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    AXA Is Using Ethereum's Blockchain for a New Flight Insurance Product

    AXA Is Using Ethereum's Blockchain for a New Flight Insurance Product

    French insurance giant AXA has launched a new flight delay insurance product that uses the public ethereum blockchain to store and process payouts.
    The product, called Fizzy, is being pitched as a "smart insurance" tool that flyers can use to insure their trips if their flight is delayed by two hours or more. As such, the product makes notable use of smart contracts, self-executing piece of code that triggers once certain conditions are met on a blockchain.
    According to AXA, ethereum's public blockchain plays two key roles here. It maintains an accessible record of the insurance contract itself within a smart contract, and serves as a mechanism for triggering the payment to the client once the two-hour mark is passed.
    AXA representative Jean-Baptiste Mounier told CoinDesk in an email:
    "The smart contract is the party that decides whether or not we should indemnify the policy holder and triggers a payment request to our system. The use of a smart contract to trigger claims will add trust in the insurer / policy holder relationship."
    Ultimately, AXA is positioning the product release as a way to build more transparency into the insurance process.
    "Building customer-oriented offers is our definite goal at AXA. By removing insurance exclusions and using an Ethereum smart contract to trigger indemnifications, we increase the level of trust our customers can have with AXA," he said.
    Looking ahead, AXA is weighing additional uses of the ethereum blockchain for the Fizzy offering.
    For now, insurance payouts from Fizzy are being made in government-issued currencies to the customer. However, AXA said that, in the future, it wants to denominate those payments in ether, the cryptocurrency of the ethereum network.
    "In the future, we want to include payment and indemnification in ether, which will completely guarantee coded trust in the fact that indemnification will for sure take place (and the insurer will not be able to trick consumers, which is a fear some customers have)," Mounier explained.

    source of message: www.coindesk.com

    Russian Minister: It's 'Impossible' to Ignore Cryptocurrencies

    Russian Minister: It's 'Impossible' to Ignore Cryptocurrencies

    A minister within the Russian government is speaking out against the idea cryptocurrencies should be banned, calling the technology "impossible to ignore."
    Mikhail Abyzov, who was appointed Minister for Open Government in 2012, made the remarks during an interview with Russian-language news source RIA this week. However, during the talk, he said that he believes "a decision will be made soon" matter – if only out of necessity due to the technology's growth.
    In the interview, he went on promote a "thoughtful" approach to regulation, stating:
    "It is necessary to move from a policy of denial and prohibition to a very accurate, thoughtful state regulation of the turnover of crypto-currencies. I think we should officially recognize them as a financial tool and properly handle it carefully so that excessive pressure does not destroy the technology itself."
    Abyzov, who previously led E4, one of Russia's largest engineering firms, went on to argue that development around the tech should be supported, whether it involves the development of cryptocurrency or other applications of blockchain.
    "I think that the Russian technology sector has such a potential. It will be implemented in the format of creating a cryptor, or other new technologies of the financial or non-financial sector – it is difficult to predict. But it is necessary to support and develop such initiatives," he told the publication.
    Overall, Abyzov is the latest senior official from the Russian government to openly support a more accommodative environment for cryptocurrency trading activity. Last week, Anton Siluanov, Russia's finance minister, said that there is "no point" in prohibiting cryptocurrencies in the country.

    source of message: www.coindesk.com

    Can Bitcoin Become a Major Reserve Currency by 2030?

    Can Bitcoin Become a Major Reserve Currency by 2030?

    Bitcoin has experienced exponential growth since 2009 based on many indicators including user base, trading volume, price, market cap and global adoption. In the last year, some of the largest financial and technology conglomerates including JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Fidelity Investments have grown increasingly optimistic towards bitcoin.

    Traditional market operators such as the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), the largest options exchange in the US, are in the process of integrating bitcoin to enhance liquidity for large-scale institutional and retail investors. Earlier this month, Ed Tilly, CBOE Holdings Chairman and CEO, stated:

    “We very much look forward to responding to the growing interest in cryptocurrencies through the creation of bitcoin futures traded on a regulated derivatives exchange, with the many expected benefits that this brings, including transparency, price discovery, deep liquidity and centralized clearing.”

    Over the past few years, an increasing number of investors and companies have adopted bitcoin as a digital currency and as a safe haven asset, rather than as a speculative investment and active user bases of platforms such as Coinbase and Blockchain have drastically increased.

    For Bitcoin to surpass the market cap and consumer base of reserve currencies, it would need to evolve and ultimately solve its scaling issues. Currently, many holders areconsidering bitcoin as a long-term investment, rather than as a currency. To compete with reserve currencies, global mainstream adoption of bitcoin must increase at a rapid rate to the point that bitcoin is used more as a digital currency, rather than as a speculative investment tool.

    Jeremy Millar, partner at Magister Advisors who led the research, told CNBC in an interview two years ago that bitcoin has already proven itself as an established currency. It even has triggered the massive adoption of blockchain technology amongst multi-billion dollar corporations in the finance and technology sector:

    “We have now reached a fork in the road with bitcoin and blockchain. Bitcoin has proven itself as an established currency. Blockchain, more fundamentally, will become the default global standard distributed ledger for financial transactions,” 

    Since Millar and Magister Advisors released their research on bitcoin’s growth and potential to replace reserve currencies, bitcoin has surpassed a market cap of $70 billion and has recently outperformed all asset classes and currencies.

    The adoption of bitcoin in Asia, particularly in South Korea, China and Japan is believed to be one of the driving factors in the upward momentum of bitcoin. In Japan for instance, the country’s largest technology conglomerates such as CME Group have already delved into the global bitcoin exchange market with the vision of providing improved and regulated trading platforms for bitcoin users. In the Philippines and South Korea, due to the legalization of bitcoin as a remittance method, a rapidly increasing number of users have started to use it as a means of payment. KakaoTalk, the most widely utilized messaging application in South Korea with over 90 percent market penetration, recently invested in a Philippine bitcoin-based remittance service provider to increase the adoption of bitcoin in both countries.

    Bitcoin’s biggest hindrance for achieving mainstream adoption is still scalability. Once the Bitcoin Core development team’s scaling and transaction malleability solution Segregated Witness (SegWit) becomes integrated by major wallet platforms and the majority of transactions are facilitated as SegWit-enabled payments, bitcoin block size and transaction fees will likely decrease significantly, making the network more attractive to new users.

    Ripple Talks With People’s Bank of China Key to Chinese Blockchain Market

    Ripple Talks With People’s Bank of China Key to Chinese Blockchain Market


    Recently, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has visited Coinbase and Ripple on a US research delegation having talks about the “significant” cryptocurrency issue.

    Welcomed China's central bank, industry & academic leaders to #Ripple HQ to discuss the latest #blockchain trends https://t.co/jL3i4yYzjo

    — Ripple (@Ripple) August 28, 2017

    As Bitcoin and Blockchain technology step into the more mass market adoption, many businesses are showing their interest to explore and penetrate cryptocurrency and blockchain platforms.

    Ripple investors are looking forward to the collaboration of Ripple and China tackling the country’s Blockchain market.

    Ripple blockchain

    Ripple is the creator and developer of the Ripple payment and exchange network. The company is based in San Francisco, California.

    "Ripple" is just the rename of Opencoin. The Ripple Blockchain focuses on banks, global payments, and digital exchange.

    Possible entry to Chinese market?

    China's has a huge network or connectivity when it comes to business and consumers. It is tempting for Ripple to get involved with the Chinese market because it will be a big hit to the company.

    China aims to widen its connection in the global trade market and the firm growth of China's existence across ecommerce will substantially require low transaction fees, cheap and fast flow of payment system. China is known to follow strict regulations and security when it comes to banking and financial transactions. In fact, recent warnings about unregulated ICOs caused certain companies catering mainly to Chinese investors to halt their operations.

    Ripple's business services revolve around bank-to-bank transfers. Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse expects the company to enter consumer market in 5 years.

    How they both will benefit

    Ripple has already confirmed the expansion of its business with China's Central bank. China is now researching on digital currency and the possibility of having its cryptocurrency.

    The fintech company and the China's Central Bank officials are having talks about the public Blockchain platform RCL or what they call Ripple Consensus Ledger.

    The delegation is to promote financial tech between China and the United States. Ripple had a presentation with the officials specifically on the nature of the public Blockchain, global payment ecosystem, and how they will benefit in applying the principle of Blockchain platform- its offer of low service fees, and fast pace of real-time transactions.

    Though there is no official announcement yet about the expanding business of China Central Bank and Ripple, people are looking forward to the great news and collaboration of the two entities ahead.

    China ICO ‘Suspension’ Warning Echoes Regulator Treatment Of Exchanges

    China ICO ‘Suspension’ Warning Echoes Regulator Treatment Of Exchanges

    The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) is reportedly considering a blanket ban on ICOs if lawmakers find “large risks” to consumers.

    According to reports from a meeting earlier this month by local news outlet Tencent, the PBoC is actively assessing possible limits on ICO activities in China.

    A source told the publication that the meeting included participation from the country’s Securities and Futures Commission, and Banking Regulatory Commission among others.

    Among the tools under consideration are controlling the size of ICOs, beefing up requirements for disclosure of information and more overt warnings about the risks associated with investing.

    “In addition, if a large risk is found (for investors), the regulator will suspend all activities associated with ICOs and address them,” Tencent stated.

    The warnings echo a similar tone from the PBoC on cryptocurrency exchanges themselves earlier this year. After investigatory measures, regulators shut down Chinese exchanges for multiple weeks in order to put new legislative framework in place.

    While exchanges are now compliant with demands, ICOs still operate in a legal gray area in China, which has led to warnings over the potential punishments for those participating in sales not to authorities’ liking.

    The PBoC gave notice of its intention to regulate the ICO market in June.

    Russia Could Pass Cryptocurrency Law This Year, Senior Lawmaker Says

    Russia Could Pass Cryptocurrency Law This Year, Senior Lawmaker Says

     

    An official for Russia's national legislature believes that new laws regulating the exchange of cryptocurrencies will be complete by the end of the fall.

    Anatoly Aksakov, who leads the State Duma's financial markets committee, told Russian media this week that next steps involve the formation of a dedicated working group to address the issue. Further, he said that he would be meeting with officials from Russia's central bank and the Ministry of Finance in the coming days.

    Should all the pieces come together – Russian officials have been working on some kind of law related to the tech since as early as 2014 – lawmakers could complete work on a legislative passage over the next several months, according to Aksakov.

    He said (in translated comments):

    "If we agree on the main approaches in the coming week, I think that by autumn, by the end of the fall session, we will be able to adopt this law in order to provide a legal space for the development of this market."

    The comments come amid a flurry of news out of Russia on the cryptocurrency front. The country's deputy finance minister, for example, said earlier this week that he thinks bitcoin trading should be restricted to qualified investors. The chief internet advisor to president Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, unveiled the formation of a new blockchain and cryptocurrency advocacy group earlier this week.

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