Seoul wants to become a crypto capital: South Korea has always been on the cutting edge of technology, and its government has been open about referencing the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, which would incorporate technological trends such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Park Won-Soon, the mayor of Seoul, has even suggested that the city create its own cryptocurrency. The city has also set up a 100 billion won fund in order to fund blockchain startups. In addition, Korea has already been developing its own blockchain-based voting system since last year.
5 million dollars stolen by SIM swapping: A US college student who stole more than $5 million in cryptocurrency by hijacking the phone numbers of around 40 victims pleaded guilty and accepted a plea deal of 10 years in prison. Joel Ortiz is the first person to be convicted of a crime for SIM swapping, an increasingly popular and damaging hack. The prosecutors and agents who have been investigating these hacks celebrated the conviction, and said they hope that this will serve as an example for the other alleged criminals who have already been arrested, as well as the ones who have yet to be caught.
Stuttgart Stock Exchange launches crypto trading app: Germany’s second largest stock exchange, Boerse Stuttgart Group, has officially launched its crypto-trading app “Bison”. The aim is to ease access to cryptocurrencies for investors that are accustomed to using traditional markets. The software was developed by FinTech Sowa Labs — a subsidiary of Boerse Stuttgart Digital Ventures. The app enables free-of-charge trading in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple. Another subsidiary of the stock exchange, Blocknox, will act as custodian for users’ funds, using an escrow system.
First blockchain acquisition by Facebook: The social media giant has acquired four key people behind blockchain startup Chainspace and is investing considerable efforts and resources into blockchain tech. According to financial media “Cheddar”, Chainspace will be shutting down as Facebook has hired most of its current employees. A Facebook spokesperson told “Cheddar” that the company hasn’t acquired Chainspace’s tech, only the talent. Chainspace is a decentralized application platform, somewhat similar to Ethereum, but still in early stages of development. As for Facebook, the company has publicly stated its interest in blockchain on several occasions.
Forbes FinTech Top 50: The best blockchain companies forbes.com
Energy sector: Energy industry tests practical applications of the blockchain pv-magazine.de
Axel Springer Verlag: Partnership with SatoshiPay de.cointelegraph.com
European Blockchain Investment Congress 2019: Insider know-how at the conference cointelegraph.com
NUMBER OF THE WEEK
About 190 million dollars in cryptocurrency has been locked away in an online black hole after the founder of Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX died, apparently taking his encrypted access to their money with him.
Administrators still don’t know what blockchain is: The German government wants to modernize its administration. Germany’s governing parties plan to test “innovative technologies” such as blockchain and create a legal framework for them. But a new study by consulting firm BearingPoint shows that this is still far from reality. The research shows that there is still a huge knowledge deficit: Blockchain was a completely unknown territory for 62 percent of the respondents. Catching up this deficit will likely take some time – the clear separation of IT and other departments in public administration makes communication exchanges more difficult, according to BearingPoint’s Alexander Schmid.
The end of the crypto exchange boom: Numerous crypto exchanges entered the market in the wake of the crypto hype at the end of the year 2017. The bubble has now burst, the trading volume has dropped dramatically. Margins are shrinking drastically due to enormous pressure from competition and the large number of offers. The exchanges’ IT infrastructure is often poorly secured, so hacks are not uncommon. Trust in the crypto exchanges is fading. Only the largest and best crypto exchanges have a chance of survival. Clients have come to expect that their business relationship with a crypto exchange can end sooner than expected. However, there is a silver lining to this development: Customer service will inevitably improve as a result of tough competition.
“We are very excited to bring blockchain enthusiasts, industry professionals, entrepreneurs and blockchain-based startups together to learn more about the unique, cutting-edge potential of blockchain technology to provide a faster, more efficient and transparent society.”
Vladimir Belozerov, CEO and co-founder of European Blockchain Investment Congress 2019, sees a lot of potential in the meeting of blockchain enthusiasts at the congress in Vienna.
Iran launches gold-backed cryptocurrency: In a move made following international sanctions, Iran has reportedly launched a gold-backed cryptocurrency called “PayMon”. According to the Financial Tribune, the country has launched the gold-backed cryptocurrency in cooperation with the Parsian Bank, the Bank Pasargad, Bank Melli Iran, Bank Mellat, and the Ghoghnoos Company. An over-the-counter cryptocurrency exchange called Iran Fara Bourse is also expected to adopt the cryptocurrency. The director of Kuknos, the blockchain company taking care of the technical aspects, said that the new crypto asset is a way to tokenize assets and excess properties of the banks. The move comes months after international sanctions started crippling the country’s economy by forcing payment networks such as that of SWIFT from offering services to its institutions.