Philippine​ central bank gives approval to two more crypto exchanges

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The central bank of Philippine has given approval to two new cryptocurrency exchanges Virtual Currency Philippines, Inc. and ETranss to carry out the conversion of Philippine pesos (PHP) into virtual digital currencies. This approval brings a total number of crypto exchanges to 5 in the country.

Among the developing countries, Philippine has been quite vocal in its support of crypto ecosystem in the country. This attitude of the government can be attributed to the countries dependence on the remittances. Cryptos provide a cheaper and faster means to send money from abroad and considering that Filipinos sent $7.8 billion home in the first quarter of 2018, the saving can be huge for the local economy.

Earlier in July, the government gave nod for establishing a Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) in the northern part of the Philippines which will be supporting 25 cryptocurrency exchanges with friendly regulations and tax policy.

The countries crypto startups were also fairing better than the traditional financial institutions. Crypto app raised $10 million from Naspers and were among the 10 most used application with around 5 million registered users.

Probably the government has sensed that due to large Filipino diaspora a well-developed crypto ecosystem will serve the economy well, due to lower transaction fees and faster transfer than the traditional fiat-fiat conversion. For instance, money changers charge around 10 percent of the net amount being converted from dollar to peso and this does not account for the currency markups which can add another 3 percent.




Kyber network introduces token-to-token swap

Buying a token from a ERC-20 decentralized exchange is still not seamless. Anybody buying token through ERC-20 decentralized exchanges has to first wrap ETH and then convert to the respective token. Besides this token can’t be directly converted to other ERC-20 compliant token without first converting to ETH. For instance, if a user wants to buy Request Network (REQ) token, the user will first have to Wrap ETH and then buy REQ token with the wrapped ETH. Besides if a user wants to convert the REQ token to some other ERC-20 compliant token like Kyber network (KNC) the user will have to first convert REQ to ETH and then repeat the whole process. To rectify this issue Kyber network has introduced token-to-token swap in its new upgrade. So no wrapping ETH or converting existing non ETH token to ETH for buying another token. The user can simply swap REQ to KNC directly. The upgrade has definitely reduced the headaches for trading token, though the cost-effectiveness of this upgrade is still not quantified by Kyber network.

Benson Oak launches new fund focussed towards Isreali based blockchain​ startups

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Benson Oak has set up a $100 million fund to invest in Israeli based blockchain startups. It has already raised $25 million for the said fund and the rest to be raised soon as reported by Jerusalem Post. Benson oak’s first fund was an early investor in the internet security firm AVG which generated 100x return for its investors when the company went public.

According to its managing partner Robert Cohen, Benson oak already have an existing relationship with Israeli startups. An excerpt below:

“I believe that there are great entrepreneurs in Israel who are leading the platforms of the future, with creating and disruptive use of blockchain technologies,” he said. “I moved to Israel six years ago, and with a passion to build companies, I have established Benson Oak Ventures as a new platform to provide financial and operational capital to the best entrepreneurs in Israel and around the world.”

Benson has almost raised $5 billion since 2003, and its bullishness in Israeli blockchain space is aligned with the Israeli government’s stance on the sector. The Israeli government has been supportive with its regulation towards the blockchain space, and Benson Oaks expect the twin benefit of Israeli startup ecosystem and governments hand-on stance towards the sector to generate above-market returns for its investors.

Bitmain valued at $12 billion in new series B funding round

Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 21.47.48.pngAccording to the Chinese news outlet Caixin, Bitmain has raised around $400 million in series B funding, valuing the mining giant at $12 billion. The new funding round has been led by Sequoia Capital China, Coatue as well as EDBI, a Singapore government-backed investment fund.

It has to be noted that Bitmain raised around $50 million last year in series A funding which was led by Sequoia Capital China and IDG Capital.

The report also mentions that Bitmain is conducting pre IPO funding and can go public on the Hong Kong stock exchange in future. Though there have been no confirmed reports from Bitmain or the investors involved about this funding round.

If the listing news is true, then this would be the third major stock listing from a Chinese crypto mining hardware company. Canaan Creative and Ebang Communication have both filed IPO applications with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Binance to rake in $1 billion in 2018

Despite the rout in cryptocurrency market, Binance is slated to register a profit of between $500 million to $1 billion in FY 2018. According to Binance chief executive Changpeng Zhao, it recorded revenue of $300 million in the first half of this year. As of now, the platform is having an average daily turnover of $1.5 billion with around 10 million registered users. It has also opened an office in Uganda and Malta where it is providing crypto to fiat trading.

Binance started operation in July 2017 after raising $15 million through an initial coin offering. During the peak of the bitcoin price, last December binance was processing around $11 billion worth of trades.

Source Bloomberg