Wednesday 8 July 2020 9:09 am

Cardano leapfrogs Bitcoin SV, Litecoin & Binance

City A.M's Crypto Insider

Following a successful Virtual Summit, Cardano is on a charge taking sixth place on the Market Cap league table and at the time of writing is valued at US$3.5bn (Source: CoinMarketCap). 

The summit itself had the most amazing UX/UI – simple to use and navigate – which opened my eyes to a new way of doing things. Rod Alexander and Kerry de Jong from IOHK, working with the First Events team, had to flip from a physical event in Kyoto, Japan to a COVID-19 friendly event in the space of two months.  10,671 registered with a top viewing audience at any one time of 5,560 who tuned in for the keynote from IOHK CEO Charles Hoskinson.  Jake Burnham of First Events said what a pleasure it was to work with the IOHK team again and actually how, compared to the last summit in Miami, it was just as rewarding albeit in a very different way!  After an extensive search, the platform provider chosen was MeetYoo who I’m told went above and beyond to deliver the event.

It was widely anticipated that there would be a series of announcements during this two day summit and it did not disappoint:

  • The launch of Atala PRISM, a decentralized identity system with the potential to give millions of ‘unbanked’ people self-sovereign identities and access to a blockchain marketplace of financial and social services – the technology is already in pilot with the Ethiopian government. 
  • Project Catalyst – Voltaire – a new model for governance: ‘Project Catalyst’ will give ada holders the power to vote on Cardano’s future development. Catalyst project will combine research into democracy models, groundbreaking industry first social experiments and community consent to realise the vision of a fully decentralized treasury system. This will signal the start of the Voltaire Era of Cardano. 
  • Shelley: The biggest upgrade to the Cardano blockchain, Shelley, has now been shipped making it 100 times more decentralized than the Bitcoin blockchain, and capable of scaling to replace current global-scale financial systems.
  • Project Atlas: The newly announced project will allow Cardano users to trade funds, cast a vote or manage their digital identity in one streamlined experience.
  • IOHK also announced it will launch a $20 million technology ecosystem fund – in partnership with Wave Financial Group – the first venture cFund to support the adoption of IOHK’s blockchain platforms, including Cardano. The fund will make investments globally with a typical investment size of USD $250,000-$500,000. (See Crypto AM: Industry Voices)
  • Last but not least was a big surprise with the announcement that a formal relationship was being established with Coinbase, whose UK CEO Zeeshan Feroz took part in a fireside chat with Josh Goodbody, Director of Growth for Binance and Rod Alexander of IOHK.  As of Q4 holders of ADA will be able to store their assets in Coinbase Custody’s institutional-grade, battle-tested cold storage, whilst also maintaining the ability to delegate their stake. Coinbase Custody is the first solution to be able to offer staking whilst keeping assets securely stored in cold wallets.

Price Watch

What started as a pretty flat week in the crypto market picked up in the end and, at the time of writing, Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at US$9,287.48  / GB£7,413.81 ; Ethereum (ETH) is at US$241.51 / GB£192.72; Ripple (XRP) is at US$0.2006 / GB£0.1603; Binance (BNB) is at US$16.92 / GB£13.55 and Cardano (ADA) is up 65% at US$0.1348 / GB£0.10.80.  Overall Market Cap is at US$272.52bn  / GB£217.10bn (data source: www.CryptoCompare.com

City AM’s Crypto Insider

Following up on last week’s edition, Munich prosecutors,as reported in City AM, have arrested the head of a Dubai-based subsidiary of Wirecard on suspicion of aggravated fraud.  Oliver Bellenhaus is the second senior Wirecard employee to be arrested after the former chief executive Markus Braun last month, who has since been released on bail.  The firm Bellenhaus ran, CardSystems Middle East, was the largest individual unit within Wirecard and purported to contribute a quarter of its revenue and approximately 40 percent of profits in recent years, according to the Financial Times.

Given that the Wirecard scandal affected a number of crypto card companies, it is good timing it seems for Binance, who have been telegraphing for some time that they want to break into the Crypto Card space, announced today and have accelerated this ambition through the acquisition of Swipe.io 

Josh Goodbody, Director of Growth for Binance, told me that, “this acquisition will enable Binance to work hand in hand with Swipe to further enable seamless crypto access for the masses”. Goodbody added, “We are excited to continue innovating together with Swipe to further a shared mission of developing additional bridges between traditional finance, commerce, and the crypto ecosystem.”

Since Bitcoin’s creation just over eleven years ago, crypto firms, at least the diligent ones, have had one ask for regulators: To let them play by the same rules and on the same playing field as their traditional counterparts and then let consumers, traders and investors decide how they want to manage their financial future.

So positive news this week as the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) took an important step in that direction by granting Crypto Facilities, a subsidiary of Kraken, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Europe by euro trading volumes, a Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) license.  With this license, Crypto Facilities becomes the first regulated crypto futures venue in Europe.

In my opinion this matters primarily for one reason. Crypto futures contracts (where counterparties agree to exchange an asset at a future date) are now available to European institutions who are mandated to trade on licensed platforms given that many of the pension funds, IRAs and brokerages where you might invest are likely to have such restrictions. Futures contracts are appealing because they allow sophisticated traders to hedge investments and reduce price risk.

According to Jesse Powell, Kraken’s CEO, getting the license was a long process but worth it.  He explained  “we undergo these licensing efforts because Kraken is about making crypto accessible for everyone. This particular license means that a sophisticated class of investors, limited by their own requirements to interface with a regulated venue such as an MTF, will now have access to crypto derivatives in Europe for the first time.”  I’m sure that we will hear more from Jesse in the weeks to come to see how things develop!

Many readers will have by now read about or articles by Fetch.ai in Crypto AM, so it gives me great pleasure to tell you that they have chosen CityAM.com to host their Artificial Intelligence ‘Media Hub’.  Fetch.ai is based in Cambridge, UK, and founded by researchers and computer scientists from Deepmind, and the University of Sheffield, and with a number of prestigious research partnerships, including the University of Cambridge, is developing the software to power a decentralised computer network that is being run by a distributed network of network maintainers and devices globally.  This open-source software stack allows any organisation to build or configure applications on top of a digital representation of the world in which “software agents”, autonomously search, negotiate and transact enabling complex systems with multiple stakeholders to be optimised.

The advances in Artificial Intelligence over the past decade have been driven by the revolution in “machine learning” – the ability of computers to improve in the delivery of a process or task, using algorithms to “learn” based on large datasets. This has driven huge improvements in how businesses can operate at scale, and at lower cost, as well as opening new areas of the economy. 

Over the next 12 weeks Fetch.ai will demonstrate use cases, real world implementations and expand on the need and opportunity that decentralised machine learning presents.  This series of articles will explore the potential of decentralised technology in providing AI services to improve industry processes, and simplify the lives of individuals. 

And Finally COVID News

As the UK Government’s COVID-19 response rolls on, another homegrown company with Ai at the core of its solution comes to the aid of the NHS.  Working for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, intelligent automation firm Rainbird has developed a COVID-19 risk assessment tool to help potentially vulnerable front-line workers limit their exposure to undue levels of risk from the virus. The solution provides staff with digital, one-to-one automated reports, and in doing so has the potential to markedly improve occupational health teams’ ability to effectively manage their workforce. Using the power of intelligent automation, the tool is capable of evaluating a range of complex and nuanced factors including age, health history, cultural/religious beliefs, disability and pregnancy – critically, it also takes into account the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups. Additionally, following NHS England mandating risk assessments be carried out on all front-line staff before 24th July, Rainbird is offering its tool free-of-charge before this date.

Binance Charity donated 27,000 KN95 masks worth over £50,000 to the NHS’ Pru Trust to aid the fight against COVID-19 in the U.K.  The Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH) is one of London’s largest and busiest teaching hospitals and is part of the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust employs more than 11,000 healthcare workers and delivers services to more than 326,000 people across the London boroughs of Bromley and Bexley in addition to Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. The Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust also provide services at the PRUH.

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