Archive for Category: News

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  • New Zealand Gov’t-Backed Institute Issues Grant to Crypto Wallet and Trading Service

    New Zealand Gov’t-Backed Institute Issues Grant to Crypto Wallet and Trading Service

    New Zealand’s state-backed innovation institute Callaghan Innovation awarded a $330,000 grant to a local crypto wallet and trading service, according to a press release published Tuesday, Oct. 30.

    Callaghan Innovation issued an “R&D Project Grant” to local crypto wallet and trading platform Vimba, a rebranded version of former MyCryptoSaver. Following the grant, the crypto startup is reportedly set to expand its offerings, as well as to list more cryptocurrencies and enable multi-signature crypto wallets.

    R&D Project Grants are a type of co-funding for a research and development project. A Callaghan Innovation spokesperson told Cointelegraph that the grants fund up to 40 percent of a project, and that 355 such grants were approved during the last fiscal year.

    Founded in 2014 as MyBitcoinSaver, Auckland-based Vimba platform offers New Zealand residents with limited weekly investments in major cryptocurrencies Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). Since its launch, Vimba has underwent two investment rounds, and will reportedly launch services in the U.K. in the coming weeks.

    Vimba CEO Sam Blackmore commented that firm’s client base has “remained very stable” despite the bearish market this year. Blackmore also expressed company’s belief that Bitcoin will “at least reach the market cap of gold,” due to being a “more efficient, more accessible, more secure version of that rare asset.”

    The neighboring state of Australia has also awarded government grants to crypto and blockchain startups. In August, the government of the state of Queensland issued a grant to a crypto travel startup called TravebyBit as part of over $8.3 million in innovation funding. The company would purportedly boost tourism to the state by selling travel offers with cryptocurrencies.

    In July, the Queensland Cane Growers Organization received a $1.7 million government grant to implement blockchain technology for tracking the provenance of sugar supplies.

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  • Chinese Retail Giant Launches Blockchain Research Lab

    Chinese Retail Giant Launches Blockchain Research Lab

    Chinese retail giant is further gaining a foothold in blockchain technology by launching a research lab for blockchain in partnership with two technology institutes, according to an announcement published Oct. 30.

    Jingdong Group ( is a leading Chinese e-commerce company, controlling roughly 30 percent of the business-to-consumer online market in China with 314 million active users, according to Financial Times. The company focuses on implementation of new technologies in e-commerce, delivery services, and finance.

    Per the announcement, JD has collaborated with the Ying Wu College of Computing at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and the Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS) to establish a blockchain technology lab. The lab will be geared towards solving efficiency problems and examining new applications for the technology.

    Among other objectives of the lab, JD cites long-term joint research efforts in fundamental consensus protocols, privacy protection, and security in decentralized applications (DApps). Zhong Hua, deputy director of the Software Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, stated that “through this partnership we will bring about blockchain innovation and promote industrial applications of blockchain technology.”

    Last month, JD established the Smart City Research Institute at its headquarters in Nanjing aimed at facilitating the development of “smart city” construction with the use of artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and blockchain technologies. The Institute will reportedly influence “the entire East China region” and aims to reduce industry costs and increase efficiency.

    In August, JD revealed its new Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform dubbed JD Blockchain Open Platform. The new product is designed to help commercial customers to build, host and implement blockchain solutions without having to develop the technology from scratch.

    Moreover, in August the company revealed plans to issue asset-backed securities (ABSs) on a blockchain in conjunction with Huatai Securities and Xingye Bank. Within the collaboration, the partners would purportedly assess blockchain’s potential to improve asset security.

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  • Bitstamp Is Looking Towards ‘Global Expansion’ After Being Acquired by South Korean Investors

    Bitstamp Is Looking Towards ‘Global Expansion’ After Being Acquired by South Korean Investors

    On October 29, the cryptocurrency exchange, Bitstamp, was acquired by Belgium-based investment firm NXMH, which in turn, is owned by South Korean media conglomerate NXC Corp.

    The Luxembourg-registered exchange is now controlled by the same company that bought the majority stake in the South Korean crypto exchange, Korbit, last year, while its CEO remains in office to continue with Bitstamp’s “global expansion.”

    Brief history of Bitstamp, Europe’s oldest and most legally compliant crypto exchange

    Bitstamp was launched in August 2011 by Nejc Kodrič and Damijan Merlak in their native Slovenia. As Kodrič recalled in an interview, their business started out in a garage “with an initial capital of just a thousand euros, two laptops and a server.” The idea to open up an exchange came to the entrepreneurs after they experienced difficulties buying Bitcoin in Europe.

    As they told Forbes, when they were originally registering their exchange with a Slovenian bank in 2011, it didn’t object because people in Slovenia “didn’t know what Bitcoin was.” In April 2013, Kodrič and Merlak outsourced support, compliance, and legal needs to the U.K., because they couldn’t do all the screening "necessary to keep bad guys out" in their home country. Bitstamp was now a UK registered limited company.

    In 2016, Bitstamp became Europe’s first fully legal crypto exchange after it received a license from Luxembourg to operate as a payment institution. To receive the document, the exchange went through two years of various checks, including an audit by Ernst & Young. Being a compliant business, Bitstamp has stuck to strict Know-Your-Customer (KYC) principles.

    In 2017, Bitstamp became one of four crypto exchanges that provides the CME Group with pricing data for its Bitcoin futures trading. Kodrič told Cointelegraph at the time:

    “It’s essential that we ensure that all data provided does not include any forms of manipulation that could affect the index. We’re proud that we’ve earned the trust of the industry and were chosen to be a part of the new Bitcoin futures market.”

    Security seems to be one of the main priorities for Bitstamp, especially after the 2015 hack, when the exchange lost 19,000 BTC (around $5 million at the time). The fraudsters stole the funds from Bitstamp’s hot wallet in a typical phishing attack — the exchange employees received personal emails and Skype messages from seemingly friendly sources. As a result, the person responsible for security, Bitstamp system administrator Luka Kodrich, downloaded malware onto the work computer, which led to the exchange’s security getting breached.

    Compensation did not follow, but the security regime was significantly toughened. Specifically, carrying out transactions on Bitstamp now requires using multisignature, and 98 percent of the cryptocurrency is stored in a cold wallet.

    Established back in 2011, Bitstamp is the oldest active crypto exchange in the world. It is currently ranked 26th on CoinMarketCap, seeing around $65,858,358 in trades in the 24 hours before press time. Kodrič told Reuters their volume has been down between 60-70 percent comparing to previous years, but stressed that Bitstamp remained profitable in 2018 because current cryptocurrency prices were still higher than they were for most of last year.

    Buyout details: Kodrič remains CEO, investor ‘helps with global expansion’

    On October 29, Reuters reported that Bitstamp has been acquired by Brussels-based investment firm NXMH in an “all cash deal.” Prior to that, the exchange had raised a total of about $14 million from investors including Pantera Capital, which invested $10 million in Bitstamp in 2014.

    NXMH is a family investment holding which has over 2 billion euros in assets “managing the wealth of an Asian tech entrepreneur,” as per its Linkedin profile. It was founded in 2011 and focuses on European consumer and tech investments. The firm is a subsidiary of South Korea-based media giant NXC Corp, which bought a 65.19 percent stake in South Korean crypto exchange Korbit last year.

    The deal between NXMH and Bitstamp was reportedly finalized on October 25. Whilst Kodrič declined to share the full terms to the media, he informed Reuters that in 2016 Bitstamp was valued at $60 million, up from $39 million in 2014. Interestingly, in March 2018 the exchange was rumored to be “in the final stages” of being acquired by South Korean investors (of which NXMH is technically a subsidiary) for $400 million.

    NXMH now has an 80 percent stake in Bitstamp, with Kodrič retaining his 10 percent ownership interest and staying on as CEO. NXMH has also reportedly obtained “part” of Pantera Capital’s $10 million stake in the exchange, however it will keep a six percent ownership stake in the exchange. Kodrič’s co-founder, Damian Merlak, has reportedly sold all of his 30 percent stake in the exchange in the NXMH deal. According to Kodrič, his co-founder has “not been active since 2015.”

    Bitstamp CEO does not believe anything will change for either the exchange’s customers or its 180 employees following the acquisition, as he told Fortune:

    “We have kind of the same opinion as NXMH — why change something if it works perfectly well?”

    He added that a merger between Bitstamp and Korbit (both owned by one parent company NXC Corp.) was in the talks, but the parties decided to run the exchange separately in the end. The crypto exchanges still plan to share technology, research, and development resources, according to Kodrič.

    NXMH was one of four interested bidders for Bitstamp in a process that began in “mid-2017.” He added that they initially struck the deal last December, as the price of Bitcoin was peaking near $20,000, and it took several months for the companies to receive regulatory approval for the arrangement.

    Kodrič claims that he and Merlak “were not looking to sell,” and “were definitely not looking for investment because they “didn’t need to raise the capital.” Nevertheless, he took the opportunity to cash out on the majority of his share in the company while keeping 10 percent and remaining the CEO:

    “[Bitstamp and NXMH] were very much aligned—where we see the industry going and what the company wants to be [...] They’re willing to help us along the way, and help us with our global expansion.”

    Other major acquisitions of 2018: Poloniex, BitTrade, Bithumb

    Earlier in February, Goldman Sachs-backed, Circle startup, acquired the US-based Poloniex crypto exchange for $400 million.

    In late May, Japanese crypto exchange BitTrade was acquired for S$67 million ($50 million) by a Singaporean multi-millionaire and entrepreneur, Eric Cheng. After purchasing a 100 percent stake in the company, Cheng became the first foreign investor to own an exchange licensed by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA).

    On August 31, Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, with a market capitalization of over $12.5 billion, revealed a 265 million yen ($2.4 million) deal to acquire domestic crypto exchange, Everybody’s Bitcoin.

    In October, BK Global Consortium, a group led by one of South Korea's leading plastic surgeons, Dr. Kim Byung Gun, closed a deal to obtain “50 percent plus one share” of BTC Holding Co. – the largest investor in Bithumb crypto exchange. According to Bloomberg, the purchase was settled at around 400 billion won ($352 million) and will be finalized in February 2019.

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  • Microsoft to Integrate Blockchain Offering Into Nasdaq Services Following New Partnership

    Microsoft to Integrate Blockchain Offering Into Nasdaq Services Following New Partnership

    American software corporation Microsoft will integrate its Azure Blockchain technology into stock exchange Nasdaq Inc.’s Financial Framework (NFF), according to an Oct. 30 press release.

    Per the recent announcement, Microsoft will integrate its Azure blockchain service with NFF, a technology which provides software for trading infrastructure and operations outsourcing, and fulfills Nasdaq’s risk and surveillance technology offering.

    Within the collaboration, the parties will reportedly develop a “ledger agnostic blockchain capability” that will allow for operability across multiple ledgers. The new product will purportedly facilitate easier buyer and seller matching, management of delivery, and payment and settlement of transactions.

    Integrating Azure Blockchain will reportedly allow NFF customers to deploy various blockchains through one common interface, in addition to promoting blockchain development.

    Tom Fay, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Architecture at Nasdaq, said that the partnership with Microsoft removes some of the complexities of integrating blockchain technology into existing infrastructures. He added:

    “Our NFF integration with their blockchain services provides a layer of abstraction, making our offering ledger-agnostic, secure, highly scalable, and ultimately helps us continue to explore a much broader range of customer use cases for blockchain.”

    Recently, Nasdaq revealed a new blockchain patent, which makes reference to “an information computer system [...] provided for securely releasing time-sensitive information to recipients via a blockchain.” With the patent, the company is reportedly looking to ease releasing timely information to the media while keeping it secure and watertight from a legal standpoint.

    Last month in an interview with Cointelegraph, Nasdaq’s Head of Alternative Data Bill Dague said that it is exploring adding crypto datasets to its market analytics tool. However, whether or not the exchange will launch a crypto-related product remains to be seen.

    In August, Azure introduced a proof-of-authority (PoA) algorithm on its Ethereum blockchain product. A PoA algorithm is based on the principle of approved identities or validators on a blockchain, and does not require competition in completing the transactions.

    The new Ethereum product on Azure is equipped with a number of features to ensure its correct functioning and security, such as an identity leasing system, Parity’s web-assembly support, Azure Monitor, and a Governance Decentralized Application (DApp).

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  • Slight Slump in Markets Continues, Ethereum Trades Below $200

    Slight Slump in Markets Continues, Ethereum Trades Below $200

    Tuesday, Oct. 30: Crypto markets are mostly trading sideways after the recent drop-off that took place on Monday, Oct. 29. The top 20 cryptocurrencies by market cap are seeing mixed signals with insufficient fluctuations, with total market capitalization hovering around $203 billion.

    Market visualization from Coin360

    Market visualization from Coin360

    After dipping below the $6,400 threshold yesterday, Bitcoin (BTC) has been trading around $6,330 for the most part of the day. As of press time, the major cryptocurrency is slightly down 0.13 percent, and is trading at $6,299, with an intraday high of $6,364.

    Bitcoin weekly price chart

    Bitcoin weekly price chart. Source: Bitcoin Price Index

    Ethereum (ETH) is down around 0.27 percent over the past 24 hours, trading at $196 at press time. The second cryptocurrency by market cap dipped below the $200 price point yesterday, and has since been hovering around the same levels. Recently, Cointelegraph reported that the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA) released new standard specifications for developers using the Ethereum blockchain.

    Ethereum 30-days price chart

    Ethereum 30-days price chart. Source: Ethereum Price Index

    In contrast, Ripple (XRP), the third top cryptocurrency by market cap, has seen a slight rebound after yesterday’s sell-off. At press time, the coin is up around 0.6 percent, and is trading at $0.442. On the week, Ripple is down around 1.4 percent.

    Ripple 30-days price chart

    Ripple 30-days price chart. Source: Ripple Price Index

    After dropping to as low as $201 billion yesterday, total market cap has been hovering around $203 billion for the most part of the day, amounting to $202.8 billion at press time.

    Total market capitalization daily chart

    Total market capitalization daily chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

    VeChain (VET)  is down more than 3 percent over the past 24 hours, trading at $0.01. According to CoinMarketCap, the coin is down over 10 percent over the past 7 days.

    The recent drop-off in crypto markets is in line with a number of the industry-related events that took place on Monday, Oct. 29. Speaking at a recent interview at the 2018 Canada FinTech Forum, former U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen argued that Bitcoin is “anything but” a useful store of value. Yellen pointed out low volumes of transactions, slow capacity in “handling payments,” as well as “difficulty” caused by Bitcoin’s “very decentralized nature.”

    Also on Monday, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) claimed that the agency will consider banning sales of crypto-based derivatives, including contracts for difference (CFDs), options, and futures. The announcement followed a report by the U.K. Cryptoassets Taskforce, which suggested changes to cryptocurrency regulations and raised questions about the existing rules of trading digital assets.

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  • Crypto Exchange Service Helps Bithumb Recover 1 Million XRP After Massive June Hack

    Crypto Exchange Service Helps Bithumb Recover 1 Million XRP After Massive June Hack

    Hong Kong-based crypto exchange service Changelly has announced that it helped South Korean exchange platform Bithumb recover 1,063,500 Ripple (XRP) in stolen assets following a massive hack in June, a press-release stated, Oct. 26.   

    In June 2018, hackers attacked South Korea’s leading crypto exchange Bithumb. As soon as security specialists had detected the theft, the exchange temporarily suspended all deposits and withdrawals, and moved its customers’ funds to a cold wallet.

    Bithumb initially lost over $30 million worth of cryptocurrencies due to the hack. Four months after the incident, Bithumb recovered approximately $14 million in stolen digital assets after it collaborated with global counterparts.

    According to Ilya Bere, CEO of Changelly, the service quickly cooperated with Bithumb and the South Korean police to offer its help. The company implemented Anti-Money Laundering (AML) procedures targeting several malicious addresses recognized by Bithumb and prevented transactions from going through the application program interface (API).

    As a result, Changelly managed to capture a significant amount of cryptocurrency with a suspicious origin and keep the funds secured. The recovered funds were worth about $585,000 at the time of the hack, according to the press release. Bere further explained that the case could serve as an example of industry-wide engagement:

    “This case sets a precedent for how the joint work of the key players in the cryptocurrency market can positively affect the industry, bringing security improvements to the crypto-trading projects.”

    The Bithumb hack is one of the largest of 2018 so far, with the price of Bitcoin (BTC) dropping by $200 soon after. The incident is only surpassed by the attack on Japanese exchange Zaif, which resulted in the theft of around $59 million worth of cryptocurrencies in September.

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  • Bittrex Launches Malta-Based ‘International’ Trading Platform, Minus U.S. Customers

    Bittrex Launches Malta-Based ‘International’ Trading Platform, Minus U.S. Customers

    Bittrex International is launching a digital trading platform that will feature a “streamlined” token approval process and focus on international customers, the company’s blog revealed Monday, Oct. 29.

    As per the release, new tokens will be approved and listed on the platform “within weeks instead of months.”

    The new platform will operate within the regulatory framework established by the E.U. and Maltese Government, using Malta’s Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA) in particular. In 12 months the company is planning to apply to the Malta Financial Services Authority to become a regulated virtual financial asset exchange.

    Previously branded Bittrex Malta, the exchange stated that trading will be available for customers from all countries except for the U.S., stating “[c]urrent and new U.S.-based customers will continue to use and will not have access to international markets.”

    Bittrex is an American cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2013. As of press-time, the exchange is ranked 43rd in terms of daily trade volumes, according to CoinMarketCap.

    In September, Bittrex invested in Malta-based blockchain company Palladium, acquiring a 10 percent stake.

    In August, Bittrex became one of the members of “Virtual Commodity Association Working Group” — a self-regulatory association for digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies. The organization was planning to “be a precursor to the formation” of self-regulatory activity for digital currencies.

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  • Choosing the Most Secure Crypto Exchange, Explained

    Choosing the Most Secure Crypto Exchange, Explained

    Why can’t I just trust the exchanges?

    Although it might be tempting to go for the crypto exchange which makes the best claims or looks the most credible – it’s important to do your own homework.

    31 crypto exchanges have been hacked over the past eight years – with an estimated $1.3 billion stolen.

    You may think that some of the largest exchanges by trading volume – with Binance dominating CoinMarketCap’s rankings – would be among the industry’s most robust given their popularity among crypto enthusiasts. However, as Cointelegraph reported when ICORating’s report was released at the start of October 2018, Binance scored a surprisingly low 63/100 when ranked on requirements including coding robustness and end user protection.

    The report revealed a shocking 41 percent of the 100 exchanges it scrutinized allow “simple” passwords which are fewer than eight characters long – meaning these platforms are enabling less-informed customers to potentially sleepwalk into a calamitous breach where their funds could disappear.

    Overall, its conclusions make for grim reading, with the report’s authors writing: “Nobody is fully protected from the loss of their crypto assets, therefore, invest in reliable assets, diversify your portfolio and choose good crypto exchanges.”

    How do I choose a good exchange? What do the experts say?

    The type of storage the exchange uses, and only keeping your coins in an internet-enabled wallet when you need to use them, matters.

    Firstly, it’s worth learning from the hard lessons that crypto enthusiasts have endured through some of the major hacks of yesteryear.

    Mt. Gox was hacked twice – once in 2011 and again in 2014 – with a total of 850,000 Bitcoin lost in the latter attack. At the time, it represented roughly 7 percent of the total amount of Bitcoin in circulation, with a value back then of about $480 million. Today that would be worth more than $5.4 billion. In 2013, it was handling an estimated 80 percent of Bitcoin transactions – showing how even the largest exchanges can be vulnerable. In Mt. Gox’s case, a faulty computer system was to blame, opening it up to hack attacks.

    Speaking to Cointelegraph back in August, experts said the best way for investors to inoculate themselves against poor security was to choose an exchange which enlists the help of reliable auditors who spend their time looking for flaws in a system. Looking for an exchange which uses cold storage – where assets are stored in a place without an internet connection – can help. Minimizing the amount of coins held in hot wallets can also reduce the impact if an attack does take place.

    What steps can I take?

    Make your password complex and make sure there are multiple steps before a transaction is fully completed.

    Several exchanges use a time delay when they are processing transactions, enabling them to be manually reviewed for fraudulent activity. Although it can be slightly inconvenient to wait for funds to clear, experts say most users should be willing to withstand the inconvenience of waiting for a payment instead of losing their assets because they were processed instantly and unwittingly handed to a greedy hacker.

    It’s important to embrace the layers of security that an exchange offers, as well as the warning triggers that come into place when a transaction looks suspect. This means making the most out of two-factor authentication, multi-signature transactions, and ensuring that a password is as complex as humanly possible.

    What are crypto exchanges doing to ramp up security?

    Platforms most conscious about security are trying to ensure that any and all transactions purported to be by you match up.

    This can mean verifying that the IP address which is being used to complete transactions match up with the details that you normally use. Verifying payments with an email confirmation is also commonplace, as well as using a crypto debit card. This particular tool is advantageous because you’ll normally have it on your person, making it harder for funds to be stolen in isolation from halfway around the world.

    Some crypto exchanges, like International Digital Currency Markets (IDCM) are turning to artificial intelligence to help with their security efforts – and use technology which continuously monitors its network for suspicious activities. The company’s white paper says it uses “bank grade security standards” to protect against malicious hackers.

    Are security fears stopping crypto from becoming mainstream?

    It could be argued this is the case – but experts believe there are several other hurdles that the industry needs to face.

    Andrew Wong, a managing partner at IDCM, says the crypto world is still in its infancy – so much so that it will take at least three years before cryptocurrencies begin to gain dominance, and even longer for the public to start embracing it properly.

    In part, he believes this is because of the scalability issues affecting crypto – and the fact that blockchain technology can be difficult for novices to comprehend and use.

    Mr Wong, a former trader at JP Morgan, believes “more stringent know your customer (KYC) checks for centralized exchanges” will be introduced in the future – but believes this doesn’t have to be at the detriment of the industry’s progress. He said: “Cryptocurrency regulation is absolutely necessary so, as long as it is not suffocating innovation, it is a positive thing. Certainty is the main benefit of regulation.”

    How can I be sure an exchange is telling the truth?

    Actions matter more than words – so take a look at what they have been doing to protect themselves from hacks and keep their platforms secure.

    Investment in fraud analytics matters. When exchanges spend money on trying to ensure their systems are robust, it helps to protect you: the user.

    Many platforms regularly submit themselves to security audits by independent parties, who then publish their findings and disclose the vulnerabilities they have found. Reputable exchanges will publish the outcome of these audits in full – enabling you to see for yourself their strengths and weaknesses, and the steps they have taken to resolve things.

    You should also see whether or not the exchange you’re interested in participates in bug bounty programs. Put simply, this is where a platform offers a reward to “white hat” hackers who expose security flaws in their systems – playing cyber criminals at their own game and trying to exploit a glitch before they do. It’s a practice that has gained traction in recent years, with major corporations and even governments subscribing to these schemes.

    Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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  • Warren Buffett’s Holding Invests $600 Mln in Fintech Firms Focused on Emerging Markets

    Warren Buffett’s Holding Invests $600 Mln in Fintech Firms Focused on Emerging Markets

    Multinational holding conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway – which counts outspoken crypto critic Warren Buffett as its CEO and chairman – has invested around $600 million in two fintech payment firms focused on emerging markets, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Oct. 29.

    Both investments are said to have been spearheaded by one of Berkshire’s two portfolio managers, Todd Combs. In August, Berkshire is reported to have bought a roughly $300 million stake in the parent company of Paytm, India’s largest mobile-payments service.

    The second investment was made just this past week, through the purchase of shares in an initial public offering (IPO) for Brazilian payments processor StoneCo, the country’s fourth-largest by volume.

    The WSJ underscores that both decisions mark something of a departure for Berkshire, which  which has $711.932 billion in assets under management as of 2018, and is best-known for its investments in blue-chip firms such as Coca-Cola and acquisitions of utilities and insurance firms.

    Buffett has in the past said that tech investments are beyond his area of expertise, WSJ notes.

    That tech is not within Buffett’s “circle of competence” was affirmed by self-professed Buffett disciple venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya this spring, when he took his icon to task for his virulent anti-crypto stance.

    Combs, alongside Berkshire’s second portfolio manager Ted Weschler, are nonetheless reported to be “widening the net” of the conglomerate: yet, as WSJ highlights, both Stone and Paytm are considered to be established companies, which dominate their respective local markets and operate in tightly regulated industries.

    The WSJ says Berkshire’s backing is a sign of the “maturity” of the fintech sector, which reportedly raised almost $35 billion in venture capital during the first three quarters of 2018.

    Berkshire’s move to put major capital into two fintech firms that target emerging markets squares uneasily with the vocal position of Buffett, who has become notorious in fintech and crypto circles for castigating Bitcoin (BTC) as being “rat poison-squared.” He has made repeated statements claiming that Bitcoin is neither a currency, nor a way of investing. In October 2017, Buffet predicted that Bitcoin had entered the “bubble territory,” and was set “to implode.”

    India saw soaring demand for cryptocurrencies during the period of economic turmoil that followed its prime minister’s bold — and still highly contentious — demonetization policy in late 2016. Crypto’s popularity continued through 2017, eliciting a controversial anti-crypto crackdown from the country’s central bank (RBI) this April, which has prompted both public and industry-led petitions.

    As a final verdict on the RBI ban continues to be repeatedly stayed, the judiciary has now thrown the ball back in the executive’s court, setting a deadline for the government to clarify and finally cement its official position on crypto by mid-November.

    This month, in Brazil, the country’s largest brokerage has revealed it will launch a Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH) exchange, saying it was pushed into the crypto business by the popularity of the asset class among investors.

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