Cashless Payments Giant Rakuten Pay App will Include Crypto Services
Japanese company Rakuten has made several changes to the Rakuten Pay app that will now include crypto services as well.
Japan is leading the cashless payments business with a slew of new announcements coming from the Far East every other day. Rakuten, a traditional finance company based in Japan, created ripples in the crypto industry when it released it’s Q4 2018 and full year earnings release on Feb. 12.
The company said that it is updating the Rakuten Pay app which will go live in March 2019. Moreover, the app will be developed to include crypto offerings via cryptocurrency exchange ‘Minna no Bitcoin’ (everybody’s bitcoin inc.), which was acquired by Rakuten in September 2018.
The app will bundle several features like Rakuten Card and other credit cards, Rakuten Edy, Rakuten Point Card barcode and other barcode & PR code payment functionality. In a bid to promote cashless payments, Rakuten is also making a big change in its stadium. In the 2019 season, the Noevir Stadium in Kobe and Rakuten Seimei Park in Miyagi will accept only cashless payments.
Rakuten also published a new company structure that will be enforced on April 1, 2019. The new structure will combine the traditional financial services by the company including securities, investments, insurance, and banking as subsidiaries under Rakuten Card.
How the cashless payment giant will shift its company structure starting April 2019. Norbert Gehrke Image.
Edy payment service and ‘Minna no Bitcoin’, a crypto exchange which was acquired in September 2018, will operate as Rakuten Payments. The ‘Minna no Bitcoin’ exchange will re-launch its services in April 2019. It was confirmed during the recent Japan Blockchain Week.
Cryptocurrency exchange “Minna no Bitcoin” (“Everybody’s Bitcoin”), acquired in September 2018, and due to re-launch its services in April 2019.
Rakuten’s recent move of bundling all of its financial and payments services within a holding company occurs when telecom giant KDDI is announcing a similar approach. The company is already a giant in Asia, and its new unified approach towards its business could herald a new era for digital financial payments, including digital currencies.
On its website, the company declares that its “70+ businesses span e-commerce, digital content, communications, and fintech, bringing the joy of discovery to more than 1.2 billion members across the world.”
According to its earnings report, Rakuten Bank reported more than 20% increase in deposits during fiscal 2018. The total deposits of the company totaled $22.5 billion, significantly higher than European challenger banks like N26 which totaled about $1.1 billion. However, Rakuten is still far behind Marcus, Goldman Sachs’ consumer financial services arm which received a total of $35 billion in deposits since inception.
Such companies bolstering cashless payments and implementing cryptocurrency-related solutions contribute to bringing the mass adoption and confirm the fact that decentralized solutions are spreading at an incredible pace.Source: cryptovibes.com
NEW LEDGER NANO X CAN PAIR WITH IPHONE VIA BLUETOOTH
Popular cryptocurrency hardware wallet company Ledger has revealed its latest device – the Ledger Nano X. The new device’s most characteristic new capability is that it will enable users to use Bluetooth to connect their mobile devices via the new Ledge Live mobile app.
BLUETOOTH ENABLED LEDGER WALLET
The popular manufacturer of cryptocurrency hardware wallets Ledger has revealed its latest product on Sunday at the CES conference – the Ledger Nano X.
The new device supports up to 100 cryptocurrencies, which is a notable increase compared to the Ledger Nano S. It also features a larger screen.
The most notable new feature, however, is the fact that users will be able to connect the wallet to mobile devices using the Ledger Live mobile app. The goal of the company is to increase mobility as hardware wallets typically connect over USB, which isn’t exactly mobile-friendly.
The Ledger Nano X costs $119 and it is already available for pre-order on the company’s official website. Shipping is set to start in March.
The Ledger Live app is already available for download for iOS, Windows, and Linux OS and it will be available for iOS and Android on January 28th.
The app will allow users to create new accounts or to import existing ones. It’s also supposed to make sending and receiving cryptocurrencies a lot easier while enabling users to monitor their portfolios from a single place.
Notes Eric Larchevêque, CEO at Ledger:
WHAT ABOUT SECURITY?
Hardware wallets typically connect over USB. As such, adding Bluetooth to the Nano X could be considered a bit controversial because a wireless connection can increase the risk of unauthorized access.
According to the official website, however, the device offers top-notch security, isolating the user’s private keys inside a certified secure element (CC EAL 5+). This is the same chip used in credit cards and passports.
Additionally, the hardware-level PIN protections, as well as the limited range of connectivity via Bluetooth, should, in theory, mitigate the risks.
However, back in December, a research team published a presentation on how to hack cryptocurrency hardware wallets, including the Trezor One, Ledger Nano S, and Ledger Blue.
Immediately after that, Ledger came up with an official statement, refuting all reported vulnerabilities, and reassuring users that their “crypto assets are still secure on your Ledger device.”
John McAfee: Blockchain Gaming is Almost Entirely Meaningless
McAfee confirmed that as someone who writes the business of games, he receives a plethora of pitches about blockchain gaming.
2018 is ending on a low compared to 2017 in the cryptocurrency world. However, blockchain technology, which powers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, has continued to evolve and develop all through the bear markets.
In this new world, blockchain gaming is one of the technologies that John McAfee ignores. He is a major critic who terms this gaming technology as a total waste of time and money while for example Dean Takahashi, the GamesBeast lead writer, is excited by blockchain gaming among several other individuals.
Award for Destroying Time and Wealth
Some investors are trying a hand in this new market in an attempt to make new platforms which do many things similar to Steam resulting in miserable failures. McAfee is so perturbed by blockchain gaming that he handed it the number one ‘Award for Destroying Time and Wealth’.
In December 2017, McAfee was agitated by people doubting the sustainability of cryptocurrencies. Back then, he tweeted that the naysayers did not understand the mathematics and paradigm of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
He also had predicted that bitcoin would continue rising without any corrections. That tweet did not age well because Bitcoin has lost around 75% of its value from the December 2017 peaks currently hovering around $4,000.
Blockchain Gaming is Non-functional
McAfee confirmed to VentureBeat that as someone who writes the business of games, he receives a plethora of pitches about blockchain gaming. He expressed:
Although many companies are trying to make the new gaming technology thrive, not one of them has succeeded to make a compelling argument to game developers, consumers, and publishers. The current dismal performance does not translate to shortness on hypotheticals for these businesses. They all are inspired by big ideas about the potential for the blockchain.
Integrating blockchain with gaming could eventually spread out ownership of digital items. Also, developers may benefit from the use of blockchain technology to manage and operate tamper-resistant online worlds without using any servers. Games would run on local machines as blockchain keeps track of all executable changes.
According to McAfee, the ideas may have potential but their time is yet to come as it is evident from the lack of commitment to building products by the several start-ups testing the new technology. He said that he will continue to ignore blockchain gaming:
You Can Now Buy a Subaru Using Litecoin
Since their inception, the cryptocurrencies were meant to offer decentralized payment solutions that would change the entire global financial systems. Although bitcoin acts as the poster boy of this industry, other digital currencies with real life-user cases are coming up reshaping the paradigm of global transactions.
Litecoin is one such coin that seems to be partnering with companies from other industries offering a payment channel for their products and services. Since February 1, 2019, Aliant Payments processing partnered with the company Bob Moore Subaru which is based in Oklahoma.
The new partnership has provided an opportunity for the Litecoin, Bitcoin and Ethereum cryptocurrency holders to buy cars using the coins in their digital wallets.
Buy a Car with Litecoin, Bitcoin or Ethereum
In a recent video tutorial, a Litecoin holder and the author of the video, Lisa Davis, interacts with the Bob Moore Auto Group team to show how transactions are made. In that video, the team explains that now a user with just LTC coins can get a Subaru or pay for any services offered by the dealership.
The positive news and other green data coming from the Litecoin camp are responsible for the fast growth of the token which is ranking ahead of the rest of the top ten as evident in the CoinMarketCap. Currently, Litecoin ranks in TOP 5 position.
Charlie Lee recently said that in 2019 Litecoin will support confidential transactions. The real world use cases make Litecoin gain widespread adoption at a faster rate compared to most of the other top cryptocurrencies.
INDONESIA OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZES BITCOIN AS A COMMODITY
REQUIREMENTS FOR BITCOIN EXCHANGES IN INDONESIA
The Indonesian Trade Ministry Futures Exchange Supervisory Board (Bappebti) issued regulation No.5/2019 which includes regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges, as well as, a formal recognition of cryptocurrencies as commodities. Based on the new ruling, virtual currency trading is now legalized in the country.
As part of the new set of laws, Bitcoin exchanges must employ the services of IT security experts and keep records of their transactions for a minimum of five years. Also, one of their servers must be domiciled in the country and they must have clearly defined organizational structures with departments like legal, audit, client support, IT, etc.
Speaking to Hukumonline, Bappebti chief, Indrasari Wisnu Wardhana, highlighted the need for these regulations saying:
" We want to give protection to people who want to invest in crypto assets so that they aren’t cheated by fraudulent sellers. "
These regulations form part of a larger set of rules for cryptocurrency commodity trading both in the spot and futures trading market. On Thursday, (February 14, 2019), Bitcoinist reported that traders in the country were protesting the excessive paid-up capital restrictions imposed on cryptocurrency futures trading.
CRYPTOCURRENCY PAYMENTS STILL PROHIBITED
While these new laws provide legal certainty for cryptocurrency exchanges, such services have been operational in the country since as early as 2014. Despite the formal recognition given to virtual currencies as commodities, the ban on cryptocurrency payment is still in effect.
Onny Widjanarko, a top executive of Indonesia’s apex bank (BI) said that the bank was part of the deliberations that led to the recognition of cryptos as commodities. For Widjanarko, the decision by Bappebti does not negate its ruling against cryptocurrencies as its mandate is the protection of rupiah sovereignty and monopoly within the country.
Speaking to CNBC Indonesia on Friday (February 15, 2019), Widjanarko said:
" BI still prohibits bitcoin or crypto as a means of payment. Commodities regulation is not an area of concern for the BI. "
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