Weekly Recap 09.11.2019. – 15.11.2019.

MoneyGram Processes 10% of US-Mexico Transactions via Ripple Solution

Money transfer giant MoneyGram processes 10% of its transactions between the U.S. and Mexican corridor via Ripple’s payments solution On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) that leverages XRP cryptocurrency.

MoneyGram chairman and CEO Alex Holmes announced the news adding that the company plans to expand the use of ODL solution to four more corridors by the end of this year.

“We’re able to settle billions of dollars in seconds. The magic really comes from pairing MoneyGram transactions with Ripple’s ODL,” said Holmes.

In June, Ripple committed to investing up to $50 million in MoneyGram and the latter agreed to utilize XRP in its money transfer business. (Positive)

Hong Kong Regulator Approves License for Tencent’s Virtual Bank

Chinese internet giant Tencent is set to open a blockchain-based virtual bank after the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) approved a new license.

Speaking at the World Blockchain Summit in Wuzhen, China, Tencent blockchain chief Yige Cai said the company’s virtual bank received the SFC’s green-light. Moving forward, the company will assemble a team to support the blockchain-based banking platform, according to Chinese media site Sina Finance.

“Hong Kong’s new regulations and supervision on digital assets transactions validates the importance of blockchain technology and digital assets, which is good news for the whole industry,” Cai said in his speech at the summit.

The SFC has granted virtual bank licences to 12 entities so far. On the list is Infinium Limited, a joint venture between Tencent, Industrial and Commerce Bank of China (ICBC) and other two Hong Kong-based institutional investors.

Tencent renamed Infinium to Fusion Bank in July after it received the license in May. (Positive)

Canada’s Biggest Bank Exploring Cryptocurrencies

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), the country’s largest bank with over $965 billion in total assets, could launch a cryptocurrency trading platform.

It was reported on Monday that the bank has applied for four patents in Canada and the U.S. that reveal how it might integrate cryptocurrencies into its operations.

“To individual users, managing cryptographic keys and transacting with different cryptographic assets can be a challenge. In some situations, cryptographic asset transactions may take time to be confirmed, and/or may not be compatible or supported by merchant systems or point-of-sale devices,” reads a patent.

RBC spokesperson Jean Francois Thibault has said that the bank, “like many other organizations, files patent applications to ensure proprietary ideas and concepts are protected,” declining to comment on the platform launch.

RBC is said to have published at least 27 blockchain-related patents in the past three years, including credit scores, vehicle records, digital rewards and loan offerings. (Neutral)

Facebook Rolls Out New Payment System

As the Libra stablecoin project continues to face a hostile audience of regulators, Facebook launches a new fiat payment system called Facebook Pay.

On Nov. 12, the social media giant announced that it is introducing Facebook Pay, a payment system that is designed to facilitate payments across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. VP, marketplace & commerce at Facebook, Deborah Liu, said:

“People already use payments across our apps to shop, donate to causes and send money to each other. Facebook Pay will make these transactions easier while continuing to ensure your payment information is secure and protected.”

In an apparent bid to avoid further regulatory scrutiny, the company clearly states that Facebook Pay is “built on existing financial infrastructure and partnerships.” The firm is similarly clear that the payment service will be kept separate from Facebook’s new Calibra wallet and the Libra network.

Facebook Pay will start rolling out this week on Messenger and Facebook in the United States for “fundraisers, in-game purchases, event tickets, person-to-person payments on Messenger and purchases from select Pages and businesses on Facebook Marketplace.” (Neutral)

China’s Digital Currency Will Provide Required Anonymity in Transactions

China’s digital yuan will not fully control people’s information and will provide them with the required anonymity in their transactions, according to an official.

“We know the demand from the general public is to keep anonymity by using paper money and coins … we will give those people who demand it anonymity in their transactions,” said Mu Changchun, head of the digital currency research institute at the People’s Bank of China (PBoC). Adding that the central bank would keep the “balance between the ‘controllable anonymity’ and anti-money laundering, CTF [Countering Financing of Terrorism], and also tax issues, online gambling and any electronic criminal activities,” continuing: “That is a balance we have to keep, and that is our goal. We are not seeking full control of the information of the general public.”

Mu also said that China’s digital yuan holders would not receive interest payments lacking implications for inflation or monetary policy. The goal of the digital currency is to create a new system in case of issues with China’s existing financial infrastructure, where two players – WeChat and Alipay – dominate electronic payments.

The official recently also said that the design of digital yuan would be similar to Facebook-led Libra stablecoin and that it could also be used across WeChat and Alipay payment platforms. (Positive)

Swiss SIX Exchange Lists Tezos ETP

On November 14, crypto startup Amun AG launched the Amun Tezos exchange-traded product (ETP), tracking the tezos cryptocurrency under the XTYZ ticker on the SIX Swiss Stock Exchange.

Zurich-based Amun’s Tezos ETP is the firm’s ninth crypto-based ETP issued to date on SIX and the firm claims to have some $70 million in assets under management. The product’s underlying asset will be held by Coinbase Custody, Amun said.

As a PoS chain product, Amun’s newest ETP will also issue staking rewards – termed “baking” in the Tezos system – by Coinbase, which will be automatically reinvested into the holder’s ETP shares. In other words, the longer you hold the product, the larger your underlying share becomes.

“Some staking services initially began as being secluded to a specific blockchain,” Amun CEO Hany Rashwan said in the statement. “Via our ETP, [investors can] participate in the associated rewards for contributing to the security and stability of the Tezos blockchain – without the need to ever have to set up a crypto wallet or taking care of a private key.”

Amun and others choosing of tezos speaks to the underlying asset’s stability, according to data provider Messari research analyst Wilson Witham.

“Tezos is quietly becoming a viable option for the issuance of tokenized securities. There’s a growing confidence among security token issuers that tezos can provide the tools and security necessary to facilitate similar efforts,” Witham said. (Positive)

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