Litecoin.svg

Wirex has announced that it will now support Litecoin (LTC) wallets on its platform. Wirex, the bitcoin and cryptocurrency wallet and exchange app has been growing but with no cryptocurrencies added since its launch in 2014.

According to a statement published on the Wirex website, customer polls carried out last year revealed Litecoin was quite popular as a rival alternative to bitcoin. Litecoin will be the first altcoin available on the platform providing more flexibility for exchanging cryptos and traditional currencies for trading.

The Wirex team believes that the integrated Litecoin wallet will allow users to spend their Litecoin by converting their LTC to a local currency like the GBP, USD or EUR with a Wirex Visa Card.

Users will also be able to purchase Litecoin, exchange it for Bitcoin or vice versa, use their Litecoin for payments as well as withdraw Litecoin to any other LTC wallet.

Wirex launched its first Bitcoin debit card in 2016 which allowed its users make payments in any Visa or MasterCard supported stores using Bitcoin. The company reached a milestone of over 950,000 users while processing over $1 billion in transactions in December.

Binance

Sequoia Capital has sued Zhao Changpeng, founder of Binance, for breaching an exclusivity agreement.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Sequoia Capital filed suit against Zhao Changpeng on April 24th, 2018. The filings reveal the interactions Zhao and Binance had with some of the most prominent venture capital firms in finance.

There are many remarkable growth stories in the cryptocurrency industry, but Zhao and Binance’s meteoric rise is likely the current pinnacle. Zhao has become a cult figure in the industry, gracing the covers of popular tech magazines such as Forbes and amassing a personal fortune which he values at $2 billion.

Zhao and his company have not only attracted popular finance magazines from all parts of the world, they have also drawn scrutiny from regulators.  Citing claims that they may be disregarding securities laws, regulators have been clamping down on crypto exchanges worldwide.

According to the Bloomberg report, Zhao and Sequoia Capital began negotiating terms for an investment in Binance in August, which would have given Sequoia an 11% stake in the exchange and valued Binance at about $80 million.

Talks advanced for some months, in which time prices of cryptocurrency also soared to all-time highs. However, negotiations between the two parties broke down in mid-December, around the time that Bitcoin peaked at a record $20,000 exchange rate.

On the 14th of December, Zhao’s team told Sequoia that Binance’s existing shareholders felt their offer hugely undervalued Binance.

From the Bloomberg report:

Around the same time, Zhao was approached by another Venture Capitalist firm, IDG Capital, with an offer that valued Binance at a higher valuation of $400 million and $1 billion respectively, after the injection of two rounds of funding.

The issue in court now is whether Zhao’s talks with IDG Capital violated the exclusive agreement he signed with Sequoia. While Sequoia and Zhao have been trying to settle their dispute through arbitration, the case became public when Sequoia secured a temporary injunction to bar Zhao from talking with other investors.

 

The price of bitcoin has surpassed the $8,800 mark, rising 6 percent within the last 24 hours. Trading volumes across the major cryptocurrency exchanges have also increased beyond $26 billion for the first time in a while.

Upward trend.

Last month, bitcoin tested the $9,200 mark, but it didn’t take long before it fell to $6,500 after failing to sustain the momentum to bounce off $8,200.

Based on the fluctuations in the price the market has witnessed in recent weeks, it is quite likely that bitcoin will test the $9,200 mark again as it did last month, and it could even surpass it. A movement above the $9,200 level it reached late March could see bitcoin price entering the $10,000 region before April ends.

Psychological threshold.

Investors highlighted the $10,000 mark for bitcoin in November last year was both a psychological threshold and a key milestone. They predicted it would surge substantially, way before it got to $10,000. Bitcoin was relentless towards the ending of last year.  After breaking the $10,000 ceiling – it rose to $14,000 and eventually to $20,000, where the decline started.

Since the corrections of February this year, and the series of regulations in recent weeks, the market has struggled to hold forth any form of stability. As always, the price of most altcoins and tokens have taken a cue from bitcoin which has been battered since the turn of the year. Regional exchanges in Japan and South Korea have not been spared either as both have witnessed a decrease in trading volumes.

The new trend in the price of BTC is an ideal position for the currency to rally round for both the short and mid-term, given that more people are getting aware of cryptocurrency as adoption has increased.

Crimea Plans Cryptocurrency Fund to Protect Investors from Economic Sanctions

Authorities in Crimea are interested in launching a cryptocurrency fund for investors to circumvent economic sanctions imposed on the Russian-occupied territory.

The deputy prime minister of Crimea, Georgy Muradov highlighted the plans on April 18. He said:

“We are discussing these schemes to circumvent sanctions. One way is the creation of a cryptocurrency investment fund in Crimea where we can accumulate cryptocurrency resources, exchange them into cash, and then use them to implement certain investment projects on Crimean land”.

The plan is for Crimea to create a public investment fund in crypto which can be used to accumulate digital assets for the region.

Muradov made his comments one day before the commencement of the Yalta International Economic Forum, held in Crimea. At the forum, Anatoly Aksakov – who oversees the Committee on the Financial Market in Russia’s lower legislative chamber – gave the green light to the project.

Anatoly said cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs might be permitted in Crimea, but mining won’t be allowed due to the excessive amount of electricity it consumes.

The move towards cryptocurrency adoption in Crimea is progressing faster than expected. Aksakov said:

“Mining in the Crimea is an illusion, but ICO and crypto-exchanges are quite real,” “[Authorities] are working hard on this issue.”

Russia also has plans to launch a cryptocurrency named CryptoRuble, in a bid to circumvent economic sanctions from the West. This has become necessary as the Russian government seeks to strengthen the economy while reducing the impact of international sanctions.

Russian regulators are currently drafting cryptocurrency regulations which are expected to be released in July 2018, but we should not expect CryptoRuble till mid-2019.

While Russian president Vladimir Putin had initially expressed skepticism towards bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrency market because of fears of regulation and the lack of backing by any central bank, the ballooning market and demand for cryptocurrency have since softened his stance.

A couple of Russian companies have started testing the waters as well. Gazprombank, one of the largest bank in Russia has made bold moves towards cryptocurrency adoption as it seeks to conduct crypto transactions through its Swiss subsidiary later this year.

Korean manufacturing giant Samsung is considering using blockchain technology for its global supply network.

Cryptocurrencies may be controversial to a lot of people, but the supporting technology is one of the most talked about topics in a wide range of industries. The innate security and immutability make blockchain technology attractive to companies that rely heavily on record keeping.

According to Samsung SDS Co. Blockchain Vice President Song Kwang-woo, Samsung is interested in the ledger system for tracking its global shipment worth tens of billions of dollars every year.

Song believes that deploying blockchain “will have an enormous impact on the supply chains of manufacturing as it is a core platform for fueling digital transformation.”

Blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, has penetrated the market for cross-border payment systems and related applications. However, Samsung is the first major company in manufacturing to consider a move to a distributed ledger system. A growing number of companies have started to test the waters, especially in fintech. One of such companies is IBM who recently launched a blockchain venture which extends microloans to small businesses in Africa.

For Samsung, it’s about finding a cost-effective way of working. Physical documentation is not just annoying; it is expensive as well. In 2018, SDS projects that the company will ship 488,000 tons of air cargo and one million 20-foot-equivalent shipping units. The implementation of blockchain technology could save Samsung as much as 20% in shipping fees.

Blockchain implementation for manufacturing firms goes beyond just saving money as it also impacts customer satisfaction by reducing the time span between when a product launches and ships to the customer. This keeps the customer happy and gives the company a competitive edge over its rivals.