NASDAQ Stock-Offering DX.Exchange Launches Today

Estonia-based cryptocurrency exchange DX.Exchange, anticipated for its tokenization of NASDAQ stocks and using its matching engine, has released its full list of trading pairs as it sets to launch today.

Initial pairs set to be available on the day of launch include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Cardano (ADA)OmiseGO (OMG)Enigma (ENG), ShareToken (SHR), and DigiByte (DGB). All coins will be paired against the USD, while Cardano and XRP will also be paired against the Yen, and XRP and DigiByte against the Euro. According to the team, 500,000 users have already pre-registered.

Having spoken to Bloomberg earlier, CEO Daniel Skowronski said,

We saw a huge market opportunity in tokenizing existing securities. We believe that this is the beginning of the traditional market’s merge with blockchain technology. This is going to open a whole new world of trading securities old and new alike.
Just as significantly, the exchange will offer tokenized forms of shares of some of the biggest companies on NASDAQ: Apple, Amazon, Baidu, Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Netflix, Nvidia, and Tesla.

Tokenized shares on the exchange give international investors another entry into NASDAQ, which is perhaps equally, if not more, appealing as being able to trade on a regulated platform that charges no trading fees (and several major exchanges charge quite a high fee). However, the lack of trading fees is accounted for by a subscription service of $10 a month. Furthermore, traders can buy and sell these shares 24/7.

For those investors hesitant about crypto investment due to a lack of regulation, DX.Exchange can be attractive because it fully follows EU regulation. It also offers crypto-to-fiat deposits and withdrawals, another essential feature that establishes accessibility.

On the face of it, it appears that DX.Exchange is trying to marry the traditional financial market with the tokenization possibilities of blockchain. Although the companies are not involved, each virtual stock will be an actual stock and benefit from cash dividends. The stocks will be managed by MPS Marketplace, which has been given the license to do so by Cyprus’ financial regulator.

DX.Exchange currently has offices in Estonia and Israel, and plans to expand to Hong Kong and Tokyo. The incorporation of the New York Stock Exchange is also being planned.

The exchange’s performance will be interesting to watch, as many exchanges are vying for investor attention.


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Author: Abhimanyu Krishnan
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TransferWise Co-Founder: ‘If Every Bank in the World Was Connected to the Ripple Network, It Would Be Amazing’

On Monday (19 November 2018), Taavet Hinrikus, the co-founder and chairman of UK-based cross-border money transfer company TransferWise, explained why his company is not yet using blockchain technology.

Hinrikus, who, until a year ago, was the former CEO of TransferWise, presented his thoughts on the potential application of blockchain technology for cross-border payments while giving an interview on the latest episode of Fortune’s online show “Balancing the Ledger”.

TransferWise was founded in the UK in 2011 by two Estonians friends who were working in London but needed to send money between UK and Estonia. And since they found the existing solutions to the cross-border payment problem too slow and/or expensive, they decided to quit their jobs and set up their own business:

“They’re both from Estonia. Taavet was the first employee at Skype, so he got paid in euros. But he lived in London, and needed pounds to pay the bills. Kristo worked for Deloitte and lived in London. He got paid in pounds, but had a mortgage back in Estonia. He needed to pay that in euros. Every month they moved their money the old way – which wasted their time and money. So they invented a beautifully simple workaround that became a billion-dollar business.”

“Each month, they looked up the actual exchange rate on Reuters. Taavet put his euros into Kristo’s Estonian bank account, and Kristo topped up Taavet’s UK bank account using his pounds. Both got the currency they needed almost instantly, and neither paid an extra cent on bad exchange rates or unreasonable charges. There was no waiting, no stress, and no extra costs. ‘There must be others just like us…’ they thought. The rest is TransferWise.”

Today, TransferWise, which counts Richard Branson and Peter Thiel amongst its investors, has over four million customers who “move more than $4 billion dollars every month, and “11 offices, with over 1,300 employees, across 4 continents.”

In yesterday’s interview on “Balancing the Ledger”, Hinrikus explained that right from the start, he and his fellow co-founder realized that they needed to build their own infrastructure:

“So, in every country, we try to connect to the payment network… And if we are lucky, we can do it in real-time in many countries [that] we are in… You can send money from Australia to UK… it’ll be there in 15 seconds… If you are a customer of a bank, that seems like the future has arrived.”

He then explained why the SWIFT network, which is used by the vast majority of banks in the world for cross-border payments, is so slow:

“Banks use the SWIFT network, which is great [since] the money eventually gets there, but many people touch the money in between, and everyone takes a cut, everyone keeps the money for a day. Using TransferWise, because we plug in directly in every country, we can do it really quickly, and the cost is typically 10 times less than using a bank.”

Hinrikus was then asked if his company had evaluated the use of blockchain technology and/or cryptocurrencies. He replied:

“Yes, I mean, obviously, we’ve heard this dream many times from different people. However, if you start digging into it, you realize it may look great on paper, but in reality to make use of is really hard… So, we’ve looked at different blockchain technologies, but yet we haven’t seen anything that enables us to do what we do in a way that is cheaper or faster.”

He was also specifically asked if he had looked at solution from Ripple and Stellar. He answered:

“Today… there’s not widespread adoption for any of these. If every bank in the world was connected to the Ripple network, it would be amazing. Yet, how many banks today are using Ripple in production is a very short list… In that sense, we’re big supports of Ripple or anything else… We know the Ripple team. We know the other teams. And if any of these gets enough adoption [such that] it actually materially helps us to do things cheaper and faster, we’d love to, but so far, we haven’t found one.”


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Author: Siamak Masnavi
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Estonia’s Government Has Issued Over 900 Crypto-related Licenses in Less Than One Year

Estonia’s regulators have granted over 500 licenses to crypto firms who’ve launched digital asset exchanges in the Baltic nation.
The nation’s authorities have also authorized more than 400 crypto wallet service providers.

Estonia, one of the world’s most “digitally advanced” societies, has reportedly issued over 900 licenses to cryptocurrency and blockchain-related firms in the past year.

500 Crypto Exchange Licenses, 400 Wallet Service Licenses Issued
Government officials in the Baltic nation have adopted a progressive approach to regulating cryptoassets, however, local companies have complained that Estonia’s financial institutions are still reluctant to provide standard banking services to crypto-related businesses. Notably, Estonia was among the first countries in Europe to develop regulations and legalize crypto-related transactions.

At present, there are about 500 licenses Estonia’s authorities have issued to firms operating cryptocurrency exchanges. Additionally, the country’s financial regulators have authorized over 400 crypto wallet services to offer their products to Estonian residents.

Nikolay Demchuk, an associate at local law firm Njord, pointed out that the nation’s Register of Economic Activities suggests that obtaining regulatory approval for providing cryptocurrency-related services in Estonia is an easy-to-follow and simple process.

Two Weeks To Be Licensed
Moreover, the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the main organization responsible for issuing financial services-related licenses, requires up to 30 days to review applications for businesses. In most cases, however, the FIU takes only about two weeks to grant approval to crypto firms looking to establish their headquarters in Estonia.

While crypto-related licenses are issued fairly quickly, the nation’s regulators do require that businesses officially begin conducting operations within a few months after being approved for offering such services. Failure to start business activity may result in the license being revoked.

The requirements outlined by Estonia’s authorities include complying with the standard know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) checks.

Companies Licensed In Estonia Are Legally Operating In The EU
Companies licensed by Estonia’s government have actually been given regulatory approval to operate in the wider European Union jurisdiction – as Estonia is currently a member of the EU.

As mentioned, cryptocurrency-related firms have found it challenging to open bank accounts in Estonia, despite the country’s relatively progressive laws. Commenting on the issue, Demchuk said:

“Opening a bank account is the biggest problem facing crypto companies. Estonian banks are not yet ready to serve clients operating with cryptocurrency.” Nikolay Demchuk

Potential Risks Associated With Cryptocurrency-Related Businesses
Presumably, Estonian financial institutions may be concerned about the potential risks associated with crypto and blockchain-related businesses.

As CryptoGlobe reported, UK’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), recently warned that GMT Crypto (http://www.gmt-crypto.com) has presented fake FCA-authorization information on its website.

According to the FCA, GMT Crypto is misleading investors by listing (and associating itself with) the official company address and reference number of established UK-based financial firm, GMT Communications Partners LLP.

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Author: Omar Faridi
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