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American Express Thinks Blockchains Could Help Prove Payments

American Express is on the hunt for better ways of proving when transactions occur and a new patent filing suggests the financial services giant may be looking at blockchain as part of a possible solution. In a patent application released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last week, American …

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G20 Watchdog Releases Framework for ‘Vigilant’ Crypto Monitoring

The Financial Stability Board (FSB), an organization focused on analyzing and making recommendations to the G20 on global financial systems, has presented a framework for monitoring cryptocurrency assets. It notably lists several metrics that the FSB will use to keep an eye on the developing crypto markets and “should help …

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Report: World’s Biggest Asset Manager BlackRock Exploring Bitcoin

Global investment management company BlackRock is reportedly mulling a move into bitcoin. According to a Financial News London report on Monday, the New York-based asset manager has now set up a working group to look into ways it can “take advantage” of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, as well as to …

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The Kodak KashMiner’s Flashy Debut Ends In Failure

The much-publicized partnership that would have resulted in digital media brand Kodak’s name appearing on a series of bitcoin miners is no more. Revealed in January at the CES tech show in Las Vegas, the Kodak KashMiner boasted a two-year income projection of $9,000 and required an up-front payment of …

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Bitcoin Eyes Bull Reversal As Volumes Spike From 36-Week Lows

Bitcoin is eyeing change of fortunes above $6,800, having convincingly scaled a key moving average hurdle earlier today. At press time, BTC is changing hands at a six-day high of $6,600 on Bitfinex – up 3.44 percent on the day. The cryptocurrency remained bid over the weekend and rose to …

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What Crypto Really Thinks About Litecoin’s Banking Ambitions

It was news that was perhaps too strange for crypto's typically divided reactions.

First revealed Wednesday, the Litecoin Foundation, the non-profit that develops the software that powers the sixth-largest cryptocurrency, bought a stake in a very real, non-crypto bank. The move was met with applause and skepticism, but also a stunned sense of disbelief from nearly all sides.

Was it a sign that crypto is becoming so powerful it will soon overturn the rule of banks?

Certainly that theory was well-represented in the initial reactions...

Indeed, the news had imaginations operating at full speed, with some going so far as to think that the crypto industry might be on a bank buying spree.

What the companies said

But while some were looking into a possibly far-off future, others took a more measured look.

First, there was the news itself. Specifically, the Litecoin Foundation acquired 9.9 percent in WEG Bank AG, a small firm with one office in a German town called Ottobrunn.

It wasn't all the Litecoin Foundation's doing either. Rather, it bought the shares directly from a new partner, TokenPay, which offers blockchain instruments for businesses. In May, TokenPay announced it had bought 9.9 percent of WEG Bank AG, at the time saying it was going to help the bank develop fintech solutions.

The press release also said TokenPay had an oral agreement to bring another, "world renowned" company to the partnership, and that it was in negotiations with another bank in Liechtenstein.

As it turned out Tuesday night, the "world renowned" partner was Litecoin Foundation, the organization's head Charlie Lee proudly announced.

A TokenPay employee later explained that the new partnership will help the bank facilitate and speed up transactions using blockchain, at the same time reducing transaction fees.

A measured look

But some in the community weren't quite ready to fantasize.

Wasn't the whole point of crypto to escape the world of banks and build a new one, with no banks, no central banks, no old financial infrastructure and rules?

From this perspective, the news sounded disappointing to some.




Others thought the news was simply overhyped.

When moon?

Still, others had their sights fixed a bit more firmly on the charts.

While the news sounded game changing, it didn't cause any change in litecoin's price dynamics (on Wednesday, after the news broke, the price spiked to $81). However, this is a far cry from the cryptocurrency's price highs.

Litecoin has been on the downslide since January when it soared to $331, and it seemed the partnership has done little to change that direction, something commentators were quick to point out.

As the news shows, you just can't please everyone in crypto!

Charlie Lee (right) image via CoinDesk archives

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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A US Election Probe Implicated Bitcoin – And the Reaction Was Swift

Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general of the U.S., sparked a social firestorm when he revealed that the dozen Russian military intelligence officers indicted on Friday used bitcoin to fund hacking efforts during the 2016 presidential election. As CoinDesk reported earlier today, the defendants named in the indictment are accused …

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Something Strange Is Going On at a Crypto Exchange Called WEX

Users of WEX, the cryptocurrency exchange built on the ashes of BTC-e, are reporting withdrawal problems, raising new questions about an already mysterious trading platform. “‏Dear Wex, when withdraws will enable ??” asked Twitter user Alireza Moosavi on Friday, joining a crowd of Wex customers complaining they couldn’t withdraw funds …

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5 Crypto Assets Are Soaring Big on Possible Coinbase Listings

Cryptocurrencies generally see a price increase after being added to an exchange, but with Coinbase the rise can be meteoric – even when nothing is actually being added. The exchange announced Friday that it was looking into potentially adding cardano’s ADA token, basic attention token, stellar, zcash and 0x to …

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Hedge Fund Billionaire Steven Cohen Is Getting into Crypto

Billionaire investor Steven Cohen, once dubbed the “Hedge Fund King,” has reportedly entered the crypto space. According to a Fortune article published July 12, Cohen has invested in cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund Autonomous Partners through his VC firm Cohen Private Ventures. Autonomous Partners was founded last December by Arianna Simpson, a …

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CoinList’s Fifth ICO Is a $61 Million Bid to Tokenize All the Assets

The website aiming to be the gold-standard for token sellers has been picking up the pace.

Since spinning off from venture capital giant AngelList last October, New York-based CoinList has been able to make a spot on its website a coveted place for serious projects, even in a crowded market for compliant coin offerings. So, on Monday, the wider world of token entrepreneurs and investors took notice when the company opened registration for its fifth sale.

The new entrant? TrustToken, a platform that aims to simplify trading real-world assets on a blockchain.

TrustToken hopes to be a one-stop shop for those who want to launch such efforts, supplying the means for them to do everything from creating a legal entity for the asset and interacting with the fiduciary agent responsible for it, to fulfilling regulatory requirements and interacting with the blockchain.

The trust token being sold then acts much like insurance does for traditional securitization. The smart contract will require that a certain amount of trust token be set aside for any given asset. Those doing so will take liability for the asset, guaranteeing it on behalf of its holders.

Finer points aside, though, the addition of TrustToken is notable in that it follows just four previous sales held on the site: sharing economy platform Origin; live-streaming mobile app Props; decentralized web protocol Blockstack; and the token for cloud storage, Filecoin (whose creator, Protocol Labs, collaborated with AngelList to launch CoinList).

So, even with the uncertain regulatory environment in the U.S. remaining, TrustToken may be a sign that things are again starting to accelerate.

After a long lull following its Props sale in early 2018, TrustToken marks the second sale to go up in the space of a month.

"CoinList Capital conducts a really through diligence process," CEO Andy Bromberg said, speaking to its latest project selection.

Further, he went on to highlight the team members' strong pedigrees, prior experience and the promise of its business model, telling CoinDesk:

"The net of all that is we're excited to offer this opportunity."

Trust token sale

So, while not the largest raise on the platform, TrustToken is seeking a big ask from investors in what's turning into a bear market year for cryptocurrencies broadly.

With the listing, TrustToken aims to raise another $61 million selling 435 million of its ethereum-based trust tokens. (The company has previously raised $20 million in backing from major investors, including BlockTower Capital, Danhua Capital and Andreessen Horowitz).

Registration for the sale (which will include know-your-customer and anti-money laundering checks) will remain open through July 17 and then sale will begin on July 18. The team has not set an end date for the sale, but it won't raise more than its goal.

Still, it's important to note that money will be used by the team to prove out its model of asset tokenization, one where the token is used to decentralize a crypto method of underwriting. The more it raises, the more new tokens it can launch to prove out and refine the model.

Once it has refined its model for tokenizing assets at scale, it will open up its platform for institutions to tokenize their own assets, with the eventual goal of letting anyone create a token that represents their own property.

"We start with asset tokenization, but we think it's really going to unlock human potential, and we think the last big thing to unlocking human potential is actually having democratized financial assets," TrustToken CEO Danny An told CoinDesk.

Tokens at stake

Right now, the company is best known for TrueUSD, a stablecoin based on the U.S. dollar that the company says can actually be redeemed for government-backed monies, but the sale itself is for the trust token, which makes this kind of offering possible.

Under this model, trust token would be necessary for the creation of assets like TrueUSD. Provided it raises enough funding, it plans to replicate TrueUSD with the euro and yen, as it further refines its model.

"Whenever you're doing mini-IPOs of assets all across the world with different legalities and language, you kind of need a standard way of insuring that it's a trustworthy asset," An said.

For high-volume assets, like a stablecoin, stakers would be remunerated with transaction fees, while for lower-volume assets, such as real estate, stakers will be paid out of inflation in the tokens representing that asset.

As an example, if piece of land were represented by 100 TrueLand tokens, and the smart contract said that stakers would be paid 3 percent each year, three new tokens would be created annually and divided up among those guaranteeing the land for TrueLand holders.

With a stake in place, that signals for investors looking for opportunities that an asset has merit. "Trust token is a way to essentially affirm where it's worth it or trustworthy to send money to," An explained.

Path ahead

Despite these big goals, though, An's team is proceeding cautiously and refining its model in house first.

Following the release of the stablecoins it creates, his team plans to create tokens for real gold and silver reserves. Because it is providing the liquidity for each of these products, An explained, each new token dramatically increases the company's workload, so it's cautious about overstating expectations.

In the next one or two years, it expects holders of trust tokens to be able to participate in staking, but it's unforeseeable how soon it will be able to open up its platform for other entities to create new asset-backed tokens.

For participants in the CoinList sale, the token itself should become available to buyers sometime between January 2019 and the first quarter of 2020.

"We are essentially a securitization company, so we are waiting to be one of the last followers on SEC clarity on utility tokens," An said.

He added:

"Our company interacts with basically every regulatory agency so we are very legally conservative."

Image via TrustToken

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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