currency platform for buying and selling cryptocurrencies with US Dollars. Vertbase was born with the aim of finding a solution to the complex, time-consuming and expensive process of trading altcoins on most crypto exchanges, which tends to prevent non-experts from engaging in crypto trading.

Coinbase is a great platform for only few cryptocurrencies, but there are many other coins with high value that cannot be traded on the Coinbase exchange.

Looking at Coinbase and the challenge around coin trading, Justin Seidl and Stuart Menzies, co-founder at Vertabse, created a digital altcoin trading platform that is user-friendly, super-fast and highly secure. A Coinbase for altcoins, but only the one with legitimate projects and strong use cases, particularly those Vertbase believes can change the landscape of finance: DigiByte, Vertcoin, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ravencoin and Decred.

In the latest episode of FinancialFox, Justin Seidl was interviewed by Blockchain PR expert Stefania Barbaglio, where he talked about how he came to create and design Vertbase, and shares his views on the altcoins to watch.

The mission behind Vertbase is to give visibility and market exposure to altcoins with high use case value. Altcoins are considerably less expensive than coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, and in some cases are more sophisticated and highly developed.

Over the recent months, cryptocurrency exchanges have been in the spotlight over coins being delisted and alleged extortionate listing fees required by prominent exchanges. These controversies highlighted the need for corrections in the way the crypto market works and the challenges that need to be overcome. They also prompted more calls for further decentralisation and transparency among exchanges.

Indeed, the current lack of regulatory frameworks leaves room for inconsistent practices. Different cryptocurrency exchanges can offer various types of cryptocurrencies, with different terms, policies, payment methods, and fees. Exchanges also differ on aspects such as security, user-friendliness, functionality, and design.

Some of the advantages Vertbase offers users is 100% non-custodial transactions that allow users to send coins to any wallet of their choice. In the spirit of co-operation, Vertbase also gives a portion of trading fees back to the community to continue development.

Moreover, with security reportedly the biggest worry among cryptocurrency traders, Vertbase is equipped with a robust anti-money laundering monitoring system. Furthermore, its system requires two-factor authentication, granting access to authorised users only, while the website and apps are fully secured with 128-bit encryption. Vertbase is registered with FinCEN and operates with full compliance and procedures under all US federal and state laws.

This January, Vertbase donated 50,000 DGB to the DigiByte Awareness Team to show their support of the project and DigiByte’s vision. “DigiByte has proven strong use cases, which include security features utilising the Digibyte Blockchain. Digibyte has some exciting plans and projects, so we have no doubt they will continue to be a major player in this industry,” says co-founder Justin Seidl.

Vertbase Founders Justin Seidl and Stuart Menzies will also be presenting at the DBG summit. The DGB community can also expect more news and updates on DGB projects to be released during the first global DigiByte Summit, taking place in Amsterdam on 19th April 2019. The theme of the Summit is ‘The Power of Decentralisation’ and its agenda will expand on the multitude of possibilities and uses enabled by decentralised technologies.

Tickets can be purchased here: http://digibytesummit.io

Block 30 Labs presenting at the DigiByte Global Summit

Cassiopeia Services, official PR for DigiByte, is pleased to announce Block 30 Labs as partner at the first DigiByte Global Summit.

Block 30 Labs is developing indexes to work with strategic global partners to issue tokenised, digital index funds (ECFs). The BLOCK 30 Index was built to provide a central framework for the tracking of the 24/7 Digital Trading (“Crypto”) markets by global media, financial institutions, government and investors.

Officially launched in November 2018, the Block 30 index helps to accurately measure the value and performance of digital assets. It is one of the very first US indices to help investors track multiple factors in the market beyond Bitcoin. With a growing number of Security Token Offerings (STOs), the market requires more comprehensive and sophisticated tools to assess the value of digital assets.

The unique aspect to BLOCK 30 is that it begins to disaggregate Digital Trading assets from their singular classification within this new asset class. It distinguishes between core holdings such as Bitcoin — which may function more as a store of value — and STOs, which will function more like Initial Public Offering (IPOs), with real revenues and fundamentals.

Confirmed speakers at the first DigiByte Global summit include DigiByte founder Jared Tate; Official DigiByte PR Stefania Barbaglio; Rudy Bouwman, the founders of DGBAT, the DigiByte Awareness Team; the founders and lead developers of V-ID and Antum ID; and Vertbase Founders, Justin Seidl and Stuart Menzies.

Stefania Barbaglio, official PR for DigiByte commented: “Block 30 is a revolutionary tool to accelerate the development of tokenised asset trading. The DigiByte team and community are very much open to co-operation with valuable new projects that can help build a more transparent and decentralised financial system, and Block 30 is one of them.”

“The excitement and pace of this new asset class has led to the need to work backwards into traditional fundamentals like market indexes, tokenized index funds and more “one-click” interoperability between customer marketplaces, digital wallets and investment products’, said BLOCK 30 Labs CEO, Brian McLaren Foote.

We’re working at BLOCK 30 Labs to solve that — and having DigiByte and DGB Assets as a strategic technology partners “under the hood” is an enormous win for us on delivering product-market-fit for our clients and exchanges.

“If you look at the core tech + specs of Bitcoin, Litecoin + Ethereum, there are so many features and benefits to the DigiByte offering that are not yet reflected in its market cap and global adoption. Our goal is to help drive that change forward to the benefit of consumers, merchants + Fortune 500 enterprise.”

DigiByte Global Summit

April 19th, 2019

De Balie

Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10, 1017 RR

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tickets can be purchased here: http://digibytesummit.io

Challenges and issues in cryptocurrency trading: beyond the controversies

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are often portrayed as the big challenger to the current financial system, promising to fight corporate red tape, increase financial inclusion and create a more just and transparent economy. While all this is true, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns in the crypto world.

Different cryptocurrency exchanges can offer various types of cryptocurrencies and have different terms, policies, payment methods, and fees. Exchanges also differ on aspects such as security, user-friendliness, functionality, and design. These factors can all play a significant part when choosing the most suitable exchange.

Talks over regulation of digital currencies and crypto exchanges are a way to help the market become healthier and more transparent. Cryptocurrencies and exchanges indeed have many issues to address and challenges to overcome. Here, we highlight some of the main concerns and recent issues that are preventing the crypto revolution from progressing to its next stage.

Security

The biggest problem currently in the crypto market is the lack of security. Indeed, with news of hackings and breaches often making headlines, users are demanding more protection over their assets and data.

It is important to remember that as technology becomes more sophisticated, so do hackers. Exchanges are essentially so vulnerable to hacks because they centralise the risk, so further decentralisation can be an option in the pursuit for maximum security.

Security is indeed an urgent and weighty matter. Coin Desk reports that each day, $2.7 million is stolen from exchanges, with the amount of cryptocurrency taken in 2018 having increased 13 times compared to the previous year. This amounts to $2.7 million in crypto assets being stolen every day, or $1,860 each minute.

Transparency

Indeed, it is a well-established fact that the majority of ICOs end up unsuccessful — some of them even fraudulent. Furthermore, many expensive crypto projects often make a case for themselves claiming they are decentralised, when in reality, data from Token Analyst for Yahoo Finance showed that nearly 80% of the top 50 coins are held by the top 20 wallets. In 16 cases, the 20 biggest wallets held more than 90% of total token supply.

Much like in the more traditional economy, power dynamics also underline the negotiations and collaborations set in the crypto sphere, and the nuances of marketing strategies can mislead users and investors.

The lack of transparency, accountability and professionalism from renowned institutions can poison the benefits of digital currencies and undermine the strength and influence of blockchain adoption in different industries beyond finance. True blockchain believers call for an end to sketchy practices in the financial system and market structures, promoting widespread professionalism and ethical standards.

Credibility

Initial Coin Offerings are a great way to attract investors, but part of them resulted to be scams. Exchanges need to be careful and strict enough only to list those crypto coins which are reliable and ensure that the right assessment is performed.

Trading fees

Some exchanges charge a single flat fee, for example, 0.2% of the transaction value, on all trades. But many exchanges split their trading fees into two separate fees: the maker fee and the taker fee.

In some cases, maker fees can be higher than the taker because the maker adds liquidity to the market, so the exchange ‘rewards’ the trader.

Liquidity

Liquidity is a vital element for any of the market. A lack thereof creates an imbalanced environment, and things go out of control. Due to the decreased liquidity, orders are not placed/executed on time, and the doors are open for large holders to manipulate prices. Additionally, with a lack of liquidity, markets become more volatile and see more price slippages.

A secondary issue of reduced liquidity is that it puts the power into the hands of cryptocurrency exchanges with large liquidity. Some major exchanges now charge up to $1 million to get tokens listed, essentially selling liquidity to the token projects.

Price manipulation

Currently, the majority of crypt exchanges are only lightly regulated, leaving room for sometimes shady or abusive manoeuvres. It is reported that crypto exchanges use bots to manipulate the prices of coins. Last September, cryptocurrency trader and analyst Alex Kruger exposed a promotion on Bithumb which inflated the trading volume on the exchange.

“There currently are $250 million [in] fake volume traded at [the] Korean crypto exchange Bithumb, every day at 11 a.m. Korean Time, since Aug. 25. Bithumb offers 120 percent payback of trading fees as an airdrop. Trading fees are 0.15 percent taker. To collect the full KRW 1 billion rebate, a wash trader must thus trade KRW 278 billion. That is $250 million in daily fake volume. Notice how 31K Bitcoin is traded at exactly 11 a.m,” Kruger explained.

Transaction Delays

While cryptocurrency transactions are known for being fast, delays can happen and can be a way to protect users from hackings or fraudulent transactions. Exchanges sometimes delay transactions if they suspect the user did not authorize the transactions.

Regulation

In light of these flaws and loopholes, and continuing cases of hacks and breaches of exchanges, regulations would be welcomed if tailored to ensure transparency and consumer protections.

Crypto experts have anticipated 2019 is on track to be the year of crypto regulations

This year started with stronger calls for rules and regulations all around the world. In January, two major European regulatory bodies, the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) have publicly called for better assessments of crypto technology and its impacts to develop appropriate regulations.

In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is applying their regulatory guidance to cryptocurrency projects as it considers another form of securities.

Recent controversies over exchanges ’ lack of professionalism and transparency are likely to prompt exchange regulations to be in place soon.

Decentralisation

Over the last few months, we have been seeing more moves from centralised exchanges towards decentralisation. Binance, for example, announced earlier this month that it is about to launch its decentralised exchange, Binance DEX, for public testing.

There various advantages to decentralisation. A DEX ensures the poor and unbanked can participate in the global economy: anyone can store and transfer wealth to anyone anywhere in the world, almost at no cost. Another benefit of decentralised exchanges is that users are fully in control of their data as there is no central authority storing or managing it.

How does the future look like?

While centralised crypto exchanges have been the tradition so far, they have somewhat given way to the decentralised crypto exchanges. The main objective behind bitcoin and blockchain is decentralisation and thus, both the CEX’s and DEX’s should come together to develop a hybrid model which benefits all of the crypto ecosystem.

Hybrid crypto exchanges can represent a viable option that bridges the gap between the benefits of a centralised exchange and those of a decentralised exchange. This is the way to gain the trust of numerous users and the cooperation of huge investors, while eliminating the element of subordination to a third-party and ensuring reliable storage.

If there is one thing we can learn from the recent developments and news, it is to look at the shortcomings of the so-called transparent crypto sphere, realise there is plenty of work to be done in this realm, and use the combination of technology, knowledge and accountability to fight these flaws. For the blockchain & crypto revolution to produce its best outcomes, it is important to address the factors that undermine its integrity.

Keep an eye out for a special episode on Financial Fox about crypto exchanges and the challenges to overcome. Follow us on @cassiopeia_ltd and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Special guests: the crypto evangelist Chico Crypto @chicocrypto & Alexander Fred, Technology Researcher and Writer of @beincrypto, the truly independent bitcoin & cryptocurrency news.

Challenges and issues in cryptocurrency trading: beyond the controversies

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are often portrayed as the big challenger to the current financial system, promising to fight corporate red tape, increase financial inclusion and create a more just and transparent economy. While all this is true, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns in the crypto world.

Different cryptocurrency exchanges can offer various types of cryptocurrencies and have different terms, policies, payment methods, and fees. Exchanges also differ on aspects such as security, user-friendliness, functionality, and design. These factors can all play a significant part when choosing the most suitable exchange.

Talks over regulation of digital currencies and crypto exchanges are a way to help the market become healthier and more transparent. Cryptocurrencies and exchanges indeed have many issues to address and challenges to overcome. Here, we highlight some of the main concerns and recent issues that are preventing the crypto revolution from progressing to its next stage.

Security

The biggest problem currently in the crypto market is the lack of security. Indeed, with news of hackings and breaches often making headlines, users are demanding more protection over their assets and data.

It is important to remember that as technology becomes more sophisticated, so do hackers. Exchanges are essentially so vulnerable to hacks because they centralise the risk, so further decentralisation can be an option in the pursuit for maximum security.

Security is indeed an urgent and weighty matter. Coin Desk reports that each day, $2.7 million is stolen from exchanges, with the amount of cryptocurrency taken in 2018 having increased 13 times compared to the previous year. This amounts to $2.7 million in crypto assets being stolen every day, or $1,860 each minute.

Transparency

Indeed, it is a well-established fact that the majority of ICOs end up unsuccessful — some of them even fraudulent. Furthermore, many expensive crypto projects often make a case for themselves claiming they are decentralised, when in reality, data from Token Analyst for Yahoo Finance showed that nearly 80% of the top 50 coins are held by the top 20 wallets. In 16 cases, the 20 biggest wallets held more than 90% of total token supply.

Much like in the more traditional economy, power dynamics also underline the negotiations and collaborations set in the crypto sphere, and the nuances of marketing strategies can mislead users and investors.

The lack of transparency, accountability and professionalism from renowned institutions can poison the benefits of digital currencies and undermine the strength and influence of blockchain adoption in different industries beyond finance. True blockchain believers call for an end to sketchy practices in the financial system and market structures, promoting widespread professionalism and ethical standards.

Credibility

Initial Coin Offerings are a great way to attract investors, but part of them resulted to be scams. Exchanges need to be careful and strict enough only to list those crypto coins which are reliable and ensure that the right assessment is performed.

Trading fees

Some exchanges charge a single flat fee, for example, 0.2% of the transaction value, on all trades. But many exchanges split their trading fees into two separate fees: the maker fee and the taker fee.

In some cases, maker fees can be higher than the taker because the maker adds liquidity to the market, so the exchange ‘rewards’ the trader.

Liquidity

Liquidity is a vital element for any of the market. A lack thereof creates an imbalanced environment, and things go out of control. Due to the decreased liquidity, orders are not placed/executed on time, and the doors are open for large holders to manipulate prices. Additionally, with a lack of liquidity, markets become more volatile and see more price slippages.

A secondary issue of reduced liquidity is that it puts the power into the hands of cryptocurrency exchanges with large liquidity. Some major exchanges now charge up to $1 million to get tokens listed, essentially selling liquidity to the token projects.

Price manipulation

Currently, the majority of crypt exchanges are only lightly regulated, leaving room for sometimes shady or abusive manoeuvres. It is reported that crypto exchanges use bots to manipulate the prices of coins. Last September, cryptocurrency trader and analyst Alex Kruger exposed a promotion on Bithumb which inflated the trading volume on the exchange.

“There currently are $250 million [in] fake volume traded at [the] Korean crypto exchange Bithumb, every day at 11 a.m. Korean Time, since Aug. 25. Bithumb offers 120 percent payback of trading fees as an airdrop. Trading fees are 0.15 percent taker. To collect the full KRW 1 billion rebate, a wash trader must thus trade KRW 278 billion. That is $250 million in daily fake volume. Notice how 31K Bitcoin is traded at exactly 11 a.m,” Kruger explained.

Transaction Delays

While cryptocurrency transactions are known for being fast, delays can happen and can be a way to protect users from hackings or fraudulent transactions. Exchanges sometimes delay transactions if they suspect the user did not authorize the transactions.

Regulation

In light of these flaws and loopholes, and continuing cases of hacks and breaches of exchanges, regulations would be welcomed if tailored to ensure transparency and consumer protections.

Crypto experts have anticipated 2019 is on track to be the year of crypto regulations

This year started with stronger calls for rules and regulations all around the world. In January, two major European regulatory bodies, the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) have publicly called for better assessments of crypto technology and its impacts to develop appropriate regulations.

In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is applying their regulatory guidance to cryptocurrency projects as it considers another form of securities.

Recent controversies over exchanges ’ lack of professionalism and transparency are likely to prompt exchange regulations to be in place soon.

Decentralisation

Over the last few months, we have been seeing more moves from centralised exchanges towards decentralisation. Binance, for example, announced earlier this month that it is about to launch its decentralised exchange, Binance DEX, for public testing.

There various advantages to decentralisation. A DEX ensures the poor and unbanked can participate in the global economy: anyone can store and transfer wealth to anyone anywhere in the world, almost at no cost. Another benefit of decentralised exchanges is that users are fully in control of their data as there is no central authority storing or managing it.

How does the future look like?

While centralised crypto exchanges have been the tradition so far, they have somewhat given way to the decentralised crypto exchanges. The main objective behind bitcoin and blockchain is decentralisation and thus, both the CEX’s and DEX’s should come together to develop a hybrid model which benefits all of the crypto ecosystem.

Hybrid crypto exchanges can represent a viable option that bridges the gap between the benefits of a centralised exchange and those of a decentralised exchange. This is the way to gain the trust of numerous users and the cooperation of huge investors, while eliminating the element of subordination to a third-party and ensuring reliable storage.

If there is one thing we can learn from the recent developments and news, it is to look at the shortcomings of the so-called transparent crypto sphere, realise there is plenty of work to be done in this realm, and use the combination of technology, knowledge and accountability to fight these flaws. For the blockchain & crypto revolution to produce its best outcomes, it is important to address the factors that undermine its integrity.

Keep an eye out for a special episode on Financial Fox about crypto exchanges and the challenges to overcome. Follow us on @cassiopeia_ltd and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Special guests: the crypto evangelist Chico Crypto @chicocrypto & Alexander Fred, Technology Researcher and Writer of @beincrypto, the truly independent bitcoin & cryptocurrency news.

More countries join European Blockchain Partnership making Europe a leading force in blockchain…

More countries join European Blockchain Partnership making Europe a leading force in blockchain research

This week, Hungary has joined the European Blockchain Partnership, becoming the 29th member country. The partnership is led by the European Union Blockchain Observatory and Forum, which aims to accelerate blockchain innovation and the development of the blockchain ecosystem within the European Union. More than that, the objective of the forum is to promote education, understanding and research around blockchain.

The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum was launched by the European Commission in February last year. It will see the investment of 300 million euros into projects that support the use and adoption of blockchain technology for economic, technical and societal changes. The forum plans to become an articulator between researchers and the EU, make the most appropriate recommendations, and oversee initiatives and implementations throughout the member countries. It will also aid in creating more appropriate regulations in the region.

The forum is part of the the Horizon 2020 programme, the largest Research and Innovation programme ever launched by the EU. It will make €80 billion of funding available over 7 years, from 2014 to 2020, to support the EU’s reach for excellence in the area.

Blockchain, as one of the most important technologies introduced by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, has immense industrial and technical value. The European Commission understands that blockchain is not merely about finance, even though this is the area in which the benefits are already most tangible.

Beyond the finance realm, blockchain can support the development of more sophisticated and secure internet systems, as well as being integrated into other industries beyond finance — such as agriculture, education, healthcare, to name only a few.

In fact, among the projects that have already received funding are two projects focused on services: MHDMD, a blockchain platform to enable safe and effective transmission and storage of medical data; , and DECODE, a system providing tools affording individuals the ability to control whether they keep their personal data private or share it for the public good.

“Blockchain is a great opportunity for Europe and Member States to rethink their information systems, to promote user trust and the protection of personal data, to help create new business opportunities and to establish new areas of leadership, benefiting citizens, public services and companies,” said Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society at the launch of the partnership.

“The Partnership launched today enables Member States to work together with the European Commission to turn the enormous potential of blockchain technology into better services for citizens.”

Beyond the hype around cryptocurrencies and ICOs, which often still holds back investment and adoption, blockchain technology can have an immensely positive impact. This advanced technology can help states manage unified digital identities, gain more control over supply chains, introduce smart contracts and even prevent fraudulent actions.

Blockchain is also part of the European Commission’s Fintech Action Plan, a 23-step strategy designed to increase the adoption of new technologies, create a business-friendly environment, increase cybersecurity and consumer protection and allow for integrity of the financial system across the EU backed by new technologies.

The Fintech plan will also present a blueprint with best practices on regulatory sandboxes, based on guidance from European Supervisory Authorities. A regulatory sandbox is a framework set up by regulators to allow FinTech startups and other innovators to conduct live experiments in a controlled environment, under a regulator’s supervision.

“The position taken by the European Commission shows professionalism, commitment and open-mindness towards embracing the benefits of disruptive technologies. It shows the EU understands the potential of blockchain beyond media and market speculation, and serves as an example for other governments around the world who are still reluctant in welcoming this powerful technology,” says Stefania Barbaglio, Director at Cassiopeia Services, leading PR firm in the blockchain space.

More countries join European Blockchain Partnership making Europe a leading force in blockchain…

More countries join European Blockchain Partnership making Europe a leading force in blockchain research

This week, Hungary has joined the European Blockchain Partnership, becoming the 29th member country. The partnership is led by the European Union Blockchain Observatory and Forum, which aims to accelerate blockchain innovation and the development of the blockchain ecosystem within the European Union. More than that, the objective of the forum is to promote education, understanding and research around blockchain.

The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum was launched by the European Commission in February last year. It will see the investment of 300 million euros into projects that support the use and adoption of blockchain technology for economic, technical and societal changes. The forum plans to become an articulator between researchers and the EU, make the most appropriate recommendations, and oversee initiatives and implementations throughout the member countries. It will also aid in creating more appropriate regulations in the region.

The forum is part of the the Horizon 2020 programme, the largest Research and Innovation programme ever launched by the EU. It will make €80 billion of funding available over 7 years, from 2014 to 2020, to support the EU’s reach for excellence in the area.

Blockchain, as one of the most important technologies introduced by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, has immense industrial and technical value. The European Commission understands that blockchain is not merely about finance, even though this is the area in which the benefits are already most tangible.

Beyond the finance realm, blockchain can support the development of more sophisticated and secure internet systems, as well as being integrated into other industries beyond finance — such as agriculture, education, healthcare, to name only a few.

In fact, among the projects that have already received funding are two projects focused on services: MHDMD, a blockchain platform to enable safe and effective transmission and storage of medical data; , and DECODE, a system providing tools affording individuals the ability to control whether they keep their personal data private or share it for the public good.

“Blockchain is a great opportunity for Europe and Member States to rethink their information systems, to promote user trust and the protection of personal data, to help create new business opportunities and to establish new areas of leadership, benefiting citizens, public services and companies,” said Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society at the launch of the partnership.

“The Partnership launched today enables Member States to work together with the European Commission to turn the enormous potential of blockchain technology into better services for citizens.”

Beyond the hype around cryptocurrencies and ICOs, which often still holds back investment and adoption, blockchain technology can have an immensely positive impact. This advanced technology can help states manage unified digital identities, gain more control over supply chains, introduce smart contracts and even prevent fraudulent actions.

Blockchain is also part of the European Commission’s Fintech Action Plan, a 23-step strategy designed to increase the adoption of new technologies, create a business-friendly environment, increase cybersecurity and consumer protection and allow for integrity of the financial system across the EU backed by new technologies.

The Fintech plan will also present a blueprint with best practices on regulatory sandboxes, based on guidance from European Supervisory Authorities. A regulatory sandbox is a framework set up by regulators to allow FinTech startups and other innovators to conduct live experiments in a controlled environment, under a regulator’s supervision.

“The position taken by the European Commission shows professionalism, commitment and open-mindness towards embracing the benefits of disruptive technologies. It shows the EU understands the potential of blockchain beyond media and market speculation, and serves as an example for other governments around the world who are still reluctant in welcoming this powerful technology,” says Stefania Barbaglio, Director at Cassiopeia Services, leading PR firm in the blockchain space.