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Fidelity Investments Launches Crypto Custody Service

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Fidelity Investments Launches Crypto Custody Service
Fidelity Investments Launches Crypto Custody Service

American financial services company Fidelity Investments has fully launched its cryptocurrency custody service. Abigail Johnson, CEO of Fidelity Investments, revealed the development in an interview with the Financial Times published on Oct. 18. Johnson said that the company is ready to roll out its crypto custody business following a year-long preparation and accumulation of clients.

Last fall, Fidelity specifically indicated that it would provide an enterprise-grade crypto custody service to hedge funds, family offices, and financial advisors. Johnson called that kind of service nascent and not developed, but noted its potential, saying:

“There are people out there with significant amounts of wealth in cryptocurrencies, probably Bitcoin, and they’re looking for somebody to hold those coins for them because in the event of their passing — which is going to happen at some point or another — you’ve got to have a plan to be able to get those coins to somebody else.”

Speaking about Coinbase’s custody offering, Johnson argued that Coinbase “is still a company that most people had never heard of, and they don’t have the existing relationships with the independent advisers.”

As previously reported, Coinbase Custody was initially announced in November 2017 and launched in July 2018, to provide robust security of crypto assets, which according to Coinbase has been institutional investors’ “‘number one concern.” As of August, Coinbase Custody claimed to store assets on behalf of more than 120 clients in 14 different countries.

Recently, Kathleen Murphy, personal investing president of Fidelity Investments, said that the firm does not offer cryptocurrencies on retail trading platforms to protect its clients. When asked when she expects users to trade crypto “in a meaningful way” on Fidelity’s platform, Murphy replied:

“You know, we’re really careful about that. So while we embrace crypto in terms of trying to understand it and be innovative and thoughtful… We’re also very careful about where we offer those types of things, so they’re not offered broadly on the retail platform. We want to be very careful about making sure that investors who really aren’t institutional investors […] don’t make a mistake with cryptocurrency.”

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Chinese Media Warns of Companies Fraudulently Claiming Blockchain

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Chinese Media Warns of Companies Fraudulently Claiming Blockchain

Chinese state media has reported that local companies seem to be claiming to be using blockchain technology to boost their stock prices. Multiple firms have made statements saying that they are exploring blockchain technology. However, only a handful can prove it.

The report is reminiscent of previous incidents outside of China. During the culmination of the 2017 bull run, companies enjoyed spectacular stock increases off the back of a supposed interest in blockchain technology.

The Hottest Tech in China: Blockchain Endorsement Inspires Fake Company Claims

According to a report in the Chinese publication Global Times, the state-owned Xinhua News Agency has warned against companies fraudulently claiming to have adopted blockchain technology. More than 500 of the over 3,000 listed companies say that they are using or working on blockchain systems. However, only 40 of them can back up their claims.

Speaking with Global Times, an adviser for the China Securities Regulatory Commission, Dong Shaopeng, said that companies making such claims fraudulently could face reprimands from stock exchanges, including fines and delistings.

The apparent explosion in blockchain activity in China follows the government officially endorsing the technology last month. NewsBTC has reported on numerous developments in the nation since president Xi Jinping made statements encouraging the adoption of blockchain tech in October.

The Chinese media report is reminiscent of the case of Long Blockchain, formerly Long Island Iced Tea. In 2017, the latter company rebranded, claiming to have switched focus from beverages to the blockchain. It’s stock price immediately soared on the news.

However, it was revealed that the company had made little progress towards its blockchain ambitions. Later still, it was delisted from the Nasdaq stock exchange, before being branded a “pump and dump” scheme by the FBI.

The agency discovered that two individuals profited massively by trading the rebrand. The pair were previously under investigation for securities fraud involving another company, Kelvin Medical. Information linking Oliver Lindsay and Gannon Giguiere to Long Blockchain was found on an iPhone seized as part of the Kelvin Medical case.

Although there are large numbers of companies lacking evidence supporting their claims to be exploring blockchain technology in China today, there are many examples in which Chinese institutions and firms are indeed adopting the technology. The sudden state-level interest has prompted some in the cryptocurrency industry to claim that the endorsement is bullish for all things blockchain – including digital assets like Bitcoin.

Despite its newfound interest in the technology underpinning them, the Chinese government is clearly much less keen on decentralized, public cryptocurrencies. It was repeatedly warned against public speculation on digital assets. Why the nation’s apparent new love of blockchain might not pan out so well for cryptocurrency after all.

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Hahn Air to Issue World’s First Blockchain and Cryptocurrency-Based Flight Tickets

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Hahn Air to Issue World’s First Blockchain and Cryptocurrency-Based Flight Tickets

Hahn Air, a Dreieich, Germany-based company offering scheduled and charter flights, has become the world’s first airline to issue tickets using blockchain.

The move comes after Hahn Air entered a strategic partnership with open-source travel distribution platform Winding Tree, whose homegrown blockchain platform will be used in the new ticket-issuance system.

Hahn Air Will Accept Cryptocurrency Payments

The new system acquired by Hahn Air is multi-dimensional and offers several utilities including an efficient listing of inventories, timely management of reservation requests, and payment processing.

Another big element in this new offering is that Hahn Air customers can now book their tickets using cryptocurrencies, in addition to conventional payment methods including cash and credit card.

More specifically, the airline will be accepting Ether and LIF, the latter being the native token on Winding Tree’s blockchain. As of this writing, Lif is trading at $0.09747249 with a market cap of just over $2 million and a daily average transaction of just under $650.

Hahn Air Blockchain

There are no official words yet on whether Hahn Air plans on accepting other popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin in the foreseeable future. Given Bitcoin’s high volatility, however, it might not make the smartest mode transaction for purchasing air tickets — although it can’t be said that ETH is immune from that problem.

For those not familiar with the company, Hahn Air currently offers charter and scheduled flights only within Europe. Besides its primary role as an airline, the company also offers distribution solutions for travel agents.

Secure and Efficient Ticket Booking Using Blockchain

Without delving much into technical nitty-gritty, the airline assured users that the new blockchain platform will lead to reduced cost and a greater range of travel options.

The underlying technology of the new system is 100% secure, said Jörg Troester, Hahn Airhead of corporate strategy and government & industry affairs, in a conversation with ZDNet.

He further emphasized that because of the inherent tamper-proof characteristic of decentralized distributed ledgers, the data stored on the Winding Tree blockchain will remain secure under a trustless system.

Hahn Air Blockchain

According to Reuters, the first fliers to use these new blockchain-issued tickets include Frederick Nowotny, head of sales engineering at Hahn Air, Maksim Izmaylov, founder Winding Tree; and Dave Montali, chief information officer of Winding Tree.

The new system is yet to be integrated into the airline’s commercial system. Any further step along that direction will only be taken after a thorough analysis of the maiden flight taken by the Hahn Air and Winding Tree top-executives.

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Institutional Investors Want These 3 Things Before Jumping Into Crypto

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Institutional Investors Want These 3 Things Before Jumping Into Crypto

At a panel titled “Unlocking Yield In Cryptocurrency Assets — Encouraging Institutions To Enter The Industry,” a number of crypto leaders shared their thoughts on how to make emergent financial technology accessible to mainstream financial entities. Speakers included Jasper Lee, Managing Director at eToro Group Asia; Justin Chow, Head of Business Development Asia for Cumberland; Saharan Nair, Chief Business Officer at CoinSwitch; and Ben Zhou, co-founder, and CEO at Bybit.

Moderated by DataDash founder Nicholas Merten, the panel covered the role of institutional investors within the crypto world and the challenges these investors face in entering the crypto space.

Justin Chow kicked things off, saying:

“Custody, liquidity, and regulations are the top three petitions from institutional investors jumping into crypto.”

The other panelists agreed that these are essential catalysts, suggesting that institutional interest in crypto investing is growing day by day.

Another high point of the debate occurred when Merten asked the panelists which countries are making the best effort to adopt cryptocurrencies. Jasper Lee said, “Which country is better really depends on what kind of business you want to focus on. For example, if you are in retail, you won’t go to Hong Kong. You would probably pick island licenses.”

Ben Zhou added: “From an exchange perspective, we are focused on retail clients. We are registered in the British Virgin Islands and have our headquarters in Singapore — the Singaporean government is open to crypto and blockchain technology. But I would love to see a framework in the US, at least on how to get a proper license so that we can actually get into the market. We know it’s a huge market, but we can’t touch it.”

Saharan Nair added that regulators have to make cryptocurrencies easy to use: “Regulations have to be designed for what the user wants and needs.”

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