Crypto news: A bad year for ICOs and Canada's biggest bank blocks credit-card purchases
Ripple continues to extends its reach into the financial services sector by adding more major institutions to its client base.
The blockchain-based payments solutions provider, whose native token XRP is the third largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation, has announced a slew of new partnerships in the last few days, including India’s IndusInd – which has representative offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi - and InstaRem, a Singapore-based remittance service provider with more than 20,000 subscribers.
Ripple has also signed up two major customers in Brazil, the private bank Itaú Unibancois and online money transfer service Beetech.
The news comes in conjunction with Ripple’s announcement that they are investing $40bn in software upgrades to ensure the verification of transactions on the blockchain technology remains smooth. SBI and Santander are said to be supporters of the initiative.
If 2017 was the year of Bitcoin, it was also the year of initial coin offerings, or ICOs, as everyone jumped into the cryptocurrency space and tried to launch their own blockchain-based currency.
However, proving that this is a very easy way to lose a lot of money, website Bitcoin.com revealed that of the 902 ICOs announced last year, 142 failed before raising funding and another 276 failed after fundraising. That’s a 46 percent failure rate. Another 13 percent might still be around but seem to have almost no value. Added together, that’s $233 million down the crypto-pan.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for Canadians to buy and trade cryptocurrencies. Earlier this year, the eToro exchange kicked off all Canadian users and the largest bank is banning credit-card use on local and international exchanges. Canada’s largest bank, Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank), announced that is “halting the use of its credit cards to buy cryptocurrency as it conducts a review of the ‘evolving market’,” a move that may be followed by The Bank of Nova Scotia, who said they were “closely reviewing” their policies.
If you’re still struggling to get to grips with Bitcoin, alt-coins and all things Bitcoin, then an 11-year-old from Massachusetts might have the solution.
Middle school pupil Andrew Courey has just published Early Bird Gets The Bitcoin: The Ultimate Guide To Everything About Bitcoin, which is available on Amazon Kindle and the just-launched paper copy.
It uses easy-to-grasp analogies about the space – your wallet is mailbox to which anyone can send coins but only have the keys to open, or blockchain is essentially Google Docs – to provide a useful starting point.
“Anyone can learn about cryptocurrencies if they're willing to spend 70 to 80 hours researching every source until they find a couple sources that make sense,” Courey told CNBC. “The whole book, in the simplest terms, is very easy to read and simple to understand.”For all the latest banking and finance news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.