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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Major Banks Sign Up for New EU Commission Blockchain App Association

The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, is launching a new blockchain association next year and major banks are already on board.

Spanish banking giant BBVA announced Tuesday that it and four other banks have joined the EC’s planned International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (IATBA), which could be a legal entity as early as first quarter of 2019. While the remaining banks were not named in official announcements, some sources say Santander is also one of the group.

The initiative was announced at a recent EU blockchain roundtable event called “Bringing industries together for Europe to lead in blockchain technologies,” held on Nov. 20 in Brussels, Belgium.

The new association will have representatives from both public and private sectors with an aim to “garner support from private blockchain and [distributed ledger technology] experts to contribute to outline the EU’s strategy regarding these technologies,” the BBVA said.

The association is aimed to develop guidelines and protocols for the blockchain industry, and promote the EU’s blockchain standards internationally. It will further provide information for the implementation of Europe’s blockchain strategy.

Carlos Kuchkovsky, BBVA’s head of research & development for new digital business, said that the association could have an important role to play in terms of “establishing blockchain best practice and standards and at avoiding fragmentation on a European level.”

Kuchkovsky also believes that the EC initiative will help provide more clarity to the “regulatory uncertainty” that currently surrounds the use of blockchain tech.

He added:

“Blockchain is not only a technology, but it engenders new business models creating a tokenized economy and paving the way to a decentralized economy in the future.”

As part of its moves to adopt and develop blockchain across the economic bloc, the EC in April formed the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) along with 27 member countries to support the delivery of cross-border digital public services.


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Author: Yogita Khatri
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Spain is Preparing for Crypto Fiesta

Could Europe’s next big crypto adopter be Spain? And might the country’s growing escalation of interest one day eclipse the region’s biggest blockchain powers? Evidence suggests that a wave of crypto fever has quietly washed over Spain in 2018 – leaving crypto pioneers very optimistic about what the future holds.

Why the sudden rush of positivity? Well, for a start, some 10% of the surveyed Spaniards claimed their own cryptocurrency holdings, the fourth highest number in the European economic bloc, according to an international survey by ING, a Dutch financial giant, carried our between 26 March and 6 April 2018. That figure is nothing to sneeze at: France and Britain lag far behind with ownership rates of only 6%. Also, 32% of the surveyed Spaniards said that they “expect to own cryptocurrency in the future,” while almost 40% added that cryptocurrencies represent the future of online expenses and investment. A minority, yes, but not an insignificant one.

In fact, the Spanish government’s recent decision to begin taxing crypto earnings may well be proof that crypto trading is as alive and well in Spain as it is in other early crypto-adopting nations like Japan.
Spain’s central bank has also talked of creating its own digital currency. The bank recently issued a report stating that “digital currencies and blockchain technology could benefit Spanish monetary policy and financial infrastructure.”
Media outlet Infobae stated that the bank was essentially proposing creating a Spanish answer to Venezuela’s Petro – a state-owned cryptocurrency.

Crypto pay is also on the ascendancy in Spain.
Jordi Calabia is a cryptocurrency investor in Barcelona. He told Cryptonews.com:
“I remember going to a cryptocurrency-themed sushi bar a few years ago. It was by the seafront in the Costa Brava town where my parents live. It was fun, but quite gimmicky – and I think it has since closed down. This year, though, I have seen a lot more serious businesses in and around Barcelona start accepting Bitcoin and altcoins – from shops to restaurants that cater to tourists to the kind of places that only locals frequent.”
Per a report in CMD Sport earlier this year, Spain has now welcomed its first crypto-friendly gyms – CrossFit centers in Madrid and Granada, operated by a company named Singular Box, where customers can pay membership fees in Bitcoin and other tokens. The news outlet quotes Singular Box’s owner as saying, “Cryptocurrencies provide one less barrier for new athletes who want to come and train with us. More and more people are making use of this financial technology. [The reaction from members] has been very positive. The feedback has been good.”
Other gyms across the country have reportedly followed suit.

Meanwhile, a network of holistic health clinics with branches in Almería, Granada, Jaén, Málaga and Córdoba last month told Diario Bitcoin that it had begun accepting Bitcoin and Ethereum payment because it “believes cryptocurrencies are the future of commerce in all industries.”
And a house owner in Tarragona earlier this year sold his apartment for 40 BTC. Mister Piso, the real estate agent that conducted the deal, said that Bitcoin pay enabled “a much speedier and more effective transaction than traditional payment methods,” and actively advised the owner to request a crypto-only payment.
Eurocoinpay, a Spanish crypto pay platform based in León, last month announced it was in talks with some of the country’s biggest high street retailers, including El Corte Inglés and Zara, as well as overseas brands such as Decathlon and French hypermarket chain Carrefour.

El Economista states that the platform – Spain’s first of its kind – will potentially allow users to make in-store purchases with commission rates of 0.25%. One news site said the initiative would allow customers to “basically buy a dress in Zara paying in [cryptocurrencies], without having to go through the usual set of intermediary companies.”

Even though businesses are becoming increasingly crypto-friendly, if digital tokens are to go mainstream in Spain, private individuals will probably take them there.
A plethora of Spanish universities have begun offering cryptocurrency and blockchain-themed courses this year in response to growing demand – and have been inundated with applicants. These include the University of Navarra, the ESADE Business School and the Instituto de Empresa Business School in Madrid, some of the most prestigious business institutions in Europe. This year has also seen tertiary education establishments in Seville, Pozuelo, Cantabria, La Rioja, Pamplona and Barcelona begin offering blockchain and cryptocurrency training.

Calabia notes:
“There are communities of crypto and blockchain enthusiasts who meet up every week here in Barcelona. One I know of is thousands of members strong. People remember the time of the peseta, before the euro, when sudden currency fluctuations were common. Crypto offers Spaniards an alternative to government-controlled or Brussels-regulated currencies. A lot of people just don’t trust governments to make sound financial decisions. That’s why a lot of us are now keen to make investments in cryptocurrencies.”
Asked if she thought Spain’s rising crypto-enthusiasm represented a groundswell of interest, Cadiz-based IT expert Marta Castillo told Cryptonews.com, “Yes. Many ordinary people are starting to dabble. They talk about crypto a lot, and people are becoming much more knowledgeable about blockchain and token-related matters. I think 2019 will be a very interesting year in Spain for this sort of technology.”


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Author: Tim Alper
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Banco Santander Will Use Ripple (XRP) For Settling All Payments

Banco Santander, the multinational commercial bank and financial services company headquartered in Santander, Spain, will be using Ripple (XRP) to settle payments and improve customer experience through its OnePay FX platform.

XRP and Banco Santander

At this year’s Swell conference in San Francisco, Ripple announced the launch of its xRapid product. It’s a solution which is going to be used by payment providers, including Cuallix, Mercury FX, as well as the cooperative financial company called Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union.

Another notable highlight of the event was the speech of Ed Metzger – the Head of Innovation at one of Ripple’s well-known partners – Banco Santander.

Metzger said that the bank will happily use XRP in order to settle all of the payments with its OnePay FX payment platform. The solution is used to make quick international transfers on the same day.

According to Metzger, the addition of RippleNet into OnePay FX is likely to streamline the process of other banks beginning to use XRP-related products in countries like South Korea and Japan. He said:

Too many companies have a peanut butter problem. They’ve spread themselves very thin, working on lots of different initiatives. By contrast, Ripple has gone deep in understanding.

XRP Moving Forward

Apart from Banco Santander and the three companies mentioned above which have already begun using XRP to settle payments, the company managed to accomplish a serious win in late September. As Live Bitcoin News reported, PNC Bank became the very first major U.S. banking institution which is going to join RippleNet.

Speaking on the matter was Ripple’s Senior VP, Marcus Treacher, who noted:

For far too long, the technology underlying cross-border payments has been opaque, slow and costly. […] Quite a few payment providers have joined RippleNet recently, so it’s great to see one of the major U.S. banks come on board as well.

In another sign of Ripple’s growing popularity, almost 10,000 people signed a petition to make XRP the official cryptocurrency of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

What do you think of Ripple’s usage? Will more organizations start taking advantage? Let us know in the comments below!


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Author: JOSHUA MORRIS
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