Indian Crypto Companies Are Now Helping Thailand’s Banks Instead

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Indian tech multinational, Wipro, has developed a blockchain-based solution for banks in Thailand to settle dues. This comes as Indian government and banking authorities look to enact a blanket ban on all non-state-issued cryptocurrencies back home.

Thai Banking System Embraces Blockchain Technology

The settlement solution is a part of the first phase of Project Inthanon, which launched in August 2018.  The initiative, led by Bank of Thailand, aims to ultimately implement a national Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Phase one focused on rolling out the interbank payments infrastructure.

Wipro, a member of the R3 consortium, partnered on the project with Bank of Thailand and 8 commercial Thai banks. According to a May 7 statement from Wipro:

the solution will enable de-centralised interbank real-time gross settlement (RTGS) using wholesale Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) to prove that the technology can perform key functionalities of payment and enhance efficiency.

Indian Authorities Creating a Hostile Environment

In contrast to the blockchain-centric initiatives taken by Thai banking authorities, policy in Wipro’s native India remains in total disarray.

After initially toying with its own CBDC, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) got spooked and started wielding the ban hammer with gay abandon. The Indian government spent much of 2018 fighting their corner against the RBI, with the Supreme Court acting as mediators.

India's Supreme Court to Issue Final Ruling on RBI Cryptocurrency Ban in September

However, earlier this year, Indian commercial banks threatened to (and allegedly did) close the accounts of personal banking customers who had any dealings in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

Now it seems that the government is falling into line with the RBI, allegedly due to fears that cryptocurrencies could destabilize the Indian rupee.

Not two weeks ago, Bitcoinist reported that a new FinTech regulatory sandbox would exclude cryptocurrency firms. This amid reports that the government is preparing to enforce a blanket-ban on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the country.

Will Indian blockchain firms move to other jurisdictions? Share your thoughts below!

Images via Shutterstock

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Nasdaq Unveils Vetting Process for Bitcoin Exchanges

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DX Exchange, the NASDAQ-Powered Cryptocurrency Exchange Platform to Launch in June 2018

Nasdaq has unveiled its comprehensive onboarding process for Bitcoin exchanges looking to use its proprietary surveillance tools as part of efforts to combat wash trading and other forms of market manipulation. The stock exchange operator says that it has already on-boarded seven platforms.

Rigorous Vetting Needed for Bitcoin Exchanges

Nasdaq has a team of 20 people conducting due-diligence checks on Bitcoin exchanges that want to start using the company’s trading surveillance technology, reports Forbes.

This team tries to examine if each applicant has the technical capacity to employ the tools as well as a commitment to best practices.

The process covers the examination of three main areas; business model, KYC/AML protocols, and exchange governance/controls, explains, Tony Sio, Exchange and Regulator Surveillance chief. He adds:

Historically, we don’t do such a large vetting process for our clients because they are much more well-known. But as we started working with less well-known names, startups, then we realized we needed to do this check process.

Combating Bitcoin Wash Trading

SBI Virtual Currency and Gemini, along with five other unnamed platforms have already scaled through the vetting process.

Back in July 2018, Bitcoinist reported that Nasdaq was already working SBI, Gemini and three other unnamed exchanges, meaning the stock exchange giant has added two new client platforms.

In November 2018, the company declared that it could lead the fight to combat market manipulation through the use of its trading surveillance technology.

Market manipulation is indeed a concern and is often cited as one of the biggest reasons the Bitcoin ETF has not yet been approved. A 2018 report by the Blockchain Transparency Institute (BTI) alleged that more than 70 percent of the top 100 exchanges listed on CoinMarketCap were engaging in wash trading.

Nasdaq’s Crypto and Blockchain Technology Aspirations

Nasdaq’s crypto aspirations also extend beyond policing the trading space. According to reports confirmed by VanEck at the back-end of 2018, Nasdaq plans to launch Bitcoin futures trading before the end of Q1 2019.

The company is also delving into the spot trading arena, joining Fidelity Investments to raise $27.5 million for a new Bitcoin exchange back in December 2018. Adena Friedman, the Nasdaq CEO, stated several times that the company would consider creating its crypto exchange platform once more clear-cut regulations emerged.

While the regulatory landscape continues to evolve, Nasdaq seems intent to capture the cryptocurrency trading surveillance market. Elaborating on the company’s approach, Sio said:

The objective that we’re trying to work with crypto is we see this as a growing asset class. So we’re working to help provide our technology, it could be around matching, it could be around surveillance, to help our customers as they grow their marketplaces.

On the blockchain front, the company participated in funding rounds for startups like Symbiont and Linq.

Will Nasdaq’s efforts yield significant results in a trading arena as fragmented as cryptocurrency currently is? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Nasdaq, Shutterstock

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McAfee Labs finds a new scam

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McAfee Labs, Internet provider and research laboratory, found a new malware programme which secretly uses device’s power to mine Monero (XMR). Originated from Russia, the so-called “WebCobra” virus is uploaded by one in two clients. It uses the hardware power of the infected device for mining. WebCobra acts as a classic cryptojacker but hardly leaves […]
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XRP is now available on Coinbase Custody

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Google ex-CEO: Ethereum has a huge potential

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Billionaire Eric Schmidt, who previously took the position of the chairman at Google, has recently claimed that Ethereum (ETH) has a really nice potential. “The given product can be fairly considered to be not only a financial asset, but also a multifunctional blockchain platform,” said he. Schmidt believes Ethereum blockchain has those technical capacities which […]
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Mining needs far more energy

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