Finance Firms Need to Replace IT Infrastructure to Adopt Blockchain and Crypto

Industry experts say that financial institutions will have to replace their existing internal IT infrastructure for greater adoption of blockchain and digital currencies, Scotland’s national news outlet the Scotsman reported Nov. 9. Delivering a speech at the ScotChain18 conference in Edinburgh devoted to blockchain technology impact on commerce, Jeremy Drain of cryptocurrency-focused software company Libra reportedly stated that “there’s an assumption by some companies that their current infrastructure will accept crypto and blockchain.” Drain further explained that those firms’ data is too different, so their systems are unable to work…

Firm Owned by India’s Richest Man Turns to Blockchain for Trade Finance

Oil and gas conglomerate Reliance Industries – owned by India’s richest person, Mukesh Ambani – has used blockchain to conduct its first trade finance transaction. According to a news release from HSBC India shared with CoinDesk on Sunday, Reliance Industries has recently executed a “live” blockchain-powered trade finance transaction in collaboration with US-based global chemical distributor Tricon Energy. The end-to-end transaction was facilitated by banking majors HSBC India and ING Bank, Brussels, and carried out on enterprise consortium R3’s Corda blockchain platform, the release adds. The Corda platform was integrated with…

Swiss Finance Watchdog Tells Banks to Treat Crypto Trading As High Risk

Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) is giving tough guidance to banks wanting to trade in crypto assets. According to a report from Swissinfo.ch, FINMA has issued a confidential letter – seen by the news agency – to accountancy organization EXPERTsuisse, stating its stance on how financial institutions should weight crypto assets when calculating loss-absorbing capital buffers. FINMA said it advises banks and securities dealers to assign a “flat risk weight of 800% to cover market and credit risks” against crypto assets. That means, for instance, if the current price of bitcoin…

HSBC, BNP Paribas, StanChart, Others Launch Hong Kong Blockchain Trade Finance Platform

A new blockchain trade finance platform developed by a dozen banks, among them HSBC, BNP Paribas, and Standard Chartered, launched this week in Hong Kong, Reuters reported Oct. 31. The platform, dubbed eTrade Connect, aims to improve efficiency in the financing of international trade by reducing the time needed to approve trade loan applications from thirty-six to just four hours. HSBC is reported to have earned $2.52 billion in trade-finance revenue in 2017, making it one of the global banking leaders in the industry. As of 2017, trade finance transactions…

Miner Manufacturer IPO Halts Due to Alleged Illicit Finance Practices

Investigators have reportedly halted the public listing process of cryptocurrency mining machine manufacturer Ebang International on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx), local financial news outlet Sina Finance reported Oct. 14. According to reports, the move was prompted by the firm’s alleged involvement in illicit financial practices. Ebang International operates in the field of Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) chip design and production, telecommunications services, and the development, manufacture and sale of blockchain processors, or miners. In 2017, the company’s market share reportedly was 11 percent in terms of sales revenue,…

Blockchain Finance Startup Clearmatics Raises $12 Million in New Funding

Blockchain finance firm Clearmatics Technologies has raised over $12 million in a Series A funding round led by venture capital firm Route 66 Ventures. Additional investment in the funding round came from private equity firm TNF Capital and XTX Ventures, the venture capital arm of electronic market-making firm XTX Markets. As part of the arrangement, Samir Khosla, a managing partner at TNF Capital, will join Clearmatics’ board of directors. Khosla said his company was pleased to deepen its commitment to Clearmatics and praised “its exceptional team under the leadership of Robert…

Thai Ministry of Commerce Explores Blockchain Solutions for Copyright, Agriculture, Finance

The Thai Ministry of Commerce has begun to conduct feasibility studies on the use of blockchain in copyright, agriculture, and trade finance, English-language Thai newspaper Bangkok Post reports Tuesday, Oct. 9. A Thai official from Thailand’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO), Pimchanok Vonkorpon, told the Bangkok Post that the study is being conducted with the help of the British embassy in Bangkok. As per the article, the ministry wants to find out whether decentralized solutions can boost the country’s competitiveness and credibility, especially in relation to small business. Vonkorpon…

Thailand Studies Blockchain for Applications in Intellectual Property, Trade Finance

Two feasibility studies on blockchain technology have been launched by Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce. The studies, which will focus on exploring the use of blockchain technology in trade finance and the registration of intellectual property, are expected to be completed in February 2019, per the Bangkok Post. According to Pimchanok Vonkorpon, the director of Thailand’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) which falls under the commerce ministry, the project has received support from the British Embassy. Increasing Efficiency and Trust With regards to trade financing, Pimchanok pointed out that blockchain…

Ukrainian Ministry of Finance Creates Working Group to Develop Crypto Taxation

The Ukrainian Ministry of Finance is creating a working group to discuss and develop a legal framework for crypto taxation, according to an Oct. 8 announcement on the ministry’s official website. The group will start its work beginning Oct.16 to identify crypto-related tax regulation options within the existing legal framework. The group of experts will also identify possible instances in which new or revised legislation is necessary. The findings of the group will be presented to the Expert Council for the preparation of common tax consultations by the end of…

Crypto Means Finance Middlemen ‘Face The Chop’

Financial intermediaries will be “facing the chop” thanks to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, Malta’s finance minister told Cointelegraph in an interview Friday, October 5. Speaking in a private interview during the Malta Blockchain Conference: Delta Summit 2018, Edward Scicluna said that the advent of cryptocurrency that is usable by the mass populace was making the middlemen of finance go the way of traditional photo developers. “This is a disruptive technology,” he said when asked whether he sees crypto as a future payment method, continuing: “I can see this, just like in…