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Fintech A.M.: 20.12.17

Distributed ledger technology and cryptocurrencies just cannot stay out of the headlines. Behind the hype of bitcoin there is real potential for DLT to revolutionize financial services and data security. When there is definitely important bitcoin news, we have dug a bit deeper to bring you even more.

Bitcoin

It is now possible to pay for your rubbish bin collection with bitcoin, that is if your rubbish collector is Business Waste in the UK. The company is the first in the world to accept bitcoin payments. In their press release, the company said, “Individuals and companies are trading in Bitcoin and other virtual currencies all over the world, so of course we’re going to accept it from our customers.”

Bitcoin proved its power over Litecoin yesterday, as Litecoin reached an all time high, valued at 360 USD. The cryptocurrency settled around 350 USD. The speculated relationship between the two cryptocurrencies has been demonstrated. Another factor in the value boost for Litecoin is the sustained interest in crypto, reported Forbes.

Other cryptocurrencies

Crypto Finance, a Swiss cryptocurrency investment firm, has raised 13 million euros to apply for a Swiss banking license. The company is only 6 months old but is cash-flow positive. With a banking license, Crypto Finance will allow the company to provide customers with a full range of financial services.

The government in Estonia announced earlier this year its estcoin project. The government backed startup responsible for the project, E-Residency, has published an extensive article which explains three possible futures for the estcoin. It will be a crypto token, as Estonia’s only currency is the euro, a requirement of their EU membership. The token will be launched as an ICO.

When looking back at a review of this year’s cryptocurrency hacks, PYMNTS noticed a trend: North Korea. Cryptocurrency trading in South Korea has become a target because South Korea is one of the biggest cryptocurrency trading hubs.

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

The blockchain-based P2P insurtech startup InsurePal has launched an ICO. To do so, the Lichtenstein-based company has partnered with the smart contract start-up Mattereum.

The cryptocurrency block.one has raised 700 million USD. This one of the largest ICOs of 2017, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, the token made headlines because it “has no purpose.” A purchase agreement that investors must sign states the tokens “do not have any rights, uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features.'”Nevertheless, investors a buying due to a belief in block.one’s project: the company is building software comparable to Windows by Microsoft, but where the development of the platform is left to third parties.

Much of this crypto news shows cryptocurrencies creeping into the new normal. It will be interesting to follow the development of cryptocurrencies from niche to mainstream. Possibilities abound. When companies like Business Waste start accepting payments, it justifies the estcoin project and give legitimacy to the hype in the media surrounding crypto. No doubt crypto will heavily feature in tomorrow’s news as well.

By Grace Appleford, Research Analyst for Holland FinTech.

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