JP Morgan’s Stablecoin: A Feat of Engineering or Marketing?

Ben Jessel is head of enterprise blockchain at Kadena, a next-generation blockchain company offering both public and private blockchain solutions. 

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The world of blockchain and banking was set alight last month by the announcement that JP Morgan has created its own stablecoin. It was a rare move that has simultaneously excited the banking and enterprise blockchain community as well those in the cryptocurrency world. But is this excitement justified?

The story, as with most blockchain developments, isn’t so clear-cut. It has certainly been the case lately that when JP Morgan innovates (especially around blockchain) the market listens with interest.

In the last few weeks, blockchain innovation managers’ phones across Wall Street investment banks have been ringing with executives inquiring about JP Morgan’s stablecoin and how they should be responding.

Banking is where blockchain began, and over several years has started to gain adoption, albeit at a far slower pace than industry observers were expecting. Many institutions have committed to being “fast followers,” leaving a handful of institutions to be the first to embrace the cutting-edge technology – and its expensive mistakes. When a purported technological breakthrough occurs – as JP Morgan’s announcement suggests, those on the sidelines start to question whether now is the time to jump in and be first in the fast-follower line.

Upon first examination, the JPM coin development is exciting; it signals a major Wall Street organization – one whose CEO had expressed open skepticism to cryptocurrencies – beginning to blur the lines between institutional banking and the brave new world of cryptocurrency.

However, the reality is more complicated.

What JP Morgan has achieved is more a feat of marketing than one of technological innovation. To see why, we need to understand the primary objective and the benefit of a stablecoin.

What, how and why?

JP Morgan’s stablecoin seeks to solve two problems in financial markets today: the expensive and inefficient process of settlement and the volatility involved in holding money in cryptocurrency.

Settlement is the process of paying crediting and debiting bank accounts between financial institutions in exchange for the transferring of a security, such a stock, bond or derivative. With over $1.6 quadrillion being settled by the DTCC a year, settlement is a major aspect of financial markets.

And settlement for banks today is an expensive business for many reasons.

For one, payments are rarely made in real-time, which means that in many cases funds that should be paid are not actually made available until the end of the day. In some cases, money isn’t available until days later. When billions of dollars are tied up and cannot be put to good use, it ends up being an expensive and wasteful liquidity trap. For instance, syndicated commercial loans can take an average of seven days to settle.

This settlement challenge becomes compounded when considering global banks with complex operations.

A large multinational bank may simultaneously be in credit to a counterparty one in country, and in debt for the same amount to the same counterparty in another. Because banking operations are so broad and complex, these banks often are not able to “net out” their position – they will hold collateral to pay for a debt or exposure. So, not only are banks holding on to debts and not receiving credits for a day and sometimes multiple days, they also may be holding onto collateral for debts that they do not realize they do not actually have.

Furthermore, maintaining pockets of liquidity across different countries in anticipation of the need for settlement (or “float”) can be costly too as often this money sits idly by in reserve.

Banks adopting the casino model

Blockchain offers the opportunity to reduce settlement time and costs, and enable institutions to be able to settle instantaneously as opposed to at the end of each day (or longer in the case of equities) by settling in digital cash rather than crediting and debiting each other’s accounts at the end of the day.

This digital cash is often referred to as a “settlement coin.” A good analogy is to consider the use of gambling chips at a casino in Las Vegas.

On the strip, the major casinos have an agreement to honor the chips of all other’s chips – enabling someone to exchange $100 into chips at the Bellagio, use them to play roulette at the Venetian, and then cash out at the MGM Grand. In the case of financial institutions, the chip is a digital cash in the form of a “settlement coin.”

Instead of paying at the end of the day by crediting and debiting an actual account, a balance is held in these digital tokens, with each trade that occurs simultaneously leading to the trading of these chips. At any point, each bank can “cash in” these settlement tokens on a one for one basis for actual cash.

The benefits include reducing settlement complexity, speeding up settlement time and providing the ability to better manage “intra-day” liquidity, which means they can put their assets to work in a more efficient way and make them more money.

One such initiative is the Utility Settlement Coin, which is a UBS backed innovation that projects annual industry savings of $65 and $80 million.

The scourge of digital money

One of the challenges facing digital money concerns volatility: the rate that digital money can be exchanged for can fluctuate significantly due to aspects like demand and “market events.”

Bitcoin has been significantly volatile, having run up from $2,000 to over $19,000 before crashing down to $3,000 all within the space of the year. This makes holding money in digital cash a risky proposition and not something that banks would have the appetite to do.

This has resulted in the innovation of the stablecoin, which is a mechanism whereby digital cash can be “pegged” to the value of an asset, which is always redeemable at a fixed price. For example, a US dollar pegged stablecoin will always be redeemable for one USD.

However, stablecoins also have issues. A stablecoin can only be pegged if there are sufficient assets and reserves behind it.

In the same way that George Soros famously broke the bank of England, with enough financial firepower, it is possible to break the peg of a stablecoin. Also, stablecoins have been in tarnished with scandal, most recently with a project called Tether which may not have had the financial reserves that it claimed to have.

Putting the pieces together

JP Morgan’s stablecoin neatly connects the dots between the aspects of settlement and volatility management by providing digital cash that can be used and enabling the ability to redeem the coin at a stable rate.

While this may sound like a significant achievement, all JP Morgan’s stablecoin actually provides is the ability for a counterparty to be paid by JP Morgan in exchange to being provided a digital certificate.

It is actually the anathema to the idea of creating an ecosystem whereby all participants can utilize a universally accepted and redeemable digital cash. Instead, it is a mechanism where JP Morgan will redeem a token, that it issues on its platform only. This is akin to only being able to buy, gamble and cash in your gambling chips at the Venetian casino.

And far from being a technology innovation, this is something that at its most fundamental is old technology masquerading as a new innovation. At its most fundamental, JP Morgan is promising to credit the account of a user when presented with a digital certificate that has a redemption value of a dollar.

The ability to digitally invoke the payment mechanisms of a bank has existed for some time – it is called an API, where an API (or Application Programmable Interface) is merely a way of digitally interacting with an online service such as a payment processing interface of a bank.

But that doesn’t mean JP Morgan’s innovation should be dismissed. Any innovation in the blockchain for financial services – a world of anachronistic business processes and notoriously old technology, where a fax machine still is considered a vital part of how business is done today – should be cautiously applauded.

So, keep up the good work JP Morgan. The industry is rooting for you.

JP Morgan image via Shutterstock

Financial Historian Niall Ferguson: ‘I Was Very Wrong’ About Bitcoin

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Renowned Oxford-educated British financial historian Niall Ferguson, a man named in 2004 as one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, has admitted that he was “very wrong” to think that Bitcoin would “turn out to be a complete delusion.”

Ferguson, who has taught at Cambridge, Oxford, and Harvard, published in 2008 the book “The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World”. This was later adapted for television as a five-part documentary that won the 2009 International Emmy award for Best Documentary.

Currently, Dr. Ferguson is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution (part of Stanford University), “a public policy think tank promoting the principles of individual, economic, and political freedom,” and a senior fellow of the Center for European Studies, Harvard.

Ferguson’s latest comments about Bitcoin reportedly came on Tuesday (March 5th) evening while speaking at a dinner as part of the Australian Financial Review Business Summit (held March 5–6 at Hilton Hotel in Sidney, Australia):

“I was very wrong. Wrong to think there was no […] use for a form of currency based on blockchain technology.”

On 12 October 2017, Ferguson published a blog post titled “Bitcoin may go pop, but its revolution will go on”, in which he explained how “alarmists warning of a collapse miss crypto-currencies’ true potential.” Here, he told the story of how on 7 October 2014, he had made the “worst investment decision” of his life by ignoring the advice of his then 15-year-old son to “buy some bitcoin.” 

He told his son that putting money into something “based on some weird thing called blockchain technology” was a foolish financial investment, that “since ancient Mesopotamia, money has tended to be monopolised by states,” and that “the governments of the world are not about to let their monopolies on national currencies be undermined by a currency that’s already being used for nefarious purposes by criminals and money launderers.”

At that time, the price of Bitcoin was $334, and on 12 October 2017, when he created this blog post, it was $15,150:

“If I had listened to my son, I would have increased the dollar value of my investment by a factor of 45 — or, if you prefer, I’d have made a return on the investment of 4,436%… The moral of the story is clear: when it comes to technology, pay heed to teenagers.”

Another interesting observation that Ferguson made in that article was that he should have taken American economist Dr. Paul Krugman’s September 2014 dismissal of “bitcoin fever” as the product of “libertarian anti-government fantasies” as a signal to buy Bitcoin since “this was the same Krugman who in 1998 predicted that ‘the growth of the internet [would] slow drastically’ as ‘most people have nothing to say to each other’.”

He also wrote back in October 2017 that even if the crypto bubble burst, he could see “at least three other uses” for blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies: 

  • “… bitcoin has established itself as a kind of digital gold: a store of value for wealthy investors, especially those located in countries with weak rule of law and high political risk.”
  • “… ‘initial coin offerings’ that raise money in bitcoin and another big crypto-currency, ethereum, have emerged as a quick and easy way to finance innovation — a digital alternative to issuing shares.”
  • “… because blockchains are a near-unhackable, cryptographic method for preserving data across a computer network, they can be used for a whole variety of transactions.”

Now, going back to Ferguson’s remarks on the evening of March 5th, he also spoke about Bitcoin’s price correction from an all-time high of almost $20,000 in December 2017 to almost $4,000 in March 2019, noting that the price “remains a long way from zero”, and saying that he now doesn’t think that Bitcoin “will turn out to be a complete delusion.”

He also expressed skpeticism towards fiat-collateralized cryptocurrencies (such as Tether), although it is worth noting that last month, he joined as an advisor a crypto project called Ampleforth that is developing an algorithmic stablecoin.

Finally, talking more broadly, Ferguson predicted that the next decade would be “a truly revolutionary time” unlike the previous decade (where progress was impacted by the regulations introduced following the 2007–2008 financial crisis).

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pexels.com

Analyst: Bitcoin Is a Bull, High Possibility of $5,000 by May

With Bitcoin constantly testing a big resistance zone price predictions are coming thick and fast. The longer BTC stays below the $4,000 barrier the more likely a move to the downside will occur. Some analysts however think it could well move above this in the coming months.

Bitcoin in Bullish Territory, Above 0.5 Fib

Over the past week Bitcoin has been trading steadily higher above $3,900. However, BTC has failed to break this level since late February when it hit a monthly high of $4,200, but albeit very briefly. An intraday high of $3,950 was touched a few hours ago but Bitcoin fell back instantly to $3,875. Since then it has rapidly recovered back over $3,900 in the past couple of hours indicating bullish momentum.

Experienced trader and crypto analyst going by the twitter handle of ‘fil₿fil₿’ has produced another couple of charts to attempt a prediction at further moves for Bitcoin. He states that Bitcoin is a bull and has done enough to show this. The significant thing to note is that BTC has remained above the 0.5 Fibonacci level since February 18.

Market action shows repeated patterns recently with inverted head and shoulders being a common one. Three higher lows since December’s dump to $3,200 are also significant. BTC dips have been around $3,400, $3,650 and $3,800, each preceding one lower than the following. Other bullish signals include a MACD cross trending above zero and a Chaikin Money Flow (CMF) indicating strong buying pressure.

If Bitcoin breaks below $3,400 it would signal lower lows and more bearish action possibly sending it below $3,000 as many others have predicted.

 $5,000 a Major Psychological Level

If BTC remains above this key 0.5 Fib level it could turn bullish quickly which may result in a run up to $5,000 by May according to ‘fil₿fil₿’s charts. Just as $4k has been, $5k will also be a major psychological resistance level.

Other traders have predicted a longer term recovery, possibly by the end of 2019. Using the key long term 61.8 Fib retracement level Bitcoin could bounce off this at $5,000 only to dump again below $1,500 according to this rather extreme scenario.

fib 61.8

Chart from ‘jeremyluce’, Tradingview.

By October 2019 a breakout may occur sending BTC back through this down trend line and through $5,000 again by the end of the year. In 2020 the only way is up as another major bull run has initiated.

Price predictions are purely speculation based on previous market actions so should not be taken as gospel. The primary take from nearly all crypto analysts though is that there will be a trend reversal and it is likely to come at some time this year. Until then, happy hodling and accumulating.

Image from Shutterstock

Denver to Use Blockchain Technology for Municipal Elections in May 2019

Denver to Use Blockchain Technology for Municipal Elections in May 2019

Denver,  Colorado, has announced the implementation of a blockchain-based mobile voting pilot to enable overseas voters, active-duty military, and eligible residents to cast their votes using smartphones, according to a press release on March 7. 2019.

Denver Joins the Blockchain Bandwagon

In a bid to make it possible for those not present in the city during its May municipal elections to still cast their votes remotely, Denver has partnered with Tusk Philanthropies (TP), a platform that claims to be focused on advancing mobile voting and anti-hunger programs, to pilot a blockchain-powered mobile voting system.

Reportedly, the pilot will enable deployed active duty personnel and eligible overseas voters to cast their votes with their mobile devices wherever they may be.

The pilot will be conducted collaboratively by the City and County of Denver, the National Cybersecurity Center, Tusk Philanthropies, and Voatz, a blockchain portfolio company of Overstock.com.

Founded in 2014, Voatz is a mobile election voting system powered by military-grade smart biometrics, real-time ID verification, and blockchain technology.  

As stated on its website, since 2016, Voatz has reportedly facilitated more than 80,000 votes across more than 30 elections, and the platform has worked with major political parties, towns and cities and more. In 2018, the Voatz solution was used to conduct the West Virginia federal elections.

How Will it Work?

Per the team, eligible voters interested in using the system, are required to fill out an absentee ballot request, undergo the authentication procedure with the Voatz blockchain-based voting app, and submit their ballot for the elections from March 23 through May 7, 2019.

The system will also make it possible for voters to carry out the necessary paperwork straight from their secure mobile devices, without having to worry about scanning and printing their paperwork.

Commenting on the initiative, Vance Brown, CEO of National Cybersecurity Center, said that the application of blockchain in the electoral system promotes transparency and accuracy in the elections.

“Through the testing and continued adoption of new technologies, United States Citizens can one day cast their votes regularly using their mobile devices and blockchain solutions that are highly secure and more cost efficient than our current systems,” he added.

In September 2018, BTCManager informed that the Tsukuba had successfully implemented a blockchain-based voting system, making it the first city in the region to achieve such a milestone.

In related news, in January 2019, reports emerged that Thailand is making active plans to develop a blockchain-based voting system that would combine both traditional voting and e-voting mechanisms.

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Crypto Market Wrap: Quick Recovery From $3 Billion Dump, Chance For Further Gains?

Crypto markets recover from a mini dump; Stellar and Cardano holding up, BSV and Maker sliding, Kyber Network surging.

As we enter the weekend crypto markets are still consolidating but have recovered from a $3 billion dump a few hours ago. The majors have been largely motionless over the past 24 hours and total market capitalization is still holding above $130 billion. The lack of momentum could signal another big dump around the corner but the quick recovery is promising.

Bitcoin has hit $3,950 twice over the past day but the second move resulted in an instant dump back to $3,875. This resistance wall is proving very hard to overcome for BTC. In the past couple of hours it has managed to regain some steam to get it back over $3,900 but only just.

Ethereum continues to weaken and has dropped to $135, its lowest level since Tuesday. A rally was looking promising before markets followed Bitcoin’s bounce off resistance again. ETH has maintained its lead above XRP which has also declined a further 1.5% on the day.

The top ten is all red during Asian trading today aside from Stellar which has made almost 1.8% on the day taking XLM to $0.087. Litecoin has also posted a marginal gain as it reaches $57 and extends its lead over EOS which has lost over 2%. Tron is down 2.5% at the moment as its market cap continues to dwindle.

Altcoins in the top twenty are equally mixed with marginal movements at the time of writing. Cardano is still in the green but only just, the rest are flat or falling. Bitcoin SV, Maker, and Ethereum Classic have taken the biggest slides with losses of over 3% a piece at the moment.

FOMO: Kyber Network Cranking

Today’s big pump in the top one hundred is Kyber Network which has surged 75% as volume increases tenfold. Binance is getting a third of the global trade volume but South Koreans are also buying it up in KRW on Upbit and Bithumb at the moment with a combined 50%. It appears that a coin burn, roadmap update, and KyberDAO Voting Experiment has driven the fomo for KNC;

Project PAI is also on the fomo train with a 60% pump today as the alpha version of their PAIYO app gets launched. Enjin Coin is also going strong still adding 30% to reach $0.20.

At the messy end of the top one hundred altcoins are Nexo and Chainlink dropping 7% each. There are no major dumps occurring right now as most coins are still range bound.

Total market cap 24 hours. Coinmarketcap.com

Total market capitalization is still at $133 billion where it was this time yesterday. Markets are starting to recover from a $3 billion dump a few hours ago and daily volume has increased again to $34 billion. Crypto markets are only 2.3% higher than they were this time last Saturday but gains on the month are still an impressive 10%.

Market Wrap is a section that takes a daily look at the top cryptocurrencies during the current trading session and analyses the best-performing ones, looking for trends and possible fundamentals.

Most Popular Cryptocurrencies in India According to Exchanges

Most Popular Cryptocurrencies in India According to Exchanges

Several Indian crypto exchanges have shared data with news.Bitcoin.com on the most traded cryptocurrencies on their platforms so far this year. Crypto enthusiasts in India have been buying and selling a wide range of cryptocurrencies despite the central bank’s roadblock which stops crypto exchanges from accessing banking services.

Also read: Indian Government Confirms Cryptocurrency Regulation in Final Stages

BTC

The most-traded cryptocurrency year-to-date on Indian exchanges Wazirx, Coindcx, and Instashift is BTC. On Bitbns exchange, it is the third most-traded cryptocurrency this year. Wazirx facilitated $6.5 million worth of BTC trades between Jan. 1 and March 7. Coindcx swapped 792 BTC for its users in the same time period, while Instashift’s BTC trades accounted for 77.76% of its total buy volume and 67.58% of its total sell volume.

India’s Most Popular Cryptocurrencies According to Exchanges

The price of BTC has risen 4.28% year-to-date from $3,742 at the beginning of the year to $3,902 at the time of this writing. Its market cap currently stands at approximately $68.59 billion, which is roughly 51.65% of the total market cap of over 2,000 cryptocurrencies listed on Coinmarketcap.

ETH

ETH currently has the second-largest market cap of approximately $14.21 billion. The cryptocurrency is the second most-traded coin on Wazirx, with $2 million worth changing hands between Jan. 1 and March 7. It is the fourth most-traded coin on Instashift but did not make the top five coins by trading volume so far this year on Coindcx or Bitbns, according to data supplied to news.Bitcoin.com by the exchanges.

India’s Most Popular Cryptocurrencies According to Exchanges

The price of ETH only climbed 0.86% from $134.49 since the beginning of January to $135.64 at the time of writing.

XRP

XRP, the native coin of Ripple, is one of the top five cryptocurrencies with largest trading volumes on Wazirx, Coindcx, Instashift, and Bitbns so far this year. It is the third most-traded on Wazirx, with approximately $2 million worth of XRP changing hands since the beginning of the year. It is the fourth most-traded coin on Coindcx, with 456 BTC worth traded during the same time period. XRP is also the most-traded coin on Bitbns and the second most-traded one on Instashift, accounting for 9.31% of the latter’s total buy volume and 9.74% of its total sell volume.

India’s Most Popular Cryptocurrencies According to Exchanges

The price of XRP has fallen 12.78% from $0.354949 on Jan. 1 to $0.309570 at the time of this writing. The coin’s market cap is currently around $12.83 billion, which ranks it third highest of all cryptocoins.

TRX

Tron (TRX) ranks among the top five most-traded coins year-to-date on Wazirx, Coindcx, and Bitbns. Since the beginning of the year, around $1.7 million of TRX has changed hands on Wazirx and 423 BTC worth of the coin traded on Coindcx. In addition, another crypto exchange, Koinex, revealed on March 5 that TRX was the most popular digital asset of the week for its recently launched service, Express, which is an instant converter for over 200 crypto trading pairs.

India’s Most Popular Cryptocurrencies According to Exchanges

The price of TRX has surged 17.71% since the start of the year, from $0.019096 to $0.022477. Its market cap is currently $1.50 billion.

Last month, China’s Center for Information and Industry Development (CCID), under the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, began evaluating Tron’s blockchain and ranked it second among the 35 crypto projects it reviewed.

BTT

Newcomer Bittorrent token (BTT) is already among the top five coins traded on Wazirx and Coindcx. The former traded approximately $800,000 worth of the coin so far this year and the latter the equivalent of 559 BTC.

BTT began trading on Wazirx last month and quickly became a favorite among traders, the exchange revealed. A factor contributing to its popularity is likely the coin’s monthly airdrop for TRX holders on the 11th of every month, which Wazirx supports. Koinex also announced on Feb. 1 its support for the BTT airdrops.

India’s Most Popular Cryptocurrencies According to Exchanges

The BTT token is expected to be integrated into the Bittorrent platform as a way to incentivize faster downloads. Although the integration has not taken place, BTT’s price has climbed 43.02% from its $0.000516 price on Jan. 31 to $0.000738 at the time of this writing.

Coindcx also noted that its third most-traded coin this year is THETA and the sixth most-traded is BNB. On Bitbns, ADA, EOS, and NEO also top the list of most traded coins during the same time period.

Currently, the Indian crypto community is waiting for the government to announce its first set of crypto regulations and hoping for the banking ban by the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), to be lifted. The supreme court, on Feb. 25, gave the government four weeks to come up with a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies before it sets a date to hear the petitions against the RBI ban.

Which cryptocurrencies do you like? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not to be considered as trading or investment advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the trader.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Coinmarketcap.


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Kevin Helms

A student of Austrian Economics, Kevin found Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests lie in Bitcoin security, open-source systems, network effects and the intersection between economics and cryptography.





Philadelphia Passes Law to Steer away from Cashless Economy

Philadelphia Passes Law to Steer away from Cashless Economy

According to a Fortune report, published March 7, 2019, Philadelphia is poised to become the first major U.S. city to ban and penalize stores and restaurants that do not accept cash as a means of payment.

From Cash to Cashless to Cash

A cashless society is often viewed as the inevitable future for mankind. Various countries, especially Scandinavian ones, are already preparing themselves to transition from a cash-heavy society to a completely cashless one.

Sweden is famous for spearheading the cashless movement as the use of cash as a means of payment is “almost extinct” in the country. Cash has been replaced by more robust and advanced means of payments like cryptocurrencies, mobile wallets, and for some adrenaline seeking folks, implant chips.

However, the latest move by Philadelphia aims to make it mandatory for stores and retailers to accept cash. The city’s council, on February 15, 2019, passed a bill with 12 to 4 vote banning cashless brick-and-mortar stores.

Cashless stores in the city have time until July 1, 2019, to start accepting cash as a means of payment or pay fines as high as $2,000.

One of the reasons for such legislation, as explained by Councilman Bill Greenlee, is to ensure an equal playing field for people with no access to digital modes of payments. Greenlee argued that a city with a 26 percent poverty rate could not afford to become a cashless city.

His claim found footing in a recent survey held in the city which found that about six percent of Philadelphia’s population does not have access to banking services. It’s worth highlighting that although cash and coins are legal tender in the U.S., per the Federal Reserve’s website, no law mandates business to accept them.               

Impact on Businesses

The report by Forbes notes the legislation’s potential impact on new business ventures that accept payments only through app or card.

E-commerce behemoth Amazon will rethink their decision to open brick-and-mortar stores in Philadelphia, while Sweetgreen, a famous salad chain in the U.S., will also have a lot to worry about as their business model currently does not accept cash.

For all the benefits that a cashless society might bring, it also has its own set of cons which might not be viable in real life at all. Speaking of other states, Massachusetts already has a law in place that requires all stores to accept cash and credit for payment purposes.

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NEM Foundation Releases Restructuring Plan Amid Financial Difficulties

The NEM Foundation has released its plan for a financial and organizational restructuring on March 8. The plan comes in the wake of news earlier this year that the foundation was running low on its native XEM tokens.

On Feb. 20, the foundation decided to release 210 million XEM tokens ($8.7 million) from reserves, the first 25 million ($1.04 million) of which will be used “to set up processes and structures for a new product-focused, revenue-driven approach for NEM Foundation.” The new tokens will purportedly fund the NEM Foundation’s efforts through Feb. 2020.

In additionally to releasing new financing, the foundation will also examine certain roles at the company. The NEM Foundation purportedly ran into financial difficulties due to redundant roles, inconsistent success metrics, little accountability for funds and a questionable return on investments.

Per Friday’s announcement, the NEM Foundation will set up a “transformation task force” to work on short term goals including the development of weekly and monthly reporting structures for employees and a scorecard for grading employee performance.

While the foundation appeared to be facing the possibility of massive layoffs in January, the announcement states that SDK developers have been hired to expand its current SDKs to include Python, PHP and Unity in addition to the current Javascript and Java.

The NEM Foundation was founded in 2017, two years after the release of the XEM token, and is based in Singapore. The organization’s purpose is to “introduce, educate and promote the use of the NEM blockchain technology platform on an international scale to all industries and institutions,” according to its website.

At press time, XEM is trading at $0.0417, down 1.43 percent on the day, according to data from CoinMarketCap. The token’s market capitalization is currently over $375 million.

US Leads in Blockchain-Related Job Offerings Globally: Report

The United States is the world’s leader in blockchain-related jobs, according to a research by The NextWeb (TNW) published on March 8.

To prepare the report, TNW gathered information from job and recruiting site Glassdoor, finding all the job offerings that had the term “blockchain” in the job listing in countries around the world.

The results reportedly showed that the U.S. is leading the world in terms of blockchain-related jobs, having about half, or 2,616, of a total of 5,711 blockchain jobs listed on Glassdoor globally. The U.S. is followed by the United Kingdom, with 1,015 blockchain-related job ads, while India has taken the third place, with 257 vacancies.

Among the most common jobs posted on the site, “Blockchain Engineer” takes the lead. Such positions as “Senior Software Engineer” and “Blockchain Developer” are the second and third most popular job titles, respectively.

TNW also made a list of companies offering blockchain-related vacancies, wherein tech giant IBM reportedly offers the greatest number of blockchain jobs, and is followed by Big Four accounting firm Ernst & Young and software company Oracle.

In the top 10 companies, only three are reportedly related to digital currencies, which are Foris Limited, Crypto.com, and Wirex. Payment startup Ripple is on the 17th line, and blockchain software tech company ConsenSys is the 13th.

In February, recruitment company Hired released a report showing that the global demand for blockchain engineers is up by 517 percent year-over-year. The second-fastest growing software engineering role is security engineer, with 132 percent growth, and third is embedded engineer, up 76 percent. The blockchain engineer role also consistently stayed among the top-three most-paid software engineering jobs in the various cities covered in the report.

That same month, experts and industry players said that the adoption of blockchain technology is still in its early stages at the annual meeting of The Wall Street Journal CIO Network. Although enterprise blockchain technology has found its practical use, its new applications are not large scale, according to Christine Moy, executive director and head of the blockchain center of excellence at JPMorgan Chase.

German Financial Regulator Issues Paper on Blockchain Securities Regulation

The German Federal Ministry of Finance has published a key issues paper on the treatment and regulation of blockchain-based securities, according to a ministry announcement on March 8.

In the paper initially released on March 7, the regulator discusses the introduction of regulations for electronic securities and the issuance of crypto tokens. The document stipulates that the regulation of electronic securities should be technology-neutral, which means that they could be based on blockchain, or distributed ledger technology (DLT).

The issuance of crypto tokens purportedly will not be subject to existing market regulations since crypto tokens do not represent securities, investment or other financial instruments according to the Securities Trading Act. However, initial coin offering (ICO) of crypto tokens is put up for discussion in the paper as investing in crypto tokens purportedly poses risks for investors.

The announcements reads that, before proposing a draft bill on the subject, the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the Federal Ministry of Finance should come up with a comprehensive picture of the measures outlined in the key issues paper. The measures purportedly aim to strengthen the role of Germany as one of the leading fintech countries.

Recently, the chief executive body of the German government, the Cabinet of Germany, revealed that the country’s blockchain strategy will be introduced by mid-2019. The Cabinet stated that they will undergo an online consultation process prior to introducing the blockchain strategy. The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy are reportedly preparing the strategy, with the expectation that other relevant ministries will contribute at a later time.

Earlier today, Cointelegraph reported that Germany’s justice and finance ministries proposed to launch a state-run register to boost the use of blockchain to regulate the sector and protect investors from possible abuses. The guidelines also propose easing existing requirements, which assume that financial instruments must have tangible counterparts that can be purchased by investors.