News

India Considering Crypto Tokens for Financial Transactions

Indian authorities have recently revealed that the country has been exploring tokenized datasets and other cryptographic forms of blockchain technology albeit while still maintaining their rather unfavorable stance towards cryptocurrencies citing their potential role in unlawful activities such as money laundering. As such, the prevailing ban on cryptocurrencies is likely to continue regardless of the government’s interest in issuing digital tokens for financial transactions.

“There are lots of issues that need understanding and lots of studying needs to be done,” a government official who requested to remain anonymous said. “Blockchain is an interesting thing. We definitely want to milk it effectively for financial transactions. So all officials are really trying hard to understand how to separately use blockchain, without cryptocurrency. And understanding a new software takes time.”

According to local Indian news outlet, DNA India, the country’s government have been considering the applications of crypto tokens in several different areas. However, as clarified by the new outlet, the government has excluded any use of cryptography and blockchain technology for the purposes of cryptocurrencies or any other sophisticated means of money transfer and international transactions. In fact, the officials believe that the crypto-tokens, including the ones they are exploring, do not themselves hold any inherent value. Instead, they represent an underlying asset that is only accessible to the private key holders. This implies that the crypto tokens will certainly not be serving as a substitute for fiat currency but will be representing an underlying value so as to enable faster and more transparent payments.

“One will need to pay physical money to buy a token which could be stored as a code in any basic mobile feature phone. It can even be used for remittances. So, it is easy to implement from technology as well as a regulatory point of view. But in the case of cryptocurrency, one needs to allow it as a legal tender first,” the DNA India report explained.

Spearheaded by a Committee

India’s finance ministry has since set up a committee headed by the secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) for this initiative. The committee has been tasked with working on a set of regulations and a roadmap to guide the use of the proposed assets in India. A drafty of these regulations, once drafted, will be forwarded to the country’s parliament for further approval.

“The committee is studying the possibility of using cryptocurrencies or crypto technology (distributed ledger technology) for financial transactions and also what kind of regulations are needed for that [while] the currency is totally banned, the committee is discussing its other uses and how it can be mainstreamed in India,” Subhash Chandra Garg the DEA secretary, who is heading the committee, said.

videoslots

Videoslots.com Signs Supply Deal with iGaming Provider Spigo

Renowned online casino operator, Videoslots.com has entered into a supply deal with independent iGaming software provider, Spigo – a deal which is expected to see to the integration of a ton of slots content. Already, in a bid to ensure that it provides its customers with nothing short of the best and the widest variety of games, Videoslots has partnered with over 70 of the most trusted online gaming software developers and providers and the newly inked partnership with Spigo is not only an extension of these efforts but also a means of expanding its already impressive portfolio.

“Spigo have made a name for themselves developing top quality, enjoyable games and we’re sure our players will enjoy the extra choice that this partnership will deliver. With an initial roll-out of proven slots titles, we hope to follow this up with the integration of further content in the coming months,” William Ahlberg, Head of Games at Videoslots, said.

The announcement was made through an official press release that revealed that Spigo’s high-spec titles brought to Videoslots customers on both desktop and mobile. All of the titles will also feature dynamic jackpots, free games, free spins as well as a variety of unique bonus games.

Spigo’s games are playable on a wide range of devices and can be played for money or just for fun. In addition to this, the software developer has also equipped these games with both single players and multiplayer gaming capabilities – this can be found on their card-based and dice-based games.

“We’re very pleased to deliver our much-loved slot machine titles to Videoslots. They’ve proven themselves as one of the most innovative online casinos around and we look forward to a successful partnership in the future. Our variety of game genres all boast premium graphics, enjoyable gameplay, and exciting bonus features and we’re sure Videoslots’ players will enjoy the titles on offer,” Caroline Maciel, Spigo’s Sales Manager said.

Videoslots.com to Offer Content from Evolution Content

Videoslots.om has also recently signed a high profile partnership deal leading supplier Evolution Gaming to integrate the software supplier’s live casino content.

“We are always looking to add high-quality content to our portfolio and Evolution Gaming has exactly that. The demand for live casino games has never been higher, so with this partnership, we are able to offer more than ever as we continue to grow our portfolio of titles,” William Ahlberg commented on the partnership.

As per the terms of the agreement, live casino offerings like roulette, blackjack, and baccarat will all be integrated by the online casino operator – the same will apply to the casino hold ‘em, three card poker and dream catcher games.

“A lot of work has gone into developing the best live offering possible, and being able to offer that through Videoslots.com is very exciting for us. Our live offerings are some of the best on the market and we are sure Videoslots.com players will love trying them out as we look to build a long relationship together,” Sebastian Johannisson, Evolution Gaming’s Chief Commercial Officer added.

goldman-sachs-bitcoin

Goldman Sachs to Reportedly Manage Bitcoin for Its Clients

Goldman Sachs, one of the world’s leading investment banks is reportedly considering a custodial service to store bitcoin for investment funds that intend to hold cryptocurrencies, more so, bitcoin. According to a Bloomberg report that cites more than one anonymous sources familiar with the matter, the investment bank has been holding discussions about becoming one of the first mainstream financial institutions to custody crypto assets.

The custody service, if implemented, is going to be a huge gain for crypto funds and simultaneously have greater implications since it would effectively get rid of a major obstacle that has been preventing institutional investors such as endowments and pensions from comfortably adding crypto assets to their portfolios. Well, such custody services already exist, but until now, they have largely been limited to cryptocurrency startups like Coinbase – instead of Wall Street giants like Goldman Sachs, with whom many mainstream institutions prefer to work.

Response to Client Interest

According to the anonymous sources, deliberations on the issue are ongoing but a timeline for when the investment bank will roll out the services is yet to be set. They further confirmed that this is good news since the custody operation in place could also lead to other lucrative ventures including prime brokerage services.

“That means the bank would hold the newfangled securities on behalf of the funds, reducing risk for clients seeking to guard against the threat of losing their investments to rogue attacks,” the anonymous sources clarified.

As it stands, Goldman Sachs is yet to publicly confirm the claims that it is exploring the aforementioned crypto custody service. Instead, the Wall Street giant has opted to reiterate its previous plans from May this year to offer Bitcoin futures.

“In response to client interest in various digital products we are exploring how best to serve them in this space,” the investment bank’s spokesman said in an August 6 publication. “At this point, we have not reached a conclusion on the scope of our digital asset offering.”

If Goldman Sachs does indeed veer ahead with a crypto assets custody service, it will be joining JPMorgan Chase, Bank of New York Mellon, Northern Trust and Japan’s Nomura. The institution has been taking baby steps with their crypto-related offerings – it has not yet set up the full-fledged cryptocurrency trading desk it announced earlier this year – but all the same, these minor developments are huge milestones for the cryptocurrency industry.

Still, it is worth noting that Goldman Sachs remains very cautious about crypto assets despite their confirmed and rumored efforts to venture into the crypto space. In fact, the institution recently published a statement that expresses its belief that there will be further price drops across the crypto market in the short term.

illinois-gambling-law

Illinois Online Gaming Set For Hearings in November

As it stands, most states that chose to examine online poker legislation in early 2018 moved to abandon it, at least until their next legislative sessions kick off next year. Not Illinois though. The state is set to be the next state to fully launch its online gaming industry, a process that will begin when they create a regulatory framework for legalized sports betting.

There are high some pretty expectations following the announcement by a lawmaker who intends to push for comprehensive gaming expansion that will encompass sports betting, online casino games, online poker as well as daily fantasy sports. The lawmaker, Representative Bob Rita who is also the head of the Illinois House Subcommittee on Gaming Sales and Other Taxes, believes that by advancing the proposed regulatory framework bring “tremendous opportunities to create revenue, jobs, and economic growth” in the state.
The lawmaker will be bringing together the two House committees in the coming weeks so as to coordinate efforts for a significant gaming expansion bill that promises a number of economic opportunity initiatives. The first of these subcommittee hearings is scheduled for August 22 with the following shortly after on October 3.

“As I have said from the beginning in working on this issue, gaming expansion presents many tremendous opportunities to create revenue, jobs and economic growth in Illinois,” Rita said in a press release. “The gaming landscape has changed significantly since I took on this issue five years ago, and I want to use these hearings to understand how those changes present new opportunities for us to put the right package together as we look to meet budget needs and provide a spark for our economy.”

The primary focus of the hearings, according to WCSJ News, will be to address the possibility of not only online sports betting but also other forms of online gambling. It is hoped that the hearings will assist the lawmakers in better understanding of the issues that need to be addressed as far as sports betting is concerned. The lawmakers will be returning to the capitol in November – shortly after the mid-term election – for the fall veto session and when this comes to an end we will have a clearer picture of the future of online poker in Illinois.

Too Early To Get Their Hopes Up?

Online poker fans residing in Illinois have quite a lot to be hopeful about. This is because the desire for sports betting and daily fantasy sports in the state is strong and since these issues are certainly going to be discussed rather explicitly during the hearings, the push for online gambling is also going to be just as prominent. The inclusion of online poker and other online casino games is being considered by very many of the state’s casino simply because they have seen the benefits similar initiatives have brought to Atlantic City, New Jersey.

blocktrade

First Fully Regulated Cryptocurrency Exchange Goes Live

Crypto has been on a roll with a ton of new developments popping up every single day. While the nascent industry is certainly headed towards the right direction, achieving full regulatory approval is a very big deal, especially for cryptocurrency exchanges – it is even harder for them to get regulatory approval before they launch. Well, not anymore.

Liechtenstein-based Blocktrade.com has just been approved by the Finance Markets Authority and is set to be the first digital currency exchange to be open for testing – the Financial Markets Authority is a member of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). In a press release, the company confirmed that is in the process of obtaining a multilateral trading facility (MTF) license courtesy of the European Union’s MiFID II framework.

Blockrade.com’s launched the beta version for testing last week – this trial period is set to end on August 25 and will be followed by the full launch though the actual date of the launch is yet to be revealed.

“I hope early adopters will provide us with valuable feedback so that we can improve the platform even further. I believe its capability, as well as its user experience, are impressive, so I am convinced the word about our beta release will be spread widely. We are already setting up interviews with major financial, fintech and business media, so I will get a chance to talk about our development and vision for the future of finance,” Blocktrade’s CEO Luka Gubo said in a recent interview.

During the aforementioned initial testing phase, Bolcktrade.com will be offering Ethereum, bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ripple’s XRP trading pairs. Once the platform is fully launched later this year (around September), it will offer Security Tokens, Crypto Traded Indices and Tokenized Assets.

“We believe that if you operate an exchange and if you have an orderbook with a matching engine, you should also be regulated as an exchange. This removes the hurdles for traders (retail and institutional alike) to access the new asset class as the full MiFID II compliance makes us more transparent, reliable, trustworthy and enables equal access for all,” Gubo added.

The State of Crypto

Unfortunately, many institutional investors still regard the unregulated exchanges that dominate the crypto market as risks due to the lack of transparency. In fact, as it stands the European Union is yet to come up with a unified position and regulatory requirements for the cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the territory.

As for the MiFID II which came into effect at the beginning of 2018, the licensing process is quite explicit and will certainly do for now. To put this into perspective, it requires that the companies seeking its license prove that they have operated fairly, honestly and professionally in the best interests of the users of their platforms. The institutions also have to comply with a number of reporting, transparency and capital requirements.

nasdaq-bitcoin

Nasdaq, Fiat and Crypto Firms Discuss Crypto Regulation

The crypto industry is well on its way to mainstream adoption albeit with a few though significant setbacks such as the shakeup of the industry’s history of shady transactions and fraud. Fortunately, Nasdaq Inc. believes it has just what it takes to get clear the obstacles that have impeded progress in as far as the legitimization of cryptocurrencies is concerned.

Bloomberg reports that earlier this week Nasdaq Inc. hosted a closed-door meeting that was attended by half a dozen cryptocurrency companies and mainstream institution. These included Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss’ crypto exchange platform, Gemini. The main agenda of the meeting was a discussion pertaining to ‘how to encourage the cryptocurrency industry to do things that will improve its image and validate its potential role in global markets’. A source familiar with meeting also confirmed that the parties that attended the meeting also discussed the potential implications of future regulation of digital currencies, the necessary tools for such an initiative as well as what surveillance would be needed for such a future.

Certainly Not the Last

Nasdaq has recently announced a partnership cum collaboration with Gemini, who as mentioned earlier also attended the closed-door meeting. While both companies declined to give any comments on the meeting and what was discussed, Nasdaq did confirm that the meeting did indeed take place. Their collaboration will see Nasdaq tap Gemini’s SMARTS market Surveillance, an industry benchmark technology that is extensively used by Wall Street firms.

It has further been confirmed that the meeting was not the last of its kind and this is a clear indication that cryptocurrency startups are working harder towards achieving mainstream adoption and mollifying the anxieties of regulators. Considering how often regulatory clampdowns occur, stakeholders in the cryptocurrency industry are starting to employ more forward-thinking and proactive approaches to ensure its survival.

By ensuring that both crypto and fiat firms work together, Nasdaq believes that the legitimization of digital currencies will have lesser setbacks. To this effect, the company has already partnered with a number of cryptocurrency exchanges in a bid to foster or facilitate collaboration on some of the most significant impediments to crypto regulation.

“I think the technology is fascinating and it’s a very sound technology. It’s just a matter of making sure that the community is all-embracing it together,” Adena Friedman, the Nasdaq Chief Executive Officer said.

One of the most recent issues that will hopefully be addressed by this initiative is the move by United States regulators to classify digital assets as securities instead of utility tokens. The US crypto community is concerned that this move will result in some adverse effects on the emerging cryptocurrency sector.

Bitcoin_value_rise

Bitcoin Increases 5 Percent to $7,700. Is This It?

Bitcoin, the world’s largest and most popular digital currency continued its rally yesterday, shrugging off the hoard of regulatory and security worries that have significantly dragged down its price this year. According to data from CoinDesk, the cryptocurrency’s value increased by 5 percent on Monday, July 23, to a high of $7,770.58. This further represents a 20 percent increase in value from what was recorded a week ago.

Bitcoin broke above the $7,000 mark last Tuesday for this time in over a month after news surfaced that BlackRock, an asset-management company, was planning to set up a working group for the purpose of exploring digital currencies and the underlying blockchain technology. Similarly, in a report that was written last week, Grayscale, which manages $2 billion in assets said that more institutions are beginning to take interest in crypto. This, as affirmed by Matthew Newton, an eToro analyst, adds to the long-term upside for both bitcoin and the entire crypto industry.

“In the long-run, all of these points are very bullish,” said Newton, an analyst at eToro. “Technically, on the charts, what happened last week was very positive, but getting through these levels will be critical in the short term action.”

Matthew has also expressed the immense excitement and anticipation surrounding the approval or a bitcoin ETF, which is due to be decided in August by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Largest Bull Run in History?

Bitcoin has been inspiring bullishness as it breaks resistance levels and steadily moves towards the $8,000 mark – there is already a lot of anticipation that this might turn out to be the largest bitcoin bull run ever. Spurred by news of interest from major institutions, the bullishness that has been hitting the crypto market lately is not without merit and a number of experts are beginning to weigh in on all the possibilities.

According to Romal Almazo, the cryptocurrency lead at Capco, tier 1 banks are beginning to weigh their options in regards to crypto.

“Any signs of the big players entering the market will cause huge waves. Though my personal belief is that we are still a few years away from reaching this tipping point, we are in what I would refer to as an exploratory phase when it comes to institutions and crypto,” Almazo said in an interview with Express.co.uk. “Right now, as Tier 1 banks and financial institutions explore their options, the two main things that are holding them back are the lack of regulatory oversight and the numerous risks associated with digital custody and storage. This will also mean a huge opportunity for insurers to get into the market and partner with digital custodians and digital storage providers.”

RSC

Reviewing Soccer Legend Ronaldinho’s Cryptocurrency Project

The FIFA World Cup 2018 finale came and went with France working away with the highly-contested championship title for the second time. The event remains to be one of the most popular sporting tournaments in the world and while this would be certainly worth discussing, we are going to focus on how it has influenced other areas, particularly with regards to emerging technologies.

If you guessed Esports and crypto then you are in the right place. Both of these areas are getting more and more connected with the crypto market. This year’s FIFA World Cup contributed quite a lot to the crypto industry through decentralized betting offerings. Huobi, one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world also announced their Huobi Tokens (HT) and Tron (TRX) that were used to predict the winner of the FIFA World Cup 2018. If you bet on France it must have been your lucky day.

Gambling aside, bitcoin and other digital currencies were used extensively as payment methods for a number of services including travel, accommodation, food, and booze. The 2018 FIFA World Cup may be over but the connection between crypto and football is getting stronger by the minute.

Ronaldinho Soccer Coin

Ronaldinho who is arguably one of the best footballers in the world has become of the newest sports figures to venture into the cryptocurrency space. The Brazilian icon and former Barcelona player recently launched his own self-titled digital currency, Ronaldinho Soccer Coin (RSC). The cryptocurrency project is aimed at creating a football academy, hosting both amateur and global league matches, as well as the creation and operation of a soccer-first online betting platform. Moreover, the project will also attempt to develop virtual reality stadiums that will help in the analysis of the football player skills.

Ronaldinho Soccer Coin (RSC) is based on the NEO blockchain platform and was developed concurrently with the World Soccer Coin, a Malta-based company after a partnership deal. It is now in the initial coin offering (ICO) phase – the coin currently has a limited supply of 350 million, 150 million of which will be sold in privately run sales over the next few days after which the remaining 2000 million will be released to public sales at a yet-to-be-announced time.

Once it fully goes live, the RSC token will power an entire ecosystem referred to as Planet RSC that will consist of the Ronaldinho Soccer Academy, Smile Project, Ronaldinho digital stadiums and a betting marketplace among many others.

“I want to bring a smile to as many people as possible through this project. I wish as many people as possible will have a dream and hope and become happy,” Ronaldinho said about the project.

Bitcoin-price-chart

Bitcoin Price Spikes As Crypto Market Finds Momentum

The past few days have been great for bitcoin as big-money investors have started looking into getting involved in crypto. Bitcoin, which is considered to be the mother of all digital currencies has gained close to four percent in the past day. This follows a week of stability in the $250 billion region which has contributed to a solid momentum that the crypto market has begun to demonstrate – in fact, it is possible the bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash have already initiated the rally that is required to propel the market towards and beyond the $300 billion mark.

Bitcoin’s Steady Rise

Starting from earlier yesterday, bitcoin’s rose by over $200 from an initial $6,300 and clocking in at just over $6,600. Considering its current price level, bitcoin is expected to see one of its most significant price upswings in two weeks, gaining close to 4 percent in value.

June was not a particularly great month for bitcoin, with the digital currency dipping below the $6,000 mark not once but twice thus setting a new all-time low record for 2018. However, things seemed to take a turn for the better at the start of July with bitcoin being on a bit of a resurgence that saw it peak at $6,800 on July 8. This upward trend was unfortunately interrupted by a single but significant pullback that saw it lose nearly all of the price gains it had attained during the first few days of July.

After that, bitcoin came dangerously close to falling below the $6,000 mark but this has since been evaded in the past few weeks. Therefore, amidst the steady growth we have seen since July 13, yesterday’s surge may be just what is needed to push its price higher towards the $6,900 resistance level.

Institutional Investors Trouping In

Bitcoin’s price upsurge has partly been attributed to the fact that the crypto space and bitcoin are beginning to become more and more appealing to investors especially due to the emergence of trading futures. Trading futures contracts is considered to be the safer and more advantageous options by traders since it is an efficient asset to hedge the price of bitcoin as it rises and falls.

“We see continued growth both in terms of the average daily volume and open interest,” said Tim McCourt, group global head of equity products and alternative investments at the Chicago-based CME Group. “The volume has steadily increased compared to when it was first launched in December. This is not a one-sided product because we have both supply and demand. Customer demand is strong because the relationship between the futures and cash market have a tight basis spread.”

Robin_of_Sherwood_online_slot

A Look into Microgaming’s Robin of Sherwood Online Slot

Microgaming has been in the online gambling scene for quite some time and while it may seem like the age of innovation in regards to online gaming is practically over, the company still often manages to surprise their fans and slot machine enthusiasts with some additional slot games dress in various themes. The most recent addition into their pretty neat portfolio of themed online slots machines is titled “Robin of Sherwood” and it takes players to a forest in England where Robin Hood, the most famous and “noble” criminal lives.

Developed by Rabcat, Microgaming’s Robin of Sherwood online slot sees a band of merry men helping the players to trigger special wild symbols, free spins, and a Gamble Game feature. There are certainly a number of slot machines that are based on the exciting adventures of Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men, but Robin of Sherwood is a total re-imagination of the story laid out in a graphically rich manner with cool features and captivating designs just like all other Microgaming offerings albeit with a touch of an amazing array of extra features.

The forest is vividly depicted and players can even see characters from Robin Hood’s story in the reels. In general, expect nothing less than the ultimate cross-over of exciting adventure and great storytelling.

“Our striking depiction of the legendary Robin of Sherwood delivers a cutting-edge gaming experience packed with thrilling features, flawless character animations, and a volley of winning opportunities. We are delighted to supply Microgaming with exclusive gaming content that hits the mark with players and operators alike,” commented Rabcat founder and chief executive Thomas Schleischitz.

Game Details

Robin of Sherwood is a 5 by 3 slot with 234 pay lines and is filled with cartoon images of the story’s characters, as well as arrows, targets, and flags. The online slot’s playing card symbols are represented in the form of colorful flags with lower-value wins being claimed when 3 or more land in any of the places adjacent reels from the left side. Robin, Friar, the Sheriff, Little John and Maid Marion return higher prizes while the arrows are a wild symbol that can act as any of the previously mentioned symbols and therefore be used to complete combinations.

The game’s Wild Turning feature is also one of the game’s best highlights – when it is triggered, players will see Robin Hood ordering his men to fire arrows into selected reels and when the arrows hit the reels they turn into Wilds. These Wilds will increase a player’s chances of winning great prizes significantly.

Furthermore, landing three or more scatter symbols will trigger the extra spins feature. This earns a player ten additional free spins.

Another special feature that players should look out for is the Gamble Game which allows players to gamble their loot and double its size – you could also lose it all, so be careful with this one. With the Gamble Game, the player gets to choose a green or red target and Robin will then try to hit either of them. If he hits the one you selected, your loot is doubled, otherwise, you lose it all. It is that simple!