Shipping and logistics behemoth FedEx is firmly turning to decentralized technology by implementing blockchain solutions into its core processes.
Global delivery giant FedEx is working with the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) – a working group of leading freight, shipping and logistics companies coming together to develop and implement blockchain technology among everyday operations. First reported by industry publication FreightWaves, FedEx is specifically delving into creating uniform logistics standards for blockchain applications across the industry.
BiTA, which sees members such as UPS and SAP, is the blockchain consortium of choice for the trillion-dollar shipping and logistics industry.
Among BiTA’s founding members, FedEx is already undertaking several blockchain pilots with a focus on dispute resolution, according to FedEx Freight vice president for strategic planning Dale Chrystie. Blockchain tech could prove a key resource to enhance customer experience by providing secure and transparent data, he added.
Speaking to the publication, the executive went on to state:
An analyst at the investment firm behind the Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTC: GBTC) predicted that the Zcash price could reach $60,000 by 2025 if investors begin to use it in place of traditional offshore banking services.
Last week, Grayscale Investments published the investment thesis for the Zcash Trust, the latest fund in its lineup of cryptocurrency-based investment products that includes the wildly-popular Bitcoin Investment Trust and the Ethereum Classic Trust.
In the 20-page thesis, Grayscale analyst Matthew Beck writes that that Grayscale believes Zcash could prove to be the “first globally accessible ‘offshore’ investment opportunity” — the proverbial Swiss bank account in one’s pocket.
Advertisements, infographics, articles and more – all included in Hong Kong’s latest effort to educate the public on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies.
According to a recent press release, Hong Kong’s Financial Services and Treasury Bureau (FSTB), and Investor Education Center (IEC) have launched a public campaign to both educate and warn investors about the “risks” associated with both initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies.
Included in the campaign are advertisements to be placed throughout Hong Kong’s public transit system, television and radio advertisements, and even government-sponsored educational videos to be posted on social media.
According to Under Secretary for the FSTB, Joseph Chan, the aim of the program is to provide a “correct and comprehensive understanding of ICOs and cryptocurrencies” so that the public has a better idea of what they’re investing in.
This wouldn’t be the first time that a country has pushed for a government-sponsored educational program on cryptocurrencies and ICOs. Just a few months ago, the Russian government announced a suggestion to include cryptocurrency in their financial literacy improvement strategy in order to educate the public on associated risks.
One of the main drivers behind the educational push is due to the dangerous volatility of the cryptocurrency markets that many traditional investors are not prepared for. As the media hype-cycle continues, more investors are becoming interested in joining these markets without doing their own due diligence beforehand.
“ICOs and ‘cryptocurrencies’ are high-risk products that are not suitable for everyone,” said Dr. Kelvin Wong, Chairman of the IEC. “Cryptocurrencies are highly speculative and are associated with various kinds of risks. Their prices may be susceptible to significant fluctuations due to speculative activities.”
Also included in the campaign will be articles and infographics on ICOs and cryptocurrencies provided by Hong Kong’s “Chin Family” website – the public financial education arm of the IEC. Information on the topic is already live on the website, and already covers a multiplicity of topics including scams and wallet security.
Hong Kong has generally been a bit more open toward cryptocurrencies unlike the hostilities faced in mainland China. One of the larger cryptocurrency exchanges, Gatecoin, operates in Hong Kong, and regulators have generally held a cautious but open approach. Their concern is mainly focused on protecting and informing investors rather than completely shutting the door on this emerging asset class.
The Korea Customs Service (KCS) has revealed an investigation into illicit Forex trading practices, and uncovered $600 million (637.5 billion won) worth cryptocurrencies that were exchanged illegally in South Korea.
The statement further disclosed four instances of illegal tradings. In the first case, money was transferred from Japan to an unknown country whereby 53.7 billion won were sent to another person/entity using cryptocurrencies. In the second case, funds worth 472.3 billion Korean won were exchanged between Australia and South Korea. KCS explained that transferring funds between countries with the sole purpose of avoiding bank and remittance fees is considered illegal.
In the third case, foreign currency was sent to an overseas organization (as cryptocurrencies) which were then converted and remitted to the recipient. In the fourth case, funds worth 164.7 billion won were received by a paper company, citing ‘purchase of software’ as a coverup. KCS mentioned that it will start investigating cryptocurrency agents and forex operators for money laundering and illegal trading charges. Other areas that will undergo critical inspection include smuggling of drugs using virtual currencies. The names of the suspects were not revealed in the press release.
The announcement came on the same day the finance minister, Kim Dong-yeon, said that cryptocurrency market and exchanges will not be banned in the country. Instead, South Korea will be focusing on regulating cryptocurrency exchanges. The country has been working on adopting cryptocurrencies, after the ministry of justice initially banned ICOs last year. The ministry also stated that it would be banning cryptocurrency trading earlier in January. However, this move was not supported by the Ministry of Finance, as reported in their official statement, “We do not share the same views as the Ministry of Justice on a potential cryptocurrency exchange ban.”
While the majority of the ministries continue to support cryptocurrency activities, the South Korean government is doing its best to prevent illegal trading proceedings.
Howard Schultz, who recently revealed an ambitious 30,000 square-foot Starbucks Roastery in Shanghai in partnership with Alibaba, expressed his enthusiasm towards the cryptocurrency market.
Cryptocurrency For Retailers
In the next few years, Schultz stated that he believes several legitimate cryptocurrencies will emerge, endorsed and adopted by retailers. He said:
I personally believe that there is going to be a one or a few legitimate trusted digital currencies off of the blockchain technology. And that legitimacy and trust in terms of its consumer application will have to be legitimized by a brand and a brick and mortar environment, where the consumer has trust and confidence in the company that is providing the transaction.
WeMakePrice, better known as Wemepu, one of South Korea’s largest e-commerce platforms, is integrating 12 cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin in collaboration with Bithumb, the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
First Major Retailer and E-Commerce Platform in South Korea
The financial technology chief of Singapore’s central bank does not foresee a scenario where bitcoin would trigger a global financial meltdown akin to the 2008 collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers.
In an interview with Channel News Asia, Sopnendu Mohanty – chief of financial technology at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the country’s central bank, opined bitcoin will not cause a global financial crisis in the event of a price collapse. The central bank official insisted global regulators are “getting serious about this whole cryptocurrency market”, suggesting authorities would step in with regulations when bitcoin markets continue to grow globally.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been very cautious in its statements on ICOs and cryptocurrency as they attempt to strike a balance between embracing a technological revolution and avoiding the stifling of innovation. They aren’t seeking to dismember the cryptocurrency space, but rather provide guidance on how to operate and comply with existing regulatory requirements.
However, companies have been caught between wishing to hold an ICO open to U.S. investors for a utility token – or one that provides functionality on a platform without the guarantee of trading or an investment return, and not drawing the ire of the government.
There have been plenty of ways in which companies have erred on the side of caution, most notably with the Simple Agreements for Future Tokens.
Nigeria’s central bank governor has become the latest to speak out against bitcoin, claiming that investing in it is a ‘gamble’ and that it may need to be regulated.
Bloomberg reports that speaking during an interview in Nigeria’s capital city Abuja, Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said:
Cryptocurrency or bitcoin is like a gamble, and there is a need for everybody to be very careful. We cannot as a central bank give support to situations where people risk savings to ‘gamble.’
The chairmen of two US regulatory agencies have written a joint statement expressing their concerns over the present state of the cryptocurrency markets.
Writing in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chief Jay Clayton and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) head J. Christopher Giancarlo expressed their disapproval over the manner in which many market participants in the distributed ledger technology (DLT) space flout regulations and attempt to circumvent rules governing investor protection.
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