Weekly Recap 08.06.2019. – 14.06.2019.

Multiple Sources are Expecting Facebook to Launch its Stablecoin in June

Previously, rumors had suggested it would be 2020 before Facebook made a commitment to bring its product.

“It’s currently scheduled for a June 18th release of a white paper explaining its cryptocurrency’s basics,” TechCrunch states.

That date had also come from Laura McCracken, Facebook’s Head of Financial Services & Payment Partnerships for Northern Europe, who said in an interview this week that the stablecoin would not only involve a U.S. dollar peg. “The value of Facebook Coin will be secured with a basket of fiat currencies.”

Facebook has caused an industry re-thinking with its noises about entry into the payments sector. It is not just the social media platform, but sister companies WhatsApp and Instagram would also participate, executives stated. (Neutral)

Coinbase Earn Supports Dai Stablecoin

Coinbase has added a course on MakerDao’s stablecoin dai in its educational portal Coinbase Earn.

Dai is the first stablecoin covered by Coinbase Earn, which will offer videos and quizzes to help users learn about the token, and receive some Dai for their efforts.

The Ethereum-based stablecoin Dai is backed by its sister token maker (MKR) and is balanced to have a stable value of $1.

Coinbase Earn launched on May 18 with aim to be a solution for potential investors who are interested in crypto, particularly ones less prominent than bitcoin (BTC), but are reluctant to invest without more information:

“…one of the biggest barriers preventing people from exploring a new digital asset was a lack of knowledge about that asset. Many of the people we surveyed expressed a strong desire to begin learning about new and different crypto assets beyond Bitcoin, but didn’t know where to begin.” (Positive)

Over 300 New Bitcoin ATMs Installed Last Month – a Yearly High

Data from Coinatmradar shows that the increase in bitcoin ATM installation across the globe in May 2019 reached a 1-year high. Comparing the number of machines installed and removed during the month shows net positive growth of 228.

Operators installed 306 bitcoin ATMs during the month, bumping up the number of such machines from 4,690 to 4,898. The highest ever net positive growth as recorded by Coinatmradar is still the 256 achieve in April 2018.

This significant increase in crypto ATM installation in May 2019 coincides with the market’s best month so far in the year. Bitcoin, in particular, added more than $3,500 to its price in May, increasing by close to 60%.

Ether (ETH) remains the most popular supported cryptocurrency after bitcoin with litecoin and bitcoin cash in second and third, respectively (as far as altcoin support is concerned). More than 150 machines added support for ETH in May 2019.

As at press time, there are 4,935 crypto ATMs spread over 77 countries around the world. The United States still has the greatest number of such machines and also saw the highest number of installations in May 2019. The U.K. and Hungary had the second and third highest increase in bitcoin ATM installation for the month. Bahrain also got its first ever bitcoin ATM, currently located in Manama. (Positive)

Coinbase Launches Its Crypto Debit Card in Europe

Coinbase has officially launched its cryptocurrency debit card in Italy and five other European countries. Back in April the ‘Coinbase Card’ has already been launched in the UK.

Coinbase rolled out its credit card in order to allow its customers to make purchases directly with bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies.

The ‘Coinbase Card’ works as any other similar card where crypto is being directly converted into cash when you make a purchase, which means that merchants do not actually have to deal with the volatile asset.

European users can either download the Coinbase Card app or order a physical card.

You can buy groceries on bitcoin and then coffee on litecoin right after,” Coinbase U.K. CEO Zeeshan Feroz commented. (Positive)

University of British Columbia will Add Blockchain Program in 2019

In January 2019, one of Canada’s leading research universities, the University of British Columbia, is launching a blockchain tech training path for graduate students.

According to the UBC, the program is a first in Canada. The track will focus on four areas: health and wellness, clean energy, regulatory technology and issues for Indigenous residents.

“The initiative will allow students to develop the skills around emerging technologies that are in high demand as well as drive economic growth as graduates fill the void in the industry,” said Victoria Lemieux, UBC iSchool associate professor and founder of [email protected]

UBC aims to train 139 students over six years, and build out services for existing master’s and PhD students in educationally adjacent areas. Interested students do not need to come to the program with blockchain experience.

The initiative is supported by 15 industry partners from a wide range of sectors, including Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical company with net sales of around 17.5 billion euros in 2018.

Mitacs, a not-for-profit that works with federal and municipal governments to support industrial innovation, will also provide $1.324 million over six years. Additionally, the agency will fund 18 master’s and eight PhD internships in the field, representing a potential value of over $2.44 million for 156 internships and post-doctoral training projects over the course of the partnership. (Neutral)

Azerbaijan Government Partners With IBM on Blockchain Customs Deal

IBM is expanding its partnership work with Azerbaijan’s government to bring blockchain technology to customs procedures.

Following a reported deal with the country’s central bank in October 2018 — which should see blockchain deployed in various areas over a five-year period — IBM will now use the technology to target cargo transportation.

The news came from Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee, the chairman of which, Safar Mehdiyev, spoke about the plans at a press conference during the ongoing IT/TI Conference and Exhibition of the World Customs Organization.

“It will be possible to obtain the necessary information from the database online, without outside interference,” he explained. Mehdiyev added:

“It will be useful for both entrepreneurs and customs authorities, as it will improve the quality of customs services provided.”

Blockchain’s potential in customs procedures has long been a source of interest for governments worldwide, including the United States, which last August launched a pilot scheme with the tech of its own.

Baku, meanwhile, wants to further use the new tool beyond its borders, with Mehdiyev adding there were plans involving nearby Moldova and Ukraine, along with neighboring Georgia. (Positive)

CME Bitcoin Futures Saw New Records

CME Group announced that its bitcoin futures product had its best month since the product first launched in late 2017, in both volume and open interest in May.

Average daily volume within the month finished at more than 13,600 contracts, or around $515 million in USD traded value. Open interest, or the number of contracts left unsettled, also saw all time highs of 4,602 total contracts.

The exchange also stated that the bitcoin product added 223 new trading accounts in May, the most its seen since January 2018, pointing that institutional interest has indeed picked up. (Positive)

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