ConsenSys Backs Icelandic Startup Co-Founded by Ex-Chair of Country’s Central Bank

Ethereum (ETH) blockchain startup and incubator ConsenSys has participated in a $2 million seed funding round for Iceland-based blockchain startup Monerium, according to a press release from the firm, published Jan. 11. The startup counts the former chairman of Iceland’s central bank among its four founders. The funding round was reportedly led by Icelandic venture capital fund Crowberry Capital, and has also seen the participation of Icelandic private investment firm Hof Holdings. Founded in 2016, Monerium is reportedly developing a solution for “bridging fiat money and blockchains,” issuing what it…

Major Indian Bank Threatens to Close Accounts of Users Transacting in Crypto: Report

This article has been updated to include a recent tweet from Indian CryptoGirl about the reported closure of her RBI account. Kotak Mahindra Bank — India’s second largest private sector bank by market cap — is allegedly requiring account holders to refrain from dealings in cryptocurrency. The claim was made by Twitter user “Indian CryptoGirl” (@Desicryptohodlr) in a tweet posted Jan. 8. According to the screenshot provided in Indian CryptoGirl’s tweet, Kotak Mahindra Bank makes explicit reference to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) regulations in its apparent terms and…

What We Know About Yellow Vests’ Bank Run and How Crypto Could Help It

On Jan. 7, activists of the French grassroots political movement the Gilets Jaunes — Yellow Vests — announced a bank run via social media, essentially hoping to meet their goals by destabilizing the local financial system. Dubbed the “Collectors’ Referendum,” the movement’s latest demonstration calls on supporters to withdraw their savings from financial institutions on Saturday, Jan. 12. While the political action does not mention cryptocurrencies, it seems that such a run on the banks could hypothetically affect the crypto market — and vice versa. What’s a bank run? A…

Central Bank Report States Crypto Does Not Threaten Financial Stability

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has stated that cryptocurrencies currently pose no threat to financial stability in its recent financial report, published Dec. 28. The document entitled “Report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India 2017-18” reads: “[C]rypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability currently. The market continues to evolve rapidly, however, and this initial assessment could change if crypto-assets were to become more widely used or interconnected with the core of the regulated financial system. RBI quoted a conclusion drawn from a recent report by…

Chinese Bank Giants Tap Blockchain in Trade Finance Efficiency Boost

The China Banking Association (CBA), the country’s self-regulatory organization for the banking sector, is launching a new blockchain-based platform for trade finance. The platform was announced last week while the organization is in the process of rolling it out for live usage after several pilot programs aimed at improving the efficiency and security of trade finance transactions. Over 10 major banks in the region have signed up for the platform, including HSBC (China), Bank of China, China Merchants Bank, Ping An Bank, China Postal Savings Bank, among others. Lending technical support are…

Proof of Keys Explained: Bitcoin’s First Planned ‘Bank Run’ Is Today

Do your bitcoins really exist? The answer might seem like an obvious “yes,” but the brewing “Proof of Keys” movement, launching today, argues the answer is not so clear. How in control a person is of their coins depends on where and how the bitcoin is stored. So participants will be taking their money out of third-party bitcoin services, moving it to accounts only they themselves control. “We’re going to withdraw all our bitcoin from any third party services just to prove that they’re there,” said Trace Mayer, Proof of…

Anti-monopoly Court Rules to Keep Crypto Exchanges’ Bank Accounts Open

The Chilean anti-monopoly court has again granted protection to local cryptocurrency exchanges by forcing banks to keep their accounts open, financial news outlet Diario Financiero reported Jan. 2. According to a recent statement from Buda.com — one of the crypto exchanges affected by previously upheld banking restrictions — the anit-monopoly court known as the Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia (TDLC) has held a poll, and most of its members voted in favor of the crypto firms. The next few hearings are scheduled for February, when the TDLC will…

Media Reports Central Bank Has Postponed ‘Crypto-Rupee’ Plans

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is pausing its plans to release a digital currency, Indian business news outlet the Hindu Business Line reported on Jan. 1. India’s central bank had originally announced its intentions to consider a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in April of this year, at the time noting the establishment of an interdepartmental group to look into potential advantages and feasibility. In August, RBI confirmed the creation of the group, specifying that it was researching a CBDC that would be backed the rupee for reasons including…

National Bank of Kuwait Launches Ripple-Based Cross-Border Payments Product

The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has launched a cross-border remittance product based on RippleNet’s blockchain technology, according to an announcement published Dec. 27. Established in 1952, the NBK is the largest financial institution in terms of assets in Kuwait. Per the bank’s 2017 annual report, the NBK has over $86.3 billion in total assets. The NBK has reportedly become the first financial establishment in Kuwait to implement a remittance product — “NBK Direct Remit” — for international live payments based on RippleNet’s blockchain technology. The product will purportedly speed…

Bank of America Files for Blockchain ‘ATM as a Service’ Patent

Bank of America may be eyeing shared networks of ATMs powered by blockchain tech, according to a newly revealed patent application. The filing, published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Tuesday, outlines a system via which a cash-handling devices could utilize blockchain technology to “accelerate transaction speed and/or facilitate other types of transactions in addition to ATM transactions like cash withdrawals and deposits, such as gift registry transactions.” Blockchain could also help such devices “handle a relatively larger amount of transaction volume while reducing its physical cash…