This week’s edition of 5 Tales from the Crypto features a pair of stories from cryptocurrency exchange Binance, concerns over crypto-crime and innovations in tokenization from JP Morgan Chase, and a look at a new product, a new partnership, and a new payments license.
Cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced that e-wallet service provider and payment gateway, SticPay will partner with Binance’s payment solution, BinancePay. BinancePay is a contactless, borderless, secure, cryptocurrency payment technology. SticPay will leverage the solution to enhance and streamline its users’ access to a range of leading cryptocurrencies.
SticPay has more than one million users and 5,000 corporate customers in 200+ countries. Courtesy of the new partnership, SticPay users will be able to fund their accounts directly via BinancePay. This will enable them to buy, sell, and send more than 70 leading cryptocurrencies faster and cheaper, which SticPay CEO Sean Park called the company’s mission. “Our users will be able to handle more cryptocurrencies, more efficiently than ever before,” Park said.
The BinancePay news comes just a few weeks after Binance announced that it would sell its Russian business to CommEx. The off-boarding process is expected to take up to a year. Binance said in a statement that the assets of Russian accountholders are safe.
Binance Chief Compliance Officer Noah Perlman noted that the company remained positive on the long-term growth of the cryptocurrency industry worldwide. Nevertheless, he added, “operating in Russia is not compatible with Binance’s compliance strategy.”
The parting of ways between Binance and Russia is total. The company noted that it will have no ongoing revenue split from the sale of its Russia business to CommEx. Binance also did not maintain any option to buy back shares in the business as part of the sale.
Sometimes the gods of cryptocurrency giveth and sometimes they taketh away. In recent weeks, JP Morgan has represented both tendencies with regards to its openness to crypto and digital assets.
A few weeks ago, we learned that JP Morgan Chase UK will ban its customers from making crypto transactions, beginning on October 16. The bank blamed a high number of fraud and scam incidents for its decision. Specifically, according to a bank spokesperson, Chase customers will be unable to buy crypto assets using a Chase debit card. They will also be unable to transfer money to a cryptocurrency account from a Chase account.
Chase is hardly the only financial institution to place limits on its customer’s ability to transact in cryptocurrencies. NatWest limited the amount of money customers can send to crypto exchanges back in March, citing concerns over “crypto criminals.” Santander Bank has also moved to prevent its customers in the U.K. from sending real-time payments to crypto exchanges.
At the same time, JP Morgan Chase has become increasingly interested in blockchain technology and the opportunities in tokenization. This week, JP Morgan unveiled its Tokenized Collateral Network (TCN). The new platform leverages blockchain technology to enable investors to use digital assets as collateral and, further, to transfer collateral ownership without having to transfer assets in the underlying ledgers.
The first public transaction using TCN involved JPMorgan and BlackRock. JP Morgan leveraged its Onyx Digital Assets tokenization platform to convert shares of a money market fund into digital tokens. Those tokens were then transferred to Barclays bank via TCN to be used as a security for an OTC derivatives exchange between JPMorgan and BlackRock.
“The tokenization of money market fund shares as collateral in clearing and margining transactions would dramatically reduce the operational friction in meeting margin calls when segments of the market face acute margin pressures,” BlackRock deputy global COO of cash management Tom McGrath said.
The hope for TCN is that the technology will reduce the number of settlement fails and provide near-instant real-time changes in ownership. TCN is live and a number of clients and transactions are reportedly on deck.
Cryptocurrency exchange Birake Exchange has turned to IDVerse to provide identity verification. The platform specializes in Masternode coins and will leverage its new relationship with IDVerse (formerly known as OCR Labs) to provide KYC and secure digital identity verification (IDV) during the onboarding process.
In a statement, the Romania-based Birake Exchange team underscored its belief in the future of cryptocurrencies and the importance of decentralization. “To mitigate fraud risks while fostering public confidence, judicious customer due diligence through identity verification has become a priority for us,” the team said.
Founded in 2018, the Birake Exchange refers to itself as a “white label crypto exchange” because it offers trading technology that enables its customers to build and brand their own crypto exchanges. The Birake Network has its own blockchain, which is powered by the Birake Coin (BIR).
As OCR Labs, IDVerse demoed its technology at FinovateAsia 2017, winning Best of Show. The company rebranded as IDVerse earlier this year.
Blockchain company Quant has introduced a new solution designed to make blockchain-based transactions more secure for financial institutions. The new offering, Overledger Authorise, helps FIs manage and integrate digital asset private keys with their own current enterprise key management systems. The technology covers the incompatibility gap between existing systems and blockchain private keys by managing the signing of blockchain transactions and key generation.
Quant founder and CEO Gilbert Verdian noted that the success of blockchain technology in banking will depend on innovations in other technologies. “We cannot unlock (blockchain technology’s) true potential without robust and future-proof solutions for cryptographic key management and transaction authorization,” Verdian said.
Overledger Authorise has been stress-tested successfully in Project Rosalind. Project Rosalind is a central bank digital currency project conducted by the Bank of England and the Bank for International Settlements.
Headquartered in London, Quant was founded in 2015.
Ripple’s Singapore-based subsidiary, Ripple Markets APAC, secured its Major Payments Institution (MPI) license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The MAS gave Ripple Markets in-principal approval earlier this year. The license paves the way for Ripple Markets APAC to issue digital payment tokens (DPTs).
Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse called Singapore “pivotal” to the company’s global business. Ripple established Singapore as its Asia Pacific headquarters in 2017. Garlinghouse referred to Singapore as “one of the leading fintech and digital asset hubs striking the balance between innovation, consumer protection and responsible growth.”
A Finovate alum since debuting as OpenCoin in 2013, Ripple has grown into a major enterprise blockchain solution provider for the financial services industry. Earlier this year, Ripple won a court ruling that its native cryptocurrency, XRP, was a digital token and “not in and of itself a ‘contract,’. As such, the court rules that Ripple was not guilty of selling unregistered securities – as accused by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2020.
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