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China’s Leading Blockchain Infrastructure Provider Adds Polkadot

China’s Leading Blockchain Infrastructure Provider Adds Polkadot

Blockchain Service Network (BSN), a China-based blockchain infrastructure provider, backed by the Chinese Government announced that it has integrated cross-chain communication blockchain protocol Polkadot, Oasis and a Chinese focused public chain initiative Bityuan into its network.

BSN expanded its blockchain network portfolio with recent additions. Earlier this year, the network onboarded Ethereum, Tezos, Neo, EOSIO, and IrisNet. BSN plans to provide a centralized blockchain framework to bring leading networks under a single roof.

Blockchain Service Network is China’s most ambitious blockchain project as the country plans to lead the digital transformation of the global economy. BSN was originally launched in 2019, but the international version of the network was launched in July this year to allow blockchain developers to build and operate decentralized applications.

The new integration will help Polkadot developers to connect to the public chain of BSN. The cross-chain protocol announced to join BSN’s Open Permissioned Blockchain Initiative as the Chinese regulators heavily scrutinize decentralized public chains.

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Oasis and Bityuan

BSN announced that in addition to Polkadot, two other companies (Oasis and Bityuan) are joining the network. Oasis network helps developers build private and scalable decentralized finance applications, while Bityuan is a blockchain solutions provider to Chinese companies. Talking about Oasis Network, Jernej Kos, Director at the Oasis Foundation, said: “The Oasis Network’s privacy features can also create a new type of digital asset called Tokenized Data that allows users to take control of their data and earn rewards for staking it.”

Commenting on the development, Yifan He, Executive Director of BSN Development Association, said: “I am seeing commercial use cases built on the Bityuan framework are surging in China recently. I believe with this integration BSN will get developers around the world to be excited about building dapps that are enterprise-based and commercial oriented.”

Finance Magnates earlier reported about the adoption of Digital Asset Modeling Language (DAML) by BSN.


Australia Plans to Test Paperless Trade with Singapore Using Blockchain

Australia Plans to Test Paperless Trade with Singapore Using Blockchain

The Australian Border Force (ABF) announced today that the agency is working on cross-border trade solutions with Singapore to make the entire process simple and paperless through the integration of blockchain technology.

In an official press release, the ABF stated that the planned solutions are in line with the bilateral Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement. A blockchain trial was launched earlier this week between the authorities of Australia and Singapore to make the trade documentation completely digital.

The agency also notified that the blockchain-based digital verification system has been developed by technology experts from Australia and Singapore at the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) for inter-government document exchange. ABF expressed a willingness to collaborate with other international agencies to expand the paperless trade program.

Commenting on the launch, Michael Outram, Commissioner at ABF, said: “The ABF welcomes the opportunity to collaborate further with Singapore to improve cross-border trade between our countries. In addition to our efforts internationally, this initiative will incorporate paperless trading and secure the digital exchange of trade information as part of the future architecture and design of an Australian Trade Single Window.”

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Digital Trade

The Australian Government recently announced the ‘Simplified Trade Agenda’ to bring reforms in trade compliance structure. The recent trial supports the agenda as it will make compliance processes digital without the involvement of routine paperwork. The trial aims to test digital verification platforms developed by the authorities from Australia and Singapore. “Businesses and regulators will give feedback on their experience verifying Certificates of Origin with the two systems, with the aim of reducing administration costs and increasing trade efficiency.

“The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australian Industry Group, as well as financial institutions in Singapore, including ANZ, will take part in the trial,” ABF added.

Finance Magnates earlier reported about RBA’s plan to explore the development and use of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) based on blockchain technology.


The Queen Likes Blockchain – And I’m Convinced It’s No Empty Gesture

The Queen Likes Blockchain – And I’m Convinced It’s No Empty Gesture

  • Blockchain technology isn’t exactly the first thing you’d associate with the 94-year-old monarch, Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom.
  • However, a blockchain journal from the British Blockchain Association has caught the Queen’s eye.
  • Validation and support from such a prominent figure will certainly not harm the fledgling industry.

When I think of publications and projects that could potentially catch the eye of the Queen, blockchain isn’t something that comes to mind.

Yet, this is exactly what happened.

The British Blockchain Association decided to send Her Majesty an edition of the Journal of the British Blockchain Association. And it seems the gesture caught the Queen’s eye.

The Queen’s interest in blockchain is quite the shock for many, given her advancing years. | Source: Twitter

The Queen receives a lot of documents and publications – this one catching her eye is significant

We all know that the Queen is a busy person. Reports that her own children and grandchildren have to book an appointment to speak to her aren’t too far off the mark!

We also know that as Head of State and the reigning Queen of the United Kingdom, a lot of letters, publications, and documents are sent her way.

The chances that all of them make it onto her desk and into her hands are slim. To receive a response is something rather special.

The journal that the Queen received, titled “the world’s first peer-reviewed, scientific blockchain journal,” appears to have interested the monarch.

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Doctor Naqvi of the British Blockchain Association received a letter from Queen Elizabeth

Containing information on gender change and blockchain and GDPR, the journal also provided insight into government-led blockchain projects.

The open-access blockchain publication was made available to the Queen in both online and print format.

In response, Doctor Naseem Naqvi, chair of the organization, received a nice letter that read as follows:

Dear Doctor Naqvi, I have been asked to thank you for sending a copy of the sixth edition of the Journal of the British Blockchain Association. Her Majesty was interested to learn that the publication is the first open-access blockchain research journal available both in print and online. The Queen much appreciated your thoughtful gesture. In return, she has asked me to send her warm wishes to all concerned.

Cryptocurrency obviously provides more questions than answers in some regards! | Source: Twitter

Blockchain is very much the future, and validation from the Queen is a nice touch

While most know of blockchain as the technology that powers cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, it really is so much more.

We’ve seen governments implement the technology for more transparent elections and as a way to record data without it falling into the sole control of a central authority.

The industry is still in its early stages. But the future looks bright. And validation and words of encouragement from the Queen will undoubtedly do the cause no harm.


Chainalysis hits $1BN valuation after $100M funding boost

Chainalysis hits $1BN valuation after $100M funding boost

Blockchain analytics and forensics firm is now a $1 billion blockchain company after confirming a $100 million funding

In its third round of funding since its launch in 2014, Chainalysis raised $100 million in investments. Thanks to this funding, the forensics firm  has now added a $1 billion valuation. The latest series C round was spearheaded by Lee Fixel’s investment firm Addition.

Fixel has previously worked with Tiger Global Management, an investment firm he joined back in 2006.  During his 13-year stint with the New York firm, he rose through the ranks to become partner and head of the private equity business. He resigned from the firm in 2019 and started his venture capital firm, Addition early this year.

Other investors that were involved in the round include Accel, Benchmark and Ribbit. Chainalysis’ co-founder and chief executive Michael Gronager expressed enthusiasm following the completion of the round.

Gronager asserted that the funds will be redirected to help with the company’s scaling up plans. He added that the investment would benefit its investors, more so Addition, which contributed most. This round of funding could drive Chainalysis to unicorn status. The unicorn status has been a collector’s item in the crypto space with only a handful of crypto companies having realised valuation exceeding $1 billion. No crypto firm in the crypto tracing niche has achieved this status before.

Chainalsyis is well-positioned to set this record as it has contracts with many private and government agencies looking to see what happens in the blockchain.

“Government agencies and the private sector need the right data, tools, and insights to responsibly oversee and participate in the cryptocurrency economy. We have established a network of government agencies in over 30 countries and more than 250 of the most important businesses around the world. Our partners, at Addition, understand the power of our platform and are a natural partner for this next phase of growth,” Gronager said.

Chainalysis has grown to become a popular analytics firm in the crypto sector owing to its efficiency in monitoring blockchain transactions and delivering crucial insight in the crypto space. The firm recently won a $625,000 IRS contract to develop a tool that will help the IRS crack Monero transactions.


Is Bitcoin a Safe-Haven Asset? The Narrative Shifts after 8 Months of COVID

Is Bitcoin a Safe-Haven Asset? The Narrative Shifts after 8 Months of COVID

As COVID-19 has gripped global society for the better part of a year, the future of the global economy is increasingly uncertain. As such, investors aroun the globe have increasingly sought new methods of protecting the value of their funds.

A number of analysts believe that this is a major contributing factor to the rise in the price of Bitcoin over the past several months. After struggling for months to break through the $10,000 mark, BTC has rallied through a stunning bull run: in just a few months’ time, BTC has risen from around $10,000 to over $18,000 (and climbing.)

However, while economic uncertainty does appear to have driven interest in Bitcoin as an alternative asset, Bitcoin’s status as a true ‘safe-haven’ or ‘reserve’ asset is debatable at best.

After all, the market cap of Bitcoin is just $3.38 billion, and, as research head Garrick Hileman told Finance Magnates earlier this week, “Bitcoin will likely need to reliably hold a value in excess of $50k per coin, equating to a total market value in excess of $1 trillion” in order to truly be considered as a global reserve asset.

Alex Mashinsky, Founder and CEO of Celsius.

Still, while there may be a long way to go, the value of Bitcoin is continually rising; and, while progress is slow, BTC appears to be gaining ground as a possible reserve asset, perhaps, in the words of Celsius’s Alex Mashinsky, as a sort of “doomsday insurance policy.”

At Its Core, “Bitcoin Is a Good Hedge against Inflation.”

Indeed, “in a Covid world, there is no such thing as a safe haven,” said Bill Noble, the Chief Technical Analyst at Token Metrics, in an email to Finance Magnates.

However, that being said, “Bitcoin is a good hedge against inflation,” and as such, can be seen as a store of value.

Bill Noble,
Chief Technical Analyst at Token Metrics.

“If a gallon of milk goes up 40 percent and your pay goes up 20 percent, how do you afford the milk?” Noble said. “Consumers need a currency that can rise to keep up with inflation.”

In other words, “Bitcoin helps protect the holders’ purchasing power,” Noble commented, explaining that he believes that “the term ‘store of value’ doesn’t go far enough to explain Bitcoin’s value proposition fully.”

Grayscale: “among People Who Recently Invested in Bitcoin, Almost Two-Thirds Said the Pandemic Impacted Their Decision to Invest in Bitcoin.”

Indeed, Grayscale Managing Director, Michael Sonnenshein told Finance Magnates that “for a lot of people, the instability created by COVID-19 and the resulting economic fallout has been a key factor” in the decision whether or not to invest in Bitcoin.

Michael Sonnenshein, Managing Director,  Grayscale

“We recently surveyed US investors. Among people who recently invested in Bitcoin, almost two-thirds said the pandemic impacted their decision to invest in Bitcoin,” Sonnenshein explained. However, “even when you factor in people who don’t invest in Bitcoin, about 40% of US investors said the pandemic made Bitcoin more appealing.”

Sonnenshein said that this growth in appeal has been true for both institutional and retail investors: “recently, you’re seeing companies like Square purchase millions in Bitcoin to hold as a reserve asset,” he said.

“MicroStrategy was another company in the news for doing this. Paul Tudor Jones recently announced he sees huge value in Bitcoin. And not to toot our own horn too much, but just last quarter we raised more than a billion dollars from the institutional investor class in our own crypto funds.”

Indeed, “more and more institutions are beginning to understand the role of investing in Bitcoin over the long term. There are many strategies you can use to hedge your risk exposure, such as dollar-cost averaging where you buy a little Bitcoin at regular intervals,” he said.

“People and institutions are making investment decisions in a world where everything is increasingly digital. So there seems to be increasing interest in the idea of investing in something that is verifiably scarce, all-digital, with no central government intervention. I believe that’s why Bitcoin is maybe getting a second or third look today.”

“While Calling Bitcoin a ‘Safe-Haven’ Is Irresponsible, I Do Think Bitcoin Has Some Merit and More Potential as a Store-of-Value Asset.”

But, what does Bitcoin’s rise as a possible ‘reserve’ asset mean for the future of the financial world?

David Smooke, Founder and Chief Executive at Hacker Noon, also told Finance Magnates that the shift in narrative around Bitcoin has major implications for the future of the digital financial world.

David Smooke, Founder and CEO at Hacker Noon.
David Smooke, Founder and Chief Executive at Hacker Noon.

“While calling Bitcoin a ‘safe-haven’ is irresponsible, I do think Bitcoin has some merit and more potential as a store-of-value asset,” he said. “We are very early in the digital cash revolution. Just as gold is the mascot for the Fed’s financial system, Bitcoin is the mascot for the rise of digital cash.”

While Bitcoin may be a symbol of ‘digital cash’, Smooke explained that Bitcoin itself likely will never play the role of a transactional instrument that can be used for everyday purchases: “omnipresent digital cash could be backed by Bitcoin, but Bitcoin itself is not efficient enough to handle the volume of micro-transactions that a mass adoption digital cash system would require,” he said.

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Bitcoin: “No Barrier to Competitive Entry”?

However, David Dorr, Co-founder of Coro Global Inc., believes that Bitcoin cannot really be described as “digital gold,” either:” Bitcoin is not digital gold no matter how much people want to believe that it is,” he said.

“In addition to its inability to have speeds competent enough to function as a medium of exchange, it has no barrier to competitive entry,” he explained.

In other words, “gold is a physical element on the periodic table. There are only a handful of precious metals on the periodic table and unless a meteorite hits Earth and introduces a new precious metal to the periodic table there is a real physical limit to competing with those precious metals,” he said.

David Dorr, Co-founder of Coro Global Inc.

“Bitcoin, while it might be limited in the number of tokens, has no barrier to competition. This is why there are now over 100,000 cryptocurrencies.”

Bitcoin “Has Its Unique Place in the Basket of SoV Assets and Nothing Can Replace It.”

However, Ashu Swami, Chief Technical Officer at Apifiny, noted to Finance Magnates that while “there is no perfect safe-haven or store-of-value (SoV) asset,” Bitcoin “has its unique place in the basket of SoV assets and nothing can replace it.

“This basket has traditionally contained assets like bonds, munies, income stocks, index futures, gold, US treasuries and cash,” Swami said.

He explained that indeed, whether or not Bitcoin can be considered as a store-of-value asset largely depends on the context of the investor and the moment: “the suitability depends on the investor profile, investment horizon and macro conditions.

Ashu Swami, Chief Technical Officer at Apifiny.

“For example, cash is the perfect safe-haven when investors are waiting for the market to find a direction, but it is a poor choice in the long term because of inflation,” Swami siad. “Central Banks have a great appetite for US treasuries to settle trade imbalances, but to hedge that remote possibility of a dollar meltdown, they hold a healthy amount of gold and other currencies as well.

“Bitcoin has emerged as the safe-haven of the last resort. Just like gold, bitcoin derives its value from the scarcity of supply,” Swami said. “As the US national debt piles and the government shows no abatement in printing money, the demand for a dollar hedge and Bitcoin increases.”

Token Metrics’ Bill Noble also commented that “[…] the gold bugs can cry all they like, but Bitcoin is the new digital gold,” he added, (editor’s note: rather cheekily.) “If institutional investors don’t have Bitcoin on their books by the end of the year, they will become unemployed…and unemployable.”

Mr. Noble sees bright things in Bitcoin’s future: “corporations are going to start paying people in Bitcoin as a form of incentive compensation,” he said. “Bitcoin will likely be used to purchase big ticket items. At the retail level, firms like Coinbase will probably attach a debit card to crypto investment accounts. This type of program will give consumers more dollar purchasing power as the crypto in their account rises.”

Bitcoin as a “Store-of-Value”: the Power of Narrative

Anton Altement, Chief Executive of Osom.Finance, also pointed out that, almost regardless of its tangible qualities, whether or not Bitcoin is considered as a ‘store-of-value’ at any given moment has a great deal to do with public perception and narrative.

Indeed, ‘store-of-value’ is ‘not an intrinsic quality’ of any of the things that society collectively agrees are valuable, Altement said.

“Why are diamonds or gold (or wine or art or watches) used to store value?” he asked. “Because we collectively agree that they have value. It’s more of a social compact than something that is linked to the intrinsic nature of an asset.”

Anton Altement, Chief Executive of Osom.Finance.

For example, “seashells used to be monetary instruments in some parts of the world, but they no longer are,” he said. However, “intrinsically, they haven’t changed,” he pointed out; rather, the collective agreement on what they represent has changed.

“There seems to be a growing recognition that Bitcoin is a safe protocol, producing a rare commodity. And we appear to collegially recognize that there is value in that safety and rarity, especially in an age where it appears that fiat money is infinitely printable,” Altement continued.

“It is undeniable that some see Bitcoin as a store of value (look at MicroStrategy, they didn’t suddenly decide to start gambling with their treasury), and that the proportion of the world with that point of view is growing.”

This will likely continue with the growing prevalence of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs): “the discussions around CBDC is only heightening the awareness around ‘code as value’ and even if they have little in common with BTC, it familiarizes people with the idea of code as value,” he said.

What are your thoughts on Bitcoin as a safe-haven or reserve asset? Let us know in the comments below.