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Japanese Bank to power payments through IoT Devices, push for a cashless society

When it comes to Fintech innovation and regulation, Japan has shown full perseverance over the last decade. It has placed innovation at the core of its developmental objectives and carefully maneuvered through the various challenges the country has faced in terms of calamities. Owing to the convenient technological topography, Bitcoin was able to thrive fluently in Japan. Proponents of the cryptocurrency would surely remember about Mt.Gox debacle and the drama that ensued which affected Bitcoin development for some time. Recently Japan’s Mizuho bank announced the development of Fintech payments platform for IoT devices. Let’s delve into the details of the announcement and the impact:

IoT Payments Overview:

The Internet of things is the internetworking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”), buildings, and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data. The idea of IoT powering payments is not new and has been under experimentation by various Tech giants. Smart watches, mobile phones and other gadgets have been piloted as simple payment devices by many companies.

Mizuho Bank’s plan:

Mizuho bank is planning to develop a secure Fintech payment platform to be used by connected IoT devices such as smart devices, home devices, phones, cars and wearables. In order to develop the platform for IoT devices, Mizuho will partner with SORACOM Inc., a Japanese IoT platform provider. Cellular SIM cards and circuit cards that are commonly found on all smartphones and communication devices will be used by the bank. This enabled connectivity will be jointly developed by the bank and the connectivity provider, with SORACOM’s IoT platform used as the core technology.

What this would mean for Bitcoin and digital currencies:

A IoT connective payments platform would certainly improve the prospects of Bitcoin adoption. With the evolution of the platform, there would be heavy demand for fiat to cryptocurrency conversion apps and might even pay way for Bitcoin payments platform. Additionally Bitcoin itself has numerous applications in the IoT world owing to its micro-payments feature. This would lead to possibilities where Bitcoin usage oriented applications would power IoT. This might even lead to  the development of an IoT Payments platform Bitcoin ecosystem that will thrive on micro-payments and real time applications. How feasible this platform would be and contribute to Japan becoming a cashless society, only time will tell.

Why 2017 can turn out to be very positive for Bitcoin

Bitcoin has had a strong start to 2017 with the trend looking strong enough to break the all-time high set in 2013. 2016 has been a positive year for the cryptocurrency with the currency showing an increase of $460 during the year. Most investors have resorted to use this digital asset as a portfolio diversifier and it has proved out to be a winning gamble. Fundamentally this was a well thought out move and it payed off with good dividends. But the question lingering in the minds of many Bitcoin enthusiasts and investors is how these strategies and Bitcoin would fare in 2017.  Let’s look into few reasons why we believe Bitcoin would continue to weather the terrain to outperform assets:

China and the East step up the game:



China has always been a major price and volume driver for Bitcoin. The Yuan trading volumes observed a major uptick towards the year end owing to the Chinese Government’s announcement of imposing capital controls over Bitcoin. While this might happen sometime late this year, people are now actively moving funds out of the country at a very quick pace. This avalanche might last for a good amount of time into 2017.

With Japan abolishing sales tax on Bitcoin, South Korea encouraging Bitcoin and Blockchain accelerators and India’s demonization prompting for a cashless Indian society, the contributing prospects from the east only look stronger.

Eurozone’s loss would be Bitcoin’s gain:


The staggering effect of Brexit this year was evident when the European markets collapsed while Bitcoin soared mid-year to trigger a bull run. This quick transfer of funds into a digital unrelated asset has been the defining aspect of 2016’s Bitcoin Bull Run. In the face of Geo-Political crisis Bitcoin has replaced Gold as the safe hedge. With Eurozone still wobbly with impending debt and banking bail outs, cryptocurrencies seem to be a safer option for investing and hedging.

With Italian banking bail outs, Spain’s growing recession, ongoing crisis in Greece and post effects of Brexit, 2017 would see heavy activity in Bitcoin owing to the European continent.

USA’s growing adoption levels and the Trump factor:


The regulation of cryptocurrencies has been a hot topic in the US senate in 2016 and has seen some implementation in major states. With Trump’s policies aligned with major changes required to accelerate Fintech industry, adoption might reach higher levels in 2017. With thoughtful regulation and strong backing, mainstream adoption looks very viable in USA which would drive prices significantly in 2017.

Summing up, 2017 looks very positive for Bitcoin and Blockchain with the cryptocurrency all set to reach new levels of penetration.

Can Hillary’s policies pave the way for better Bitcoin eco system?

US democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has been very vocal about her policies throughout the presidential campaign. With less than a month remaining, cryptocurrency enthusiasts are weighing their pros and cons against each candidate and their policies. Both the candidates have proclaimed their support in accommodating fintech industry. When it came to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, Clinton has been critical and skeptical in her statements. Let’s look into how Hillary’s policies would affect Bitcoin:

Hillary’s fintech policies:

Even before she received the presidential nomination from the US Democratic Party, Hillary has had set agenda for fintech industries. She has proactively stated that if elected, she would push for reduced regulatory barriers for startups and entrepreneurs.

The Clinton campaign stated:

“We must position American innovators to lead the world in the next generation of technology revolutions – from autonomous vehicles to machine learning to public service blockchain applications – and we must defend universal access to the global, digital marketplace of ideas.”

The campaign also added that Hillary will challenge state and local governments to identify, review and legal and regulatory obligations. This would take away the immunity that protects legacy incumbents against new innovators.

Hillary against China and the East:


Hillary as the secretary of the state has historically intimidated China throughout her term. Be it her stance on International waters or trade agreements, she has always opposed China firmly. What would be instrumental to digital currencies is the trade agreements with China. Just like Donald Trump, Hillary opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership. She supports trade agreements that would raise wages, increase prosperity, create more jobs for Americans, and protect our security.

Hillary said:

“We cannot let rules of origin allow China — or anyone else, but principally China — to go around trade agreements. It’s one of the reasons why I oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership because when I saw what was in it, it was clear to me there were too many loopholes, too many opportunities for folks to be taken advantage of.”

This means, Hillary would alter trade agreements  to tighten US’s hold, which would spell discomfort for China. If Chinese implement unorthodox monetary policies, that would disturb Yuan and we are likely to see heavy movement in Bitcoin market.

Hillary against Wall Street:


On her first speech as the Democratic presidential contender, Hillary took a dig at Wall Street. She tore into CEOs, hedge fund managers, Corporate America — and the Republicans who support them. She believes that wealth centered on Wall Street is detrimental to the economy. With short term investments for high profits and low taxes paid based on their investments, common man is at disadvantage. She believes in long term investments that would open up job opportunities for Americans. She also implores Wall Street to think about the possibilities.

Would these redirected investments on Wall Street result in Blockchain opportunities for firms or would be in the direction of other industries is to be seen.

Bank of England Accelerates Work With Bitcoin

Adoption of Bitcoin and its underlying technology on various fronts has been on the rise in the past few months. Mainstream financial organizations are realizing how efficiently Blockchain Technology can provide them with transformative solutions. Consequentially, the growing adoption has resulted in the prices of Bitcoin breaking the two year highs in September. The recent organization to hop onto the Blockchain train is Bank of England. Let’s look into how Bank of England plans to define Blockchain innovation:

Bank of England to accelerate Blockchain work

blockchain_31Bank of England’s newly opened FinTech accelerator is seeking additional ways to explore blockchain tech. During an event in London, the chief cashier, Victoria Cleland, discussed the central bank’s efforts on enhancing applications. The plans centered on financial technology, including the founding of a startup accelerator focused on financial applications. During these projects, Bank of England is seeking to study concepts such as distributed ledger-based digital currency.  The organization is already looking to move beyond its currently disclosed projects.

Cleland said:

“[Distributed ledger technology] is still in its infancy, and there are numerous questions that need exploring. The Bank has already undertaken a proof-of-concept using this technology and we are looking for new opportunities through our FinTech accelerator.”


Hong Kong to set up Fintech Innovation Hub

A security guard walks past a directory board of Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) in Hong Kong December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Joining the list of Monetary authorities that are embracing blockchain, Hong Kong Monetary Authority has established a Fintech Innovation Hub.  A supervisory sandbox that will permit banks to conduct proof of concept trials would couple the Fintech Innovation hub. The major aim of the hub is to provide services with efficiency.  This move clearly highlights the country’s attempts to boost the development of Fintech in the financial services sector. In a speech at a summit in Hong Kong, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), Norman Chan, said that the Fintech Innovation Hub ‘allows regulators to provide early inputs to the trial works before the actual implementation.’ He also believes that while that this Fintech innovation hub would cater to small and big institutions alike. The central idea is to service the whole industry by providing technologies that are quick and collaborative.

Hence major monetary authorities are embracing the underlying technology for disruptive solutions. This adoption would lay the foundation for the nascent Bitcoin ecosystem. With increasing application of the currency and its driving technology, the prices would surely enjoy the positivity for some time to come.

Bitcoin News Bites

  • An investment bank, Needham & Company, has just released a report which states bitcoin’s value is understated by 58% of its current value. Bitcoin’s ostensible value is $412, but should really have a value of $655, according to the report.
  • You can now get bitcoin from an ATM at 17th and Mission Streets in San Francisco. This is now the third bitcoin ATM in the Mission.
  • Bitcoin technology is stirring controversy on Wall Street. Early in March, 2016, the company CVR3 announced the successful completion of a trial in which over 40 of its member banks put blockchain technology to a test. Each member issued, traded and redeemed a fixed-income product.  Although the test results threaten to make current Wall Street trading technology obsolete, Wall Street spokespeople promise they’ll now use the test results to refashion their old technology for better trading performance.
  • After claiming it would no longer accept bitcoin on its Windows Store, Microsoft announced a complete reversal in policy.  The IT giant has offered no explanation as to why it had initially rejected bitcoin as a payment option.
  • The noted email service, FastMail, that offers paid email accounts, has been accepting bitcoin payments through BitPay for customers who choose to upgrade to its premium option.  FastMail’s work in this area has been completely unannounced and has remained under the radar.  The service is used internationally by over 100,000 individuals and organizations.
  • The first Arab bitcoin community has recently formed.  Until now, there has been little discussion in the Arab world about bitcoin.  The primary purpose of the Arab bitcoin community is to understand the idea behind bitcoin and promote discussions about it.  The group will be pushing for adoption of bitcoin throughout the Middle East and North Africa in the coming years.
  • Bovada Sportsbook, the online sports betting platform, now accepts bitcoin.  This action is welcomed by frequent Bovada since it cuts down on transaction fees incurred through depositing or withdrawing funds. Also, the option to be able to pay with bitcoin represents a boon to privacy, a big concern among sports bettors.
  • According to the Financial Times, in the next two weeks, Australian Craig Steven Wright will announce he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin. What’s more, Stevens claims he will prove his identity cryptographically.  Wired Magazine had claimed it received information through a link that Nakamoto is actually Stevens.  Apparently, in about two weeks, we’ll find out the truth from Stevens (Nakamoto?) himself.
  • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong reports his company is looking into the creating of “killer apps” for widespread bitcoin usage.  Armstrong envisions, among other things, a world in which large populations with cell phones but no access to banking would be able to fill an immense financial gap through bitcoin transactions.
  • In March, 2016, WireX announced the very first two-way bitcoin debit card.  The card also has a function with which a user can buy bitcoin. Users will be able to fund bitcoin accounts from any location by means of a traditional bank transfer and alternative payment methods. This is apparently the first “hybrid” banking operation that links blockchain technology to the traditional banking system.