Weekly Recap 31.08.2019. – 06.09.2019.

Brazilian Payment Processing Giant Announces Bitcoin Support 

Cielo, a Brazilian payments giant, is looking to unlock cryptocurrency payments to over 200 million people

Cielo announced its support for bitcoin and other cryptocurrency purchases via its 1.4 million point-of-sale devices. Customers will now have the ability to make bitcoin purchases through Cielo’s point-of-sale devices by creating an account with its network partners, Uzzo or Criptohub. The PoS devices generate a QR code which the customer can scan using the partner app while later this year, customers could be able to make cryptocurrency purchases with the Cielo Pay app. (Positive)

Binance Launches $216,000 Futures Trading Contest on Testnet Platforms

Binance has launched two futures testnet platforms — inviting users to participate in a 10,000 Binance Coin (BNB) trading competition. The major crypto exchange has launched two futures trading platforms named Futures A and Futures B in testing mode — allowing customers to participate in a simulated trading competition, Binance announced on its website on Sept. 2. 

According to the announcement, Binance will award winners with a total of 10,000 BNB, worth about $216,000 at publishing time. During the competition, Binance will provide all participants with 100,000 Tether tokens (USDT) in simulated funds on both Binance futures platforms, which means that each account will receive that amount of USDT for testing purposes only.  Participants will be ranked based on the total USDT trading volume transacted, including buys and sells but excluding wash trades. In order to be eligible for a prize, participants will be required to maintain at least the originally allocated 100,000 USDT in simulated funds by the end of competition, Binance stated. 

Competitors are also being invited to take part in voting for their favorite platform, and those who support the winning platform will receive a 50% trading fee discount for a month. The competition will be launched on Sept. 3 and end on Sept. 8. (Positive)

PwC Luxembourg to Start Accepting Bitcoin from October 2019

PwC Luxembourg, a subsidiary of the world’s second-largest professional services firm, will start accepting Bitcoin (BTC) payments from Oct. 1. The Luxembourg branch of the “Big Fourauditing firm announced the initiative in a news release on Sept. 2, claiming the move shows its commitment to comply with the needs of clients as well as support the growing national crypto ecosystem. In the announcement, PwC Luxembourg expressed confidence in Bitcoin, calling it the “first peer-to-peer payment mechanism that cannot be compromised and is based on a decentralised trust model.”

The company said it is aware of the existing shortcomings of cryptocurrencies and the challenges associated with its adoption. PwC Luxembourg added that it has partnered with an unnamed, regulated local exchange in order to provide the best experience. It wrote: “The Firm acknowledges the challenges of this move and has carefully reviewed its internal policies and procedures to meet the standards required by the crypto industry and closely collaborated with a local regulated exchange to provide the best payment experience.”

PwC Luxembourg’s move to accept crypto payments stems from the positive stance to the industry by its parent company, PwC. In June, PwC announced the release of Halo, a crypto auditing software solution enabling the firm to provide independent evidence of private-public key pairing and collect data about transactions and balances from blockchains. Earlier this year, Cointelegraph reported that PwC is the biggest recruiter for blockchain-related jobs on recruitment platform Indeed. In a recent news release, PwC said that it has more than 400 staff working on blockchain and crypto initiatives supported by more than 100 technical team members. (Positive)

Huobi Launches Low-Cost Blockchain Phone With Built-in Crypto Wallet

On September 3, Huobi Global announced the launch of the “Acute Angle” blockchain phone for $515. The Acute Angle is made by Whole Network, a startup that Huobi invested in. Also announced today, Whole Network’s NODE token will be listed on Huobi Prime.

Running against competitors like Sirin Labs’ $1,000 “Finney” phone, the Whole Network device can be purchased with Huobi’s native token, HT, for roughly half the price. Based on Android’s operating system, Acute Angle is currently available in China with a Q4 2019 launch planned for Southeast Asia. Dates for the U.S. and European rollout have not yet been given. In a statement, Huobi Global CEO Livio Weng said blockchain-based phones have a bright future:

“We think blockchain phones are a promising area for future blockchain industry development. As the industry develops and as innovations like 5G become increasingly integrated into our telecommunications systems, we believe more and more crypto communities will want to trade and transact from mobile devices.” Acute Angle includes built-in crypto-ready features like push trade notifications, a dapp wallet, an optional cold-wallet plugin and the NODE native token. Acute Angle is the first in a future lineup of blockchain-based phones from Whole Network, Huobi said, with plans for 5G capability for future phones promised. (Positive)

Samsung Launching Yet Another Blockchain-Friendly Smartphone

South Korean electronics giant Samsung is said to be launching yet another blockchain-friendly smartphone, dubbed “KlaytnPhone,” as a Galaxy Note 10 variant. The smartphone will come with a cryptocurrency wallet and blockchain apps installed, and is expected to go on a sale starting today in South Korea only, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. Per the report, KlaytnPhone, named after Kakao’s blockchain subsidiary GroundX’s blockchain platform Klaytn, will have Klaytn logo when it is turned on or off.  The smartphone is expected to be sold at around $1,000. Buyers will also reportedly get a certain amount of “Klay” tokens, the native token of Kalytn. (Neutral)

Binance Launches Dollar-Backed Crypto Stablecoin With NYDFS Blessing

Crypto exchange Binance is launching a dollar-backed stablecoin in the U.S.

Moreover, the new Binance USD (BUSD) has received the blessing of the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). The exchange announced Thursday that NYDFS had approved the new offering, which Binance is launching in partnership with the Paxos Trust Company.

The Binance stablecoin will be backed by U.S. dollars on a 1:1 ratio, according to a press release. The offering joins the Paxos Standard and the Gemini Dollar as an NYDFS-approved stablecoin.

At launch, verified Paxos customers will be able to directly purchase BUSD tokens through the company’s wallet using either U.S. dollars or PAX, its own stablecoin. Binance users will likewise be able to trade BUSD for bitcoin, binance coin or XRP.

The exchange previously announced its intention to issue stablecoins worldwide as part of its Venus project. Binance has already issued stablecoins pegged to bitcoin (BTCB) and the British pound (BGBP).

In a statement, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (“CZ”) said:

“We hope to unlock more financial services for the greater blockchain ecosystem through the issuance of BUSD, including more use cases and utility through the power of stable digital assets.” (Positive)

Paxos Launches PAX Gold

Stablecoin operator Paxos launched PAX Gold (PAXG), a gold-backed Ethereum (ETH) token.

Paxos announced the launch of the product claiming that it is “the first crypto-asset redeemable for physical gold.” Furthermore, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) put forward their approval of the issuance in an official statement, defining it “first gold-backed virtual currency in New York state.”

Per the report, each PAXG token will be backed by one fine troy ounce of London Good Delivery gold stored in professional vault facilities in London. Users owning the tokens in question reportedly own the gold it represents but the tokens can be moved like any other ERC-20 tokens — which is substantially simpler than shipping gold.

Paxos charges fees on on-chain transactions involving the token, as well as PAXG creation and destruction. Paxos CEO and Co-Founder Charles Cascarilla commented on the development by praising the advantages of tokenization:

“In a digital and global financial system, owning physical gold is a cumbersome, outdated investment; it’s not easy to trade, divide, move or leverage against other investments.” (Positive)

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