JPMorgan Bank is Set to Develop its Own Cryptocurrency—JPM Coin

JPMorgan is making moves targeted at cementing its stance as a force to reckon with in the emerging digital asset market. The financial institution has recently made it known that it has plans to launch its own cryptocurrency — JPM Coin. Although, still an agenda for the future, it will be a major milestone in the bank’s plan for a worldwide crypto dominance.

JPMorgan has Plans For In-House  Development

The coin is going to get worked on by engineers in the bank and its development won’t be outsourced. According to a recent report announcing the intention of the bank to develops the coin, it was stated that the coin development is moving to real world trials in “a few months”.

The announcement also made it known that the bank intends on using JPM Coin to “settle some portion of its transactions between clients of its wholesale payments business in real time”

Currently, the bank moves more than $6 trillion daily as part of its business, in light of this, even a small portion of this will significantly increase the overall capitalisation of the crypto market.

Proposed Uses of the JPM coin

In a recent statement Umar Farooq, JPMorgan’s blockchain lead, has noted three of the likely uses of the JPM coin. Farooq stated that the bank token can be used for “replacing wire transfers for international payments by large corporate clients and cutting settlement times from days to just moments. It could also be used to provide instant settlement for securities issuances, as well as to replace U.S. dollars at held internationally by subsidiaries of major corporations using JPMorgan’s treasury services.” Farooq continued that: “Is there a way to ensure that a subsidiary can represent cash on the balance sheet without having to actually wire it to the unit? That way, they can consolidate their money and probably get better rates for it.”“Pretty much every big corporation is our client, and most of the major banks in the world are, too,” he concluded.


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Author: Joshua Tayo
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HSBC Exec Says Using Blockchain Slashed Forex Trading Costs by 25%

An HSBC executive has said that the bank’s blockchain-based system has helped it cut the costs of settling foreign exchange trades.

Speaking to Reuters, Mark Williamson, chief operating officer of FX cash trading and risk management, who oversees the blockchain project, said that its HSBC FX Everywhere platform saved it 25 percent as compared with traditional methods.

Last month, the bank announced it had settled more than $250 billion in transactions using its HSBC FX Everywhere platform.

It said then that it had settled 3 million foreign exchange transactions and made a further 150,000 payments over the digital ledger system, which it has been using over the last year “to orchestrate payments across HSBC’s internal balance sheets.”

In the Reuters report, Williamson said that HSBC processes from 3,500 to 5,000 trades a day on FX Everywhere, with trades now being worth $350 billion.

“We’re able to demonstrate that this is not a one-off proof of concept or just one or two trades,” Williamson said.

Reuters further quoted him as saying that a “significant” amount of internal money flows are likely to be settled on the DLT system.

HSBC has been experimenting wit blockchain for some time. Since joining blockchain consortium startup R3 in 2015, it has teamed up with Bank of America and the Singapore government on a blockchain supply chain trial

It’s also joined work on the Utility Settlement Coin (USC) project, designed to make it easier for global banks to conduct a variety of transactions with each other using collateralized assets on a custom-built blockchain.


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Author: Daniel Palmer
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UK Customs Service Postpones Blockchain-Driven Border Project Until After Brexit

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has delayed further work on a successful blockchain project in the wake of Brexit, according to a written parliamentary statement published Feb. 7.

The question about the distributed ledger project for customs needs was raised in the Q&A section on the United Kingdom Parliament’s website. On Jan. 30, Member of Parliament (MP) Eddie Hughes asked whether the government plans to use blockchain for customs systems after the U.K. leaves Europe. He also requested an update on a previously announced trial of the technology.

In response, the financial secretary to the U.K. Treasury, MP Mel Stride, explained that the project involved the development of a permissioned blockchain “that could be used to inform a trader’s ‘Authorised Economic Operator’ status.” Stride also reported that the pilot was trialed for six weeks and “established that government could use Blockchain to securely share the results of sensitive risk checks to improve the efficiencies of certain customs processes.”

However, the MP reported, further development of the solution would require significant work from HMRC and thus has been postponed “until after the U.K. leaves the EU when timescales and cost will be revisited.”

The financial secretary also revealed that the work might continue under the aegis of the Brexit-focused Future Borders Programme, as a part of their trading initiative.

The application of blockchain for customs needs was first announced by HMRC in September 2017 in what appears to be a separate initiative. Back then, the watchdog decided to examine using blockchain to make the border technologically ready for when the U.K. leaves the EU. After Brexit, the country’s customs will reportedly have to handle five times as many declarations than it currently does.

In June 2016, U.K. citizens voted to leave EU, with the country now scheduled to leave the Union on March 29, 2019. However, parties within U.K. have not yet come to a conclusion on how in particular the country is going to deal with various issues, such as trading, citizens’ rights of residence and the border with Ireland.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, United States Customs and Border Protection also launched its own blockchain test to trial the use of decentralized technology in its shipment tracking system.


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Author: Ana Berman
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Western Union Acknowledges Experiments With Ripple Tech

A senior executive at Western Union has announced the company is getting “ready” for a surge in cryptocurrencies, and is currently trialing some of the technology developed by Ripple Labs for use in its settlements services.

Molly Shea, the General Manager of Asia Pacific at Western Union, explained in the Analyse Asia podcast that the financial services company – which reported revenue of $1.4bn in Q4 2018 – was preparing itself for a future where digital assets begin to “take off”.

“When you think about cryptocurrencies, if those start to take off, we need to be ready,” Shea said. “We need to be ready form a technology perspective; regulation’s got to be there, but you constantly have to be looking for those trends where the customers are looking…and make sure that you’re ready to meet those needs and expectations. “

As part of this preparation, Shea said, Western Union is exploring legitimate and widely acceptable use cases for cryptocurrencies. One such area is in settlements; the company is currently performing“settlement tests” on whether Ripple could be used in “certain corridors,” particularly with the US dollar and Mexican peso.

Crypto Briefing reached out to Western Union for additional information and comment on its Ripple trials, but did not receive a response by press time.


Western’s Union With Ripple

Established in 1851, 168 years ago, Western Union provides remittance services, allowing customers to send funds across borders and in multiple currencies. The company sent more than $300bn in 2018; its network has more than 550,000 retail locations; more than all the Starbucks and McDonald’s outlets in the world, Shea claims.

Although the XRP cryptocurrency – part of the xRapid solution – is perhaps the most famous product offered by Ripple Labs, it isn’t the only one. The company also offers an xCurrent solution, which uses blockchain technology, but not necessarily XRP, for banks and other financial institutions to communicate with one another before, during and after a cross-border transaction.

A source at the National Bank of Kuwait told Crypto Briefing in October last year that the bank was waiting for regulatory approval to use xCurrent. The service finally went live at the end of December.

Collaboration between Ripple Labs and Western Union has been known for some time; the company began testing Ripple’s blockchain towards the end of 2017. In 2016, Western Union invested in Digital Currency Group (DCG), a venture capital company, which has also made investments into Ripple.

Although CEO Hikmet Ersek admitted last summer that the trials had yet to yield any cost savings, President Odilon Almeida told Reuters in December that there was little difference between crypto and digital fiat payments.

Adding support would not likely represent much of a challenge.


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Author: Paddy Baker
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Tron CEO Justin Sun Offers Job to Former BitTorrent Employee Who Lost All His Life Savings After Death of QuadrigaCX CEO

Tong Zhou made a $422,000 mistake by deciding to keep all his life savings on one exchange, and Justin Sun is trying to help him out

Justin Sun, the CEO of Tron, is among those who are saddened by the current predicament of a former BitTorrent torrent employee Tong Zhou who turned out to be one of 115,000 clients of Quadriga CX. Now, Zhou once again gets the opportunity to join the BitTorrent team.


A $422,000 predicament
As Bloomberg reported on Dec. 11, Zhou, a software engineer who recently moved to Vancouver, deposited all his life savings ($422,000) to Quadriga CX to transfer them to a Canadian bank. However, since the death of the exchange’s CEO Gerald Cotten, nobody is able to access the funds. The exchange owes its customer more than 190 mln with Zhou among one of the largest affected clients.

Justin Sun comes to the rescue
Sun claims that he’s saddened by the news, and he is willing to give a helping hand Zhou by offering him a job at BitTorrent. That move resonated with multiple Twitter users who are praising Sun.


However, there is one man who’s definitely not going back to BitTorrent. As U.Today reported earlier, ex-BitTorrent exec Simon Morris lashed out criticism at Tron and Justin Sun who, according to Morris, doesn’t have a technical bone.


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Author: Alex Morris
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Mt. Gox Creditors Neither Need nor Deserve This Kind of ‘Hero’

Brock Pierce has launched his own bid for the civil rehabilitation of Mt. Gox, promising to pay out all current funds to creditors while also talking about issuing debt tokens or giving away equity in a resurrected Mt. Gox exchange. As noble as this may sound on the surface, there are strong reasons to question the credibility and motives of this proposal.

Let’s Be Clear

First, Pierce is basing this plan on a fresh assertion that he is the rightful owner of Mt. Gox, as a result of plans to purchase Mt. Gox from Tibanne immediately after the collapse in 2014, as well as claiming to have later purchased Jed McCaleb’s 12% stake.

Let’s be clear here: Pierce does not own Mt. Gox.

Mt. Gox Creditors Neither Need nor Deserve This Kind Of 'Hero'

There exists a signed Letter of Intent (LOI) dated March 2014 between Sunlot and Tibanne for a planned handover of Mt. Gox. Into this letter Sunlot inserted language about “binding terms”, but it is clearly just drawing up the framework for an agreement yet to be closed.  As an obvious example, no purchase sum is specified.

Already Under Civil Rehabilitation

However, as Mt. Gox was already under civil rehabilitation at the time (and as the LOI states at the end next to “Court Approval”) no such agreement could be entered into without the court’s prior approval. Sunlot was sent a request to formally and mutually rescind the Letter of Intent in recognition of this overstep of authority in order to clear the way for restarted talks with the court’s blessing. He refused to sign it. Pierce is mischaracterizing this as Mark Karpeles backing out of a binding agreement, and seems to think that as long as he refuses to admit the truth, an alternate timeline where Sunlot closed the deal and legally acquired Mt. Gox will play out.

MtGox Creditors Neither Need nor Deserve This Kind Of “Hero”

As for acquiring McCaleb’s 12% share, no matter what deal Pierce may have struck with him, no effort has been made to legally record any transfer of shares, and the Mt. Gox estate still recognizes McCaleb as the legal owner of those shares.

Pierce’s insistence on being the legitimate owner of Mt. Gox in the face of facts is already disqualifying. But he has further made it clear that he considers himself the rightful beneficiary of the “hundreds of millions of surplus assets” that were originally due to be paid out to Mt. Gox shareholders due to a cruel quirk of Japanese bankruptcy law. It is against this backdrop that he is offering to “gift” this money to creditors by promising to generously refrain from laying claim to it.

Veiled Threat

Let us be equally clear on this: the “surplus” assets have been specifically placed out of reach of any shareholders thanks to the dedicated push by creditors like the MtGoxLegal group to convert the liquidation to new civil rehabilitation proceedings. We already won that victory. For Pierce to even bring this up is nothing short of a veiled threat that he could try to lay claim to them should he change his mind.  
And even if we take Pierce’s claim to Mt. Gox’s ownership as fact, why did he never lay claim to Mt. Gox’s assets during the four-years of liquidation proceedings?  Pierce could have stepped in and saved creditors from a painful, hail-mary bid for civil rehabilitation. He didn’t. Instead, he waited until the victory was won before stepping on stage to claim a prize.
If Pierce truly only wants to give something to Mt. Gox victims while asking nothing in return, this would be very laudable indeed. But what we’re seeing here is just a media spectacle with promised gifts being conditional on us all first giving Pierce what he wants.
The spectacle should instead be focused on the creditors who fought like hell and wrote the trustee en masse, convincing him not to oppose civil rehab and setting a Japanese precedent in the process. The civil rehab file contains all those letters. I’ve seen them.
Mt. Gox creditors neither need nor deserve this kind of “hero”.

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Author: Daniel Kelman
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Binance Earned $446 Million In Profits In 2018, Latest Analysis Shows

Even if Binance did not disclose the details of their earnings so far, The Block was able to find out how much the company earned by factoring the burn rate of the Binance BNB token, reports CryptoGlobe.

$446 million in 2018

The Block’s analysis determined that the company made $446 million throughout 2018.

The Block’s Lary Cermak explained that “As part of maintaining its coin, Binance uses 20% of its net profits to buy back BNB and eventually destroy 100 million BNB tokens, according to the whitepaper. After every BNB burning, Binance publishes a disclosure report.”

He continued and said that “So far, Binance has had six quarterly BNB burns, in which it destroyed a little over 10.8 million BNB. Every burn is done based on BNB price on the day of the burn, which means that if the BNB totals are multiplied by the price of BNB on the day of the burn, we can get a USD equivalent of 20% of the profits.”

And he also said that Binance’s profit is “simply five times the USD equivalent of each burn, if the firm is staying true to its whitepaper commitment.”

Profits were correlated with the bulls and bears in the market

According to the same analysis, the exchange’s profits have also been correlated with the swings in the crypto market.

Binance earned more during the bullish times, less and in the bearish ones.

Back in July 2018, Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao was predicting that by the end of 2018 the company should see $500 million.

The reports also show that the exchange traded about $664 million worth of crypto on a daily basis.

Binance to team up with Ripple

Binance was in the spotlight recently again after CZ made the Ripple and XRP community happy with his latest announcement that he would team up with Ripple to promote XRP adoption.

Zhao said that the details for this partnership had not been established yet, because for now, Binance has other priorities.

But he made sure to highlight the fact that this is definitely in the cards.


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Author: Eduard Watson
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Nano-switches made out of graphene could make our electronics even smaller

For the first time, physicists have built reliable, efficient graphene nanomachines that can be fabricated on silicon chips. They could lead to even greater miniaturization.

The chances are that you own a microelectromechanical device—probably dozens of them. These devices fill the modern world. They make possible the accelerometers in smartphones, the microphones in laptops, and the micromirrors in digital projectors, to name just a few.

They are typically a few micrometers in size, tiny by any standards. But scientists and engineers want them even smaller—on the nanometer scale, if possible. At that size, these machines can work as simple switches in logic and memory devices, raising the prospect of more powerful and more efficient data-processing devices.

These micromachines are generally carved into silicon chips. But as they get smaller, silicon switches become less efficient because they leak current when they are off. A better option is a graphene switch, which is easy to carve on a nanometer scale and relatively straightforward to build into conventional silicon chips. Neither does it leak current when it is off.

But there is a problem. When graphene touches silicon, it tends to stick fast. Imagine a switch consisting of a flexible graphene bar that forms a circuit when the bar touches a silicon electrode. If the bar sticks to the electrode, it cannot be switched off again.

This problem is known as stiction. And despite significant financial investment in graphene research by governments all over the world, nobody has found a good way to solve it.

Enter Kulothungan Jothiramalingam at the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and colleagues, who have found a solution. Using it, they have created graphene-based nanoelectromechanical devices that can act as switches and even as logic gates.

Their method is straightforward. They coat a silicon chip with nanocrystalline graphene, which sticks fast to the surface. Then they cover this with a layer of hydrogen silsesquioxane, which acts as a resist and can be carved into various shapes. On top of this they place another layer of graphene.

The trick is to carve the top layer of graphene into a bar shape that is anchored at both ends by electrodes. Then they remove the hydrogen silsesquioxane layer underneath part of the graphene bar to leave it suspended above the graphene layer.

Bending this bar is simple. A potential difference between the layers creates a force that bends the bar to toward the chip. When it touches this lower surface, it forms a circuit, a process that can be exploited for logic and for data storage.

That’s the switch. And because the two surfaces that come into contact are both graphene, there is no stiction. Switching off the potential difference releases the bar, which springs back into its original position.

Jothiramalingam and co used this approach to build a variety of proof-of-principle nano-switches, including single switches and an array. They say the devices work well with low voltages of just 1.5 volts and that in the off state, there is very little current leakage because the graphene bars are well insulated from other conducting layers.

There are some challenges, though. For example, the shape and size of the graphene beam and its distance from the lower layer need to be optimized to achieve reliable switching. But this should be a straightforward engineering problem.

Once that is solved, more complex devices become possible. The team has designed a range of more complex switches including an AND logic gate and a three-terminal switch in which they place three layers of graphene on top of each other, separated by an insulating layer of hydrogen silsesquioxane.

That’s interesting work with the potential to make nanoelectromechanical devices even smaller, based on the promise of the wonder material that is graphene.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1901.07754 : Stacking of Nanocrystalline Graphene for Nano-ElectroMechanical (NEM) Actuator Applications


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Author: Emerging Technology from the arXiv
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HSBC Whistleblower Falciani to Launch Anti-Fraud Cryptocurrency

If the project is approved by Spanish regulators, 5 million Tabu tokens will be put up for sale.

Famous French whistleblower Hervé Falciani is going to be launching a new cryptocurrency according to a Reuters report published on Friday.
Called Tabu, Falciani hopes that the new token will be picked up by regulatory authorities and used as a means of ensuring money is clean and transactions are not conducted fraudulently.

Falciani says he has 5 million Tabu tokens, worth 2 million Euros ($2.3 million), that will be offered to investors once the National Securities Market Commission, Spain’s financial regulator, gives the project its approval.

The project has managed to raise 1.3 million Euros ($1.47 million) thus far but needs the additional 2 million euros to ensure that it can succeed. Tabu was created by Tactical Whistleblowers, a non-profit organisation which Falciani founded.

Based in Valencia, the organisation includes a number of academics, mostly mathematicians, from the Valencia Polytechnic University in eastern Spain.

Blockchain for government
Alongside his cryptocurrency project, Falciani plans on launching a blockchain system that can be used to authenticate government procurement contracts.
Across the globe, such contracts are regularly used as a means of putting money into the pockets of corrupt government officials and their buddies in the private sector.
The new system will be called ‘Aletheia,’ which, as our classics-loving readers will already now, is a Greek term which translates to ‘disclosure’ in English.

“Fake information is the basis of any kind of fraud,” Falciani told Reuters. “The same way that we have to deal with fake news, the same technology can [be] applied to fake invoices.”

A former computer programmer with HSBC, Falciani shot to fame in 2008 after he leaked a huge spreadsheet containing the names of 130,000 potential tax evaders.
Fearing extradition to Switzerland, where he faces up to five years in prison, he moved to Spain six years. He was arrested in the summer of last year by local authorities but released shortly afterwards, with a Spanish court saying it does not recognise the charges made against him by the Swiss government.


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Author: David Kimberley
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Nobel-Prize Winning Chemistry May Mean Clean Energy Breakthrough

Scientists have used a Nobel-prize winning Chemistry technique on a mixture of metals to potentially reduce the cost of fuel cells used in electric cars and reduce harmful emissions from conventional vehicles.

The researchers have translated a biological technique, which won the 2017 Nobel Chemistry Prize, to reveal atomic scale chemistry in metal nanoparticles. These materials are one of the most effective catalysts for energy converting systems such as fuel cells. It is the first time this technique has been used for this kind of research.

The particles have a complex star-shaped geometry and this new work shows that the edges and corners can have different chemistries which can now be tuned to reduce the cost of batteries and catalytic convertors.

The 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Joachim Frank, Richard Henderson and Jacques Dubochet for their role in pioneering the technique of ‘single particle reconstruction’. This electron microscopy technique has revealed the structures of a huge number of viruses and proteins but is not usually used for metals.

Now, a team at the University of Manchester, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Oxford and Macquarie University, have built upon the Nobel Prize winning technique to produce three dimensional elemental maps of metallic nanoparticles consisting of just a few thousand atoms.

Published in the journal Nano Letters, their research demonstrates that it is possible to map different elements at the nanometre scale in three dimensions, circumventing damage to the particles being studied.

Metal nanoparticles are the primary component in many catalysts, such as those used to convert toxic gases in car exhausts. Their effectiveness is highly dependent on their structure and chemistry, but because of their incredibly small structure, electron microscopes are required in order to provide image them. However, most imaging is limited to 2D projections.

“We have been investigating the use of tomography in the electron microscope to map elemental distributions in three dimensions for some time,” said Professor Sarah Haigh, from the School of Materials, University of Manchester. “We usually rotate the particle and take images from all directions, like a CT scan in a hospital, but these particles were damaging too quickly to enable a 3D image to be built up. Biologists use a different approach for 3D imaging and we decided to explore whether this could be used together with spectroscopic techniques to map the different elements inside the nanoparticles.”

“Like ‘single particle reconstruction’ the technique works by imaging many particles and assuming that they are all identical in structure, but arranged at different orientations relative to the electron beam. The images are then fed in to a computer algorithm which outputs a three dimensional reconstruction.”

In the present study the new 3D chemical imaging method has been used to investigate platinum-nickel (Pt-Ni) metal nanoparticles.

Lead author, Yi-Chi Wang, also from the School of Materials, added: “Platinum based nanoparticles are one of the most effective and widely used catalytic materials in applications such as fuel cells and batteries. Our new insights about the 3D local chemical distribution could help researchers to design better catalysts that are low-cost and high-efficiency.”

“We are aiming to automate our 3D chemical reconstruction workflow in the future”, added author Dr Thomas Slater.“We hope it can provide a fast and reliable method of imaging nanoparticle populations which is urgently needed to speed up optimisation of nanoparticle synthesis for wide ranging applications including biomedical sensing, light emitting diodes, and solar cells.”


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Author: SCIENCE BLOG
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