Singapore Fintech Industry News - Jan 2018
oBike partners blockchain platform Tron to launch cryptocurrency
Singaporean bikesharing operator oBike will partner blockchain platform Tron to launch its own cryptocurrency called oCoins in the first quarter of 2018. In a world-first of its kind, oBike users will be able to pay for their rides and top up their oBike wallets using oCoins. oCoins can be used to buy online content or on any applications that are on Tron's platform like Peiwo and Uplive. The longer users ride oBikes, the more OCoins they earn. Tron is a decentralized online content entertainment ecosystem. Its cryptocurrency, called Tronix (TRX), is ranked 18th worldwide.
Singapore’s first bitcoin lawsuit raises concerns on current laws
While dismissing an application by electronic market maker B2C2 for a summary judgement against bitcoin exchange operator Quoine, Singapore International Commercial Court Judge Simon Thorley raised concerns that existing laws were inadequate to deal with fallouts arising from computer errors. B2C2, which is incorporated in England and Wales, brought the lawsuit in May 2017 against Singapore-registered Quoine for “wrongfully” reversing trades, involving proceeds which are currently valued at about S$ 60 million. B2C2 had placed orders on Quoine’s platform to sell 309.2518 ethereums at an “abnormally high” price of 10 bitcoins for one ethereum. The next day, Quoine reversed the trades “after becoming aware of a technical glitch,” which had caused the only available price on its platform to be the price offered by B2C2.
Waterfront bar offers New Year party package: for one bitcoin
Skyline, the “world's highest” cryptocurrency club offered for the first time a New Year's Eve package priced at one bitcoin. “Blanca” included a limousine pick-up, butler service, champagne, oysters and caviar. Revelers dressed in white had a bird’s eye view of the night’s fireworks display at the waterfront. The price of bitcoin is now hovering around S$13,000. Skyline was the first club in Singapore to accept cryptocurrencies when it started taking payments in ethereum, a bitcoin rival. The bar has previously had cryptocurrency after parties and it has a theme night called Crypto Thursday.
Maxthon introduces browser mining mechanism for cryptocurrency
Maxthon has partnered with LivesOne, a blockchain platform introduced by Singapore-based Symbiosism Economy Foundation, to develop a browser that can mine LivesToken, a new cryptocurrency. LivesToken promotes products for businesses, and serves as a value-added token to compensate users for their daily internet behavior, including but not limited to downloads, installs, initiations, and further engagements. Users who sign up on the website to make a reservation for the Maxthon Browser Mining Edition can begin mining of LivesToken (LVT). LivesToken will be assigned automatically to users based on their browser usage.
Delphy predictive markets app crosses 100,000 pre-registration mark
Open source mobile platform Delphy announced that over 100,000 people had pre-registered to download its predictive markets app. The Delphy Token (DPY Token) powering the platform is available on cryptocurrency exchange, OKEX, and can be purchased using bitcoin or ethereum. DPY will be used to buy shares and reward winners for correctly making forecasts. Early adopters of the token are eligible for a coin bonus via the Delphy Bounty Program. Delphy channels the wisdom of the crowd to make data-driven predictions about future events. Delphy is built on a decentralized ethereum platform, making it difficult to manipulate prediction results.
GAIN Capital rolls out bitcoin trading in Singapore
GAIN Capital Holdings, Inc., headquartered in New Jersey, United States, has launched bitcoin trading in Australia
and Singapore on the company's City Index branded service. This follows its launch in the United Kingdom/Europe and Bitcoin futures in the USA. The offering enables its customers to trade the value of the cryptocurrency through a highly-regulated, trusted broker, without the need to set up a digital wallet to take delivery of and store tokens. In Singapore, it is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. GAIN plans to introduce bitcoin trading to other markets in Asia and the United States. It will expand its cryptocurrency offering to include ethereum and other digital currencies in early 2018.
Third-gen digital platform BitMart Announces ICO Launch
BitMart issued 100,000,000 BMX (tokens) in the Bitmart initial coin offering (ICO) campaign which ended on January 14. The pre-ICO finished with 9090 ethereum (ETH), 100 %. The total funding requirement is 10,000 ETH. Meanwhile, project introduction events were conducted in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Wenzhou, and Shenzhen. A BitMart closed beta test showed that the system can support massive concurrent computation and make the order processing speed reach one million transactions per second. In addition, BitMart also brings up the idea of whole-network trading.
Fatfish up on crypto mining investment in Singapore start-up
Tech investor Fatfish Internet Group will invest S$1.34 million in APAX Mining, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency mining start-up. The ASX-listed company will take a 51 percent slice of APAX. APAX is involved in investing, leasing and managing computing facilities in Asia for cryptocurrency mining. Shares in Fatfish jumped over 20 percent, to an intraday high of 10 cents. APAX Mining will set up its first computing farm in Malaysia to take advantage of the relatively lower electricity tariff for industrial use in the country. Fatfish recently invested in Kryptos-X, a cryptocurrency exchange, and Altairian Holdings.
Cryptocurrency firm Ripple in talks with MAS
Cryptocurrency firm Ripple's CEO Brad Garlinghouse said the company is among the firms that have held early talks to be part of the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) experiment in cross-border payments using blockchain technology. Ripple offers blockchain technology to banks looking to speed up cross-border payments at low costs. Garlinghouse said a bank could sell greenbacks into Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency in seconds, and then quickly convert XRP into another currency such as Singapore dollars. XRP was the best performer of the lot
In 2017, gaining more than 300-fold. It surged last year after three Japanese credit card firms said they would
adopt Ripple's technology.
Jim Rogers predicts gloomy future for cryptocurrencies, warns it will become “state money”
Billionaire American investor Jim Rogers predicted "sustainable" growth in the global digital currency market, but he warned that cryptocurrencies would eventually become state money controlled by government officials. In a video interview from his residence in Singapore, he pointed to the widespread use of digital payment especially in China. Rogers has invested a "very small" amount of money in the sector. "The internet is going to change money and everything we know," Rogers said. Rogers co-founded the Quantum Fund and is currently chairman of Rogers Holdings and Beeland Interests, "It's not good for the world that governments have so much power because governments certainly don't know what they are doing," he said.
DBS CEO does not foresee a takeover by virtual currencies
The head of DBS, Singapore’s biggest bank, sees no fundamentals supporting the likes of bitcoin and little possibility of virtual currencies replacing real money. Piyush Gupta, the Chief Executive Officer of DBS said, "No sovereign will ever allow cryptocurrency to take over." He compared the current environment to the oft-quoted Dutch tulip bulb craze of the 1630s. Gupta, however, feels that digital currencies created by central banks may gain importance and complement physical currencies.
Experts issue warnings against free bitcoin mining apps
Cryptocurrency experts advise that participating in free mobile games that claim to allow players to mine for bitcoins could land the players in scams. Associate Professor Robert Kimmel, head of the Department of Finance at the National University of Singapore Business School, doubts that a smartphone has adequate processing power to mine bitcoin. One player who played a “referral” game for one to two months said he uninstalled it because it was like multi-level marketing. The co-founder of a cryptocurrency community group says the games usually ask for a fee when it's time to cash out. He added that there might not even be real bitcoins involved.
Crypto EXPO 2018 Asia in October
Crypto EXPO Asia 2018 at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Center will host crypto experts. blockchain, cryptocurrency and initial coin offering (ICO) companies this Oct. 25-26. About 50 speakers and over 3,000 attendees are expected to visit the exhibitions, panels, shows, lucky draws, prizes and live performances. ICO and White Paper projects, digital advertising, public relations and marketing, ICO due diligence, global capital markets, mining as actual business, blockchain and the crypto-currency future will be on display. The event is organized by FINEXPO.
This online mall accepts only MGX and bitcoin cash
Singapore-based MegaX introduced the first-of-its-kind global millennial online mall, having raised S$ 3.27 million from a token sale concluded November 2017. Called Megaxstore.com, its visitors have access to over 1,500 global brands and 80,000 products. A concierge service provides shoppers with unique holiday experiences, such as exotic stays in Irish castles, silver mines, airplane fuselages and ice hotels. MegaX hopes ultimately MGX, the native currency, will be the cryptocurrency of choice for millennial to earn, spend and transact with. Megaxstore.com is piloting a rollout by accepting Bitcoin Cash. MegaX is a partnership between iFashion Group and MC Payment.
Monaco Sponsors 2018 Money20/20 Asia in Singapore
Monaco, a payments and cryptocurrency platform, will be a lead sponsor of the inaugural Money20/20 Asia – a global Payments and FinTech event - that will take place in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre from March 13-15. Kris Marszalek, co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Monaco said, "We are keen to be a part of this event as the first Monaco Visa cards will be launched in Singapore.” Monaco will host a reception for speakers and sponsors on March 12 at The Fullerton Bay Hotel. With the Monaco app, users will be able to buy and exchange fiat and cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ethereum, and Monaco's MCO token.
Successful ICOs need backing from strategic partners
Mike Kayamori, chief executive officer and co-founder of Quoine, is bullish on the prospects of the initial coin
offering (ICO) market. He pointed out that it’s crucial for strategic buyers who can be long-term holders to come into the round. As for equity tokens and utility tokens, he believes they need to be separated. “With Quoine LIQUID, you are likely to see both listings, utility tokens as well as equity tokens,” he says. Kayamori is pleasantly surprised that the Monetary Authority of Singapore is taking a similar route as the Japan FSA, which is targeted at how people are using cryptocurrencies, rather than from a derivatives, commodities or forex perspective. ICO is becoming a self-regulating capital-raising exercise and that's a good thing, he said.
Bitcoin sold out after prices dive below S$ 13,200
Despite the bitcoin price drop amid news that more governments are planning to tighten the reins on digital currency
trading and warnings from global regulators, some investors seized the opportunity to snap up cryptocurrency on Jan 18 when prices fell more than 23 per cent. Bitcoin machines at Ducatus Cafe in Robinson Road and Tiong Bahru Plaza were sold out on that day. Bitcoin Exchange founder Zann Kwan, who owns two machines at Tiong Bahru and Hong Lim Complex, noted it was nothing compared with the frenzy last month. The Monetary Authority of Singapore responded that “regulations will extend to the exchange of virtual currency for fiat currency, or another virtual currency.”
Dating services firm Lunch Actually to launch ICO for AI venture
Co-founders of dating and matchmaking agency Lunch Actually, Violet Lim and Jamie Lee, plan to raise about S$ 22 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) for their newest venture, Viola.AI. The primary agent is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) interface which will not only match potential couples, but also track their progress after they start dating. This means suggesting places for dinner, reminding them of dates, or giving advice on relationship problems. Lee said that it is “probably the first company in the world” to use AI and blockchain when providing dating and relationship solutions.
OceanChain Launches Blockchain-powered Maritime Services Platform
OceanChain Foundation announced the launch of its new platform, which uses blockchain technology to support and simplify maritime trade. Offerings include:
-- A blockchain-powered currency, Ocash, for settlement of cross-border transactions, or transactions in international
waters with an upper limit of 10 billion units
-- Ecommerce trading platform providing access to goods and services, such as fuel
-- Financial services for the maritime industry
The platform is designed to support transactions across the maritime industry lifecycle, from transactions involving fish produce or fisheries services, to maritime satellite communications, to maritime insurance, to financial services such as supply chain financing, etc. It can also support trade in auxiliary services.
Integral Expands Cryptocurrency Market Data Services
Integral (www.integral.com), a financial technology partner that designs, delivers and grows the FX businesses of banks, brokers, and investment managers, has expanded its market data offering to include 14 cryptocurrencies connecting to all major exchange sources across the U.S., Europe and Asia including Japan and Hong Kong.
The Market Data Service uses algorithms developed with Stanford University for Integral FX Benchmark to provide precise reference prices for cryptocurrencies. The service will also soon make available a real-time consolidated order book across all 16 exchanges via its market data network.
Ink releases blockchain-based IP solutions for creative industry
Ink, created by the Ink Labs Foundation, is set to become content creators' blockchain-supported platform and the first comprehensive ecosystem that links the global creative marketplace. It features the world's first intellectual property (IP) blockchain. Qtum-based Intellectual Property Asset Exchange is a key application of the blockchain, which includes a talent scout system, a commercialization system and a smart contracts payment system.
A Sovereign Consortium Blockchain integrates with the Exchange and uses a digital certificate mechanism to release identification and permission control. Ink had received a million-dollar angel investment in Spring 2017.
Funding Societies hits S$100m in crowdfunded loans for SMEs
Funding Societies, a Singapore-based peer-to-peer (p2p) lending platform, has cracked the S$100-million
mark in total crowdfunded loans for SMEs (small and medium enterprises) across Singapore, Indonesia and
Malaysia. This is the highest crowdfunded amount achieved by any p2p lending platform in South-east Asia,
Funding Societies said. The platform also reportedly expanded its crowdfunding book by 400 per cent in 2017, while maintaining a default rate of 1.5 per cent. In August 2016, Funding Societies raised S$10 million in Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital for expansion into Indonesia and Malaysia.
Mining rigs selling fast at Sim Lim Square
At least five shops at Sim Lim Square are selling ready-made computing machine rigs used to facilitate transactions in Bitcoin and other digital currencies. These “mining rigs” are composed of gaming computer components such as graphics processing unit (GPU) cards, as well as a motherboard and cables. The entire set up costs a minimum of S$3,000 each, and are put together so that miners no longer have to assemble their own machines out of separate components. Currently, users in Singapore prefer to mine ethereum as it is easier to mine. While regular desktop computers can be used to mine cryptocurrencies, serious miners will turn to the rigs which have greater computing power.