dow jones media group

Ad-blocking web browser startup Brave has inked a deal with Dow Jones Media Group to provide Brave users with access to premium content from the financial news publisher.

The partnership, which was announced on Wednesday, will see the two companies experiment with Brave’s blockchain-based digital advertising and services platform, which blocks ads by default but allows users to reward publishers with cryptocurrencies for creating quality content.

In the future, Brave plans to sell native, non-tracking ads, and revenue will be shared with both publishers and users.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Dow Jones Media Group to provide Brave users with premium content via Brave and the Basic Attention Token,” said Brendan Eich, CEO and co-founder of Brave. “Our new model reconnects users and publishers without compromising privacy. We look forward to our users enjoying Barron’s and MarketWatch premium newsletters.”

That Dow Jones Media Group will experiment with Brave’s platform at all is significant, particularly given the fact that just two years ago the Wall Street Journal — a Dow Jones-owned publication — joined a group of other mainstream newspaper in publishing a letter that claimed Brave’s plan to block ads by default and potentially replace them with native ads was “illegal.”

“Our partnership with Brave is an exciting and innovative step for Dow Jones Media Group,” said Daniel Bernard, SVP, Barron’s. “As global digital publishers, we believe it is important to continually explore new and emerging technologies that can be used to build quality customer experiences.”

Two of Dow Jones Media Group’s brands, MarketWatch and Barron’s, will become verified publishers on Brave, allowing them to receive payments in the form of the platform’s native Basic Attention Token (BAT), which was originally distributed through an initial coin offering (ICO) last year. BAT payments are automatically converted to publishers’ local currency through cryptocurrency transfer service Uphold.

Additionally, a limited number of Brave users will be eligible for free subscriptions to several Dow Jones Media publications, including Barrons.com and MarketWatch’s premium newsletter. These subscriptions will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to users who download the Brave browser.

Kraken, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in operation, has just announced that it will be ceasing its operations in Japan for the time being.

The move is as a result of increased regulations and sky-high operational costs in the Japanese cryptocurrency market.

In a report Bloomberg published, Kraken stated:

“Suspending our services for Japan residents will allow us to better focus on our resources to improve in other geographical areas.” They reassured their numerous customers by adding: “This is a localised suspension of service that only affects residents of Japan and does not impact services for Japanese citizens or businesses domiciled outside of Japan”.

For a while now, Japan has been cited as the hub for crypto activity by the cryptocurrency community. A large number of Japanese organizations have been hopping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon. Internet companies have shown growing interest in dipping into the rising market. As an example, Yahoo Japan recently announced the acquisition of a cryptocurrency exchange.

Along with companies, it seems the general public has warmed up to the sector as well. R25 conducted a survey where it was reported that approximately 14% of Japanese males within the age bracket of 25 to 30 own cryptocurrency.

https://twitter.com/business/status/986088052589252608/photo/1

Even while the Japanese public’s acceptance of cryptocurrency is on the rise, increasing government regulations have cropped up after the $560 Million hack of Coincheck. Several calls have been made by investors and members of the public for increased scrutiny of the exchanges to prevent a future occurrence.

The Japanese Financial Services Agency made a move towards protecting the industry by requiring licenses for exchanges and a higher level of security. This led to a lot of closures as some exchanges couldn’t meet these demands.

Kraken, on the other hand, obtained the necessary authority to operate in Japan without a license but the American-based company was never a crowd’s favorite.

Over the course of its 3-year existence in Japan, Kraken was never able to reach the volume it required to justify its existence in Japan. As of April 17th, the BTC/JPY pair accounted for a measly 0.9% of the exchange’s total volume, minuscule when compared to the BTC/USD pair’s total volume.

IBM announced today that their Kenyan research lab is prepared to roll out a new blockchain-based microlending solution, prepared in partnership with Twiga Foods.   Twiga Foods is a Nairobi-based business-to-business coordination platform for kiosks and food stalls in Africa that had previously expressed interest in extending financial service offerings to its customers.

While Twiga Foods was interested in ways that they could offer access to working capital to their customers, many of the businesses did not have credit scores or another existing way to assess their creditworthiness.  Fortunately, IBM researchers had a solution and proposed using both machine learning applied to mobile phone data, including purchase and repayment patterns, in order to build a picture of a business’s financial health.    In the past, IBM has successfully used similar data in partnerships with an African bank and with a mobile service provider.  In those projects, over $3 million in loans were processed.

Grant Brooke, co-founder of Twiga Foods said, “Previously, we were focused on helping farmers distribute bananas, tomatoes, onions and potatoes to 2,600 kiosks across Kenya, but we soon realized that we could help them sell even more produce with access to working capital. It’s simple, if the food vendors can sell more, we can distribute more, growing both of our businesses.”Late last year, Twiga Foods and IBM tested the viability of their concept by running a pilot project with 220 Kenyan small food kiosks, referred to locally as “mom mbogas” in Swahili.  The eight-week pilot involved over 220 loans issued to participants, with the average loan amount around $30 USD (3,020 KES).   During the pilot project, participating retailers saw an increase in profits of approximately 6%, and orders increased by approximately 30%.   The microloans were issued as 6 to 8 day advances, and participants were charged between 1% and 2% interest.

 

Using blockchain allows a level of transparency within the lending process for all parties, including the lender, the borrower, and their banks.  Since no one party can unilaterally alter or add to the blockchain, it can be an effective way to reduce fraud and misrepresentation.  Blockchain technology can also be a very efficient way of processing financial transactions, as it can execute a series of “smart contracts” simultaneously.

“We analyzed purchase records from a mobile device and then apply machine learning algorithms to predict creditworthiness, in turn giving lenders the confidence they need to provide microloans to small businesses. Once the credit score is determined, we used a blockchain, based on the Hyperledger Fabric, to manage the entire lending process from application to receiving offers to accepting the terms to repayment,” said Isaac Markus, a researcher on the inclusive financial services group at IBM Research in Kenya.

 

IBM and Twiga Foods hope to expand the project to include other vendors and suppliers, both within Kenya and in other countries, by the end of 2018.

bitcoin exchange

Today, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman initiated the Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative, a reality discovering investigation into the arrangements and practices of platforms utilized by purchasers to exchange virtual or “crypto” monetary forms like bitcoin and ether. As a component of a more extensive push to secure cryptographic money speculators and purchasers, the Attorney General’s office sent letters to thirteen noteworthy virtual cash exchanging platforms asking for key data on their activities, inside controls and defends to ensure client resources.

The attorney general is asking for data on the platforms’ activities, inside controls, and safeguards to ensure client resources, as per an announcement from Schneiderman’s office. “As the letters explain, the initiative seeks to increase transparency and accountability as it relates to the platforms retail investors rely on to trade virtual currency, and better inform enforcement agencies, investors, and consumers,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

Platforms

The Investor Protection Bureau of the Office of the Attorney General sent letters to the following virtual currency trading platforms:

The initiative, in which the attorney general’s office sent letters to 13 virtual cash exchanging stages, tries to expand straightforwardness and responsibility as it identifies with the online offices that retail speculators depend on to exchange virtual money and better educate requirement offices, financial specialists, and shoppers.

Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative Questionnaire

The letters sent to the platforms include the questionnaire. It comprised of following sections:

  • Ownership and Control
  • Basic Operation and Fees
  • Trading Policies and procedures
  • Outages and Other Suspensions Of Trading
  • Internal Controls
  • Privacy and Money Laundering
  • Protection against Risks To Customer Funds
  • Written Materials

“With cryptocurrency on the rise, consumers in New York and across the country have a right to transparency and accountability when they invest their money. Yet too often, consumers don’t have the basic facts they need to assess the fairness, integrity, and security of these trading platforms,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Our Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative sets out to change that, promoting the accountability and transparency in the virtual currency marketplace that investors and consumers deserve.”

Popular Crypto Wallet, Blockchain.com has hired ex Goldman Sachs executive Breanne Madigan as the head of institutional sales and strategy in a bid to boost its presence with institutional clients, according to a new report published by CNBC.

According to Peter Smith, the CEO of Blockchain.com in a statement released to the press, “Breanne has a proven track record of adding value to her teams.” He continued “as Blockchain continues to grow, I can think of no one better to help scale our business.”.

Madigan, who until recently was the head of institutional wealth services at Goldman Sachs, a division whose total assets rose under her management to a record $1.4 trillion in 2017.

Madigan leaves a 13-year career with the investment giant Goldman Sachs for a cryptocurrency startup. During her time at Goldman, she worked in different roles including chief operating officer for the famed G10 foreign exchange business.

Hiring Breane Madigan shows Blockchain’s intent to boost the presence of institutional clients in the market. So far, institutional clients have not taken the leap that many people predicted after the launch of the futures last year.

For a lot of institutional investors, cryptocurrencies remain a volatile asset given the massive fluctuations the prices have recorded over the years. Bitcoin, for example, has seen a fall from grace to grass, as it hit an all-time of $19,000 in December before taking a hit, weeks after, which now sees it hover around $8,000.

Blockchain.com has 24 million wallets opened on its platform, and it recently launched a service for customers in the U.S to buy and sell digital currencies in a bid to compete with the likes of Coinbase.