The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has disclosed that millions of dollars in savings could be generated by Australian firms once the exchange migrates from the existing Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS) to a blockchain technology-based platform.

Currently, it is estimated that the average fee that large investors are charged for clearing and settlement services is approximately 1.2% of the assets. The superannuation industry, on the other hand, incurs costs of approximately $23 billion.

“If the value of what we can deliver by providing an enriched, real-time source of truth information to the industry ultimately allows the industry to offer new services that create only 5% incremental revenue or cost savings to end-issuers and investors, we think it’s absolutely worth pursuing,” the CEO of ASX, Dominic Stevens, said during the exchange’s full-year results briefing.

Simpler, Faster, Cheaper

According to Stevens, adopting distributed ledger technology will make reconciliation processes redundant as participants will be in a position to access the correct data in real-time without having to consult the securities exchange. Additionally, a DLT-based system will reduce risk and costs as well as complexity. Currently, there are many disparate databases and supporting, upgrading and maintaining them is expensive. The adoption of distributed ledger technology will also spur innovation.

“By doing all of this within a highly secure environment where permissioned users have access only to the data that they are entitled to see, ASX is safely liberating the source of truth information in real-time such that it can be used by participants and other providers to build new services across the value chain,” Stevens added. “This will provide tremendous value by being a great business enabler for our customers, and a significant enabler of innovation for issuers and investors.”

One Harmonized Database

Unlike the CHESS platform which has multiple versions of multiple applications programmed in multiple languages residing on multiple databases, the ASX’s DLT-based system will use a standard modeling language for Ethereum-like smart contracts and this will sit on a harmonized database.

So far ASX has spent 3 years researching and developing the technology which is expected to go live in two years. This will make it the world’s first industrial-scale application of blockchain in critical financial market infrastructure. Development of the distributed ledger technology to replace CHESS will be done in collaboration with Digital Asset Holdings, a fintech firm based in New York. ASX Limited owns a 5% stake in the startup.

As CCN reported at the time, ASX initially began considering replacing its CHESS platform with a blockchain-based one in October 2015 when it was headed by Elmer Funke Kupper. Early the following year, the world’s16th biggest exchange announced that it had picked Digital Asset Holdings to develop the blockchain-based system.

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This post is credited to CCN. 

China has released its blockchain rankings for August, rating public blockchain networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum based on their application and technology.

The rankings, created by China Electronic Information Industry Development Research Institute and the China Software Testing Center, featured the contributions of professors and researchers at the country’s most prestigious educational institutions including Tsinghua and Beijing University.

EOS #1 as Expected

Previous rankings ranked EOS above both Ethereum and Bitcoin as the best blockchain network in the global cryptocurrency sector. The newly created rankings by CCID and CSTC, two institutions funded by the Chinese government, had EOS ranked as the top blockchain network in the world once again, with Ethereum and Bitcoin falling behind.

This month, China ranked Ethereum at second and Bitcoin at tenth, placing tokens and other major cryptocurrencies like NEO and Stellar ahead of the dominant cryptocurrency.

Komodo, Nebulas, NEO, Stellar, Lisk, GXChain, and Steem all ranked higher than Bitcoin, with strong points in applicability and technology. Bitcoin recorded the highest points in the category of innovation, mostly likely due to its long track record and the status as the first blockchain network and cryptocurrency in the market.

In July, CCID ranked Bitcoin as the seventeenth best blockchain network in the market and in the past month, Bitcoin has risen through the ranks.

In the past 30 days, Bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrency sector have not experienced major technical developments or changes in the codebase of major digital assets. Hence, it is possible that the strong performance of BTC as a store of value in the crypto sector led the government to rank Bitcoin higher than it did before.

Smart contract protocols and blockchain networks designed to support decentralized applications (dApps) will always rank higher in the rankings of CCID, because the criteria used by the institution establishes technology and application as the two main categories.

Application in the context of the CCID rankings refers to the applicability of the blockchain in other systems. Technology, based on the previous rankings released by CCID, refers to the scalability and capacity of blockchains.

In the case of EOS, which received the highest points in the category of technology at 104.3 points, it is highly likely that its proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, which is capable of processing a significantly large number of transactions in comparison to other blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin, led the government to rank it as the top blockchain.

But, if the PoS aspect of EOS allowed it to be ranked as the top blockchain, it remains unclear why Cardano was left behind at 15th, as it is the second biggest PoS blockchain network in market valuation behind EOS.

Track Record is Important

The logic behind CCID’s decision to rank EOS, Ethereum, and Stellar, which in essence are high performance blockchain networks, above Bitcoin is clear, given the criteria which prioritizes innovation and application.

Nebulas has been able to secure a sixth place in the rankings because it supports 6.800 dApps and 35,000 transactions per second on its network.

But, track record and security are also important to consider in a ranking which encompasses a wide range of blockchain networks, including bank-focused Ripple, store of value like Bitcoin, and PoS dApp networks like EOS.

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Libra, a provider of financial reporting services for the crypto assets ecosystem, has closed a $15 million Series B funding round, bringing the company’s total funding to $24.8 million.

The funding bodes positively for financial institutions interested in expanding into cryptocurrency since Libra has been able to apply the type of reporting tools that such institutions use to the cryptocurrency sector. Libra specialize in transforming crypto transactional data into audit-ready information for financial institutions.

Libra Achieves A Benchmark

“Libra’s mission is to provide a system of record that allows institutions with crypto transactions to meet the reporting requirements of managers, investors, auditors and regulators,” Jake Benson, Libra founder and CEO, said in a prepared statement.

The investors’ commitment will allow Libra to expand its customer offerings, build its team and strengthen its customer base, Benson said.

The company will use its funding to support the development of its Libra Crypto Office platform, in addition to new products to be released later this year.

Libra’s service automates audit, accounting and tax processes for exchanges, trading operations, funds, fund administrators and enterprises.

Expansion Into New Markets

The capital infusion will support the company’s expansion into new markets such as custodians, miners and lenders, as well as supporting its chances for continued growth.

The new round was led by Libra’s previous lead investor, with continued participation from Liberty City Ventures.

Libra’s bitcoin tax accounting service, LibraTax, helps CPAs and businesses account for cryptocurrency transactions. In 2014, the IRS gave guidance that cryptocurrency is taxable as property rather than currency and is classified as a capital tax.

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Chicago Blockchain Project (CBP) announced today that it will be hosting its first Voice of Blockchainconference on Aug. 24 and 25 at Chicago’s Navy Pier. The event will be held in partnership with Chicago-based tech co-working space 1871 and decentralized democratic governance protocol Democracy Earth.

“Voice of Blockchain is a two-day conference gathering industry influencers, leaders in blockchain, government and business and 5,000 attendees to shape the ongoing conversation on blockchain today,” according to a press release published by CBP on July 31.

CBP is an organization that focuses on developing Chicago as the premier global blockchain technology hub through education, marketing, software and community development. In line with its vision, the Voice of Blockchain event aims to serve as an educational forum for the future of blockchain technology, in addition to providing network and recruitment opportunities.

“The world is moving from competition to collaboration, and [CBP] aims to accelerate that change starting right here in Chicago,” Joe Hernandez, founder of CBP, said in a press release.

“We believe Chicago can be the go-to place for blockchain technology and expertise, and we couldn’t be more excited to support this event for our community and the tech industry at large,” Betsy Ziegler, CEO at 1871 and partner to the Voice of Blockchain event, said in a press release.

Speakers at the conference will include industry leaders, notable bloggers, popular podcasters, Youtubers and more from the tech space, including:

  • Jimmy Song, Venture Partner at Blockchain Capital LLC
  • Lisa Nestor, Head of Partnerships at Stellar
  • Rumi Morales, Partner at Outlier Ventures
  • Tone Vays, Crypto Scam Podcast
  • Tor Bair, Head of Growth at Enigma
  • Santiago Siri, Founder of Democracy Earth Foundation
  • Meredith Darden, Cryptocurrency Investing Channel
  • Joel Birch, Bitcoin Bravado
  • Joel Comm, Bad Crypto Podcast
  • Juan Hernandez, CEO of Open Finance

Speakers and presentations will delve into pivotal themes in the blockchain technology realm, such as innovation, fintech, #BUIDL, markets and blockchain for social good.

“By focusing on decentralized solutions to the world’s toughest problems, Voice of Blockchain puts Chicago in a leading role building the blockchain ecosystem,” Herb Stephens, President of the Democracy Earth Foundation, said in a press release.

“As one of the largest blockchain events in the country,” Hernandez said, “Voice of Blockchain is arming the Chicago community with the skills to compete in the economy of the future while establishing the city as the blockchain capital of the world — we’re creating a catalyst for impactful change.”

 

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Bitcoin and other forms of crypto may be falling in price, but people are still taking their earnings and investing in cryptocurrency projects. The most recent one comes by way of Madison Holdings Group, a Hong Kong stock exchange-listed wine company. The venture has just purchased shares in BitOcean, a Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange.

BitOcean is one of Japan’s 16 fully licensed crypto trading platforms, having recently garnered full approval from Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA). Madison Lab – a subsidiary company of Madison Holdings – has acquired roughly 67 percent of BitOcean, spending about $30 million in the process.

Crypto Investments Remain as Popular as Ever

Madison’s chairman Raymond Ting Pang-wan explains that the maneuver was all part of the company’s attempts to diversify itself and build its investment portfolio:

“Our wine business is stable and profitable, but then it is small. It is hard to make wine trading into a very big business. That’s why we have to diversify into financial technology and the cryptocurrency business – to achieve a better return for our shareholders.”

Despite being home to two of the world’s largest cryptocurrency thefts – Mt. Gox and Coincheck – Japan is, and remains a powerful cryptocurrency hub. The country’s FSA pledged to become more involved in crypto-based operations following the Coincheck debacle in January 2018, an event that saw more than $500 million in cryptocurrency funds disappear overnight.

The FSA began issuing warnings to several cryptocurrency exchanges, claiming that they would now have to undergo a registration process to continue their operations and that they would be required to improve their safety protocols or face being shut down.

This regulatory framework and Japan’s ongoing pro-crypto attitude is why, according to Pang-wan, now was the best time to obtain a stake in the crypto arena:

“Japan represents about 20 percent of bitcoin trading worldwide. Japan and the United States are the only two markets that have a licensing system for such trading platforms. We wanted to invest in a platform that was under proper regulation.”

Crypto Investments Everywhere

In a related story, HDR Global Trading – which owns the BitMEX Exchange in Hong Kong – is now looking into purchasing a 51 percent stake in Madison Labs. The deal has not taken part at press time, though it’s estimated the purchase will cost roughly $17 million.

Unlike Japan and the U.S., Hong Kong has yet to enforce an official licensing structure for cryptocurrency-related businesses, though it’s now working on a temporary system that would slowly begin to introduce regulatory tactics.

Will a deal like this cause competing companies to invest in crypto? Post your comments below.

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