Western Union Trials Ripple Tech for Settlements Services Getting Ready for Crypto Surge

CoinSpeaker
Western Union Trials Ripple Tech for Settlements Services Getting Ready for Crypto Surge
The Asia Pacific manager, Molly Shea in her recent announcement said that customers demand a higher level of efficiency in the digital age which means that payment providers have to do everything within their power to stay ahead of the game.
She said:
“Our customers really expect seamless, connected service. Not just fast. They’re expecting everything to be as fast as what they’re getting with all the other digital apps they have. So we’ve got to be able to stay ahead of that and foresee what their expectations are going to be and drive the remittance market to that, as their needs have and as wallets have been evolving.”
Testing Ripple’s Payment Solutions
In addition, Shea confirmed that Western Union continues to test Ripple’s suite of payment solutions. The company has been exploring xRapid – which utilizes the digital asset XRP – for months.
“We’re open to exploring new business opportunities. Particularly those that give us the opportunity to offer more choices to our customers. So the blockchain and cryptocurrency space is rapidly evolving. And we continue to explore possible applications for our business.
As some examples, we’re piloting some settlement tests with Ripple for certain corridors. I think the US dollar and Mexican peso is one example. And really learning about possible opportunities.”
Shea added that the options that they choose will need to be legitimate and widely acceptable for consumer use. Also, she noted, another thing that they are doing as part of their exploration is that they have made an investment in Digital Currency Group. It’s a fund that provides industry leading insights into the blockchain and cryptocurrency space.
She added:
“So I think that’s really exciting. So it’s really about staying knowledgeable about advances in all these technologies and how that might be applicable to what we want to do.”
Western Union Ready to Adopt Any Kind of Currency
Western Union Global Money Transfer President, Odilon Almeida also had claimed that the company is “ready to adopt any kind of currency”, potentially cryptocurrency.
He had stated that there is not much difference between cryptocurrency and regular digital payments. According to Almeida, the firm’s long-term stance makes it conceivably prepared to launch any type of currency, which includes blockchain-based currencies too. He had said:
“We already operate with 130 currencies. If one day we feel like it is the right strategy to introduce cryptocurrencies to our platform, technology-wise, it’s just one more currency. I think cryptocurrencies may become one more option of currency or assets around the globe to be exchanged between people and businesses. If that happens, we would be ready to launch.”
While Western Union and Ripple’s xRapid are working towards speedy cross-border payments, this pilot settlement tests could go a long way in achieving it.
Just for a reminder, Ripple was in the spotlight just recently after they reportedly fired Cory Johnson and eliminated his position. Tom Channick, Ripple’s spokesman said that Ripple has eliminated Johnson’s position altogether and considers his time with the company a massive success.
Established in 1851, 168 years ago, Western Union provides remittance services, allowing customers to send funds across borders and in multiple currencies. The company sent more than $300bn in 2018; its network has more than 550,000 retail locations; more than all the Starbucks and McDonald’s outlets in the world.
Although the XRP cryptocurrency – part of the xRapid solution – is perhaps the most famous product offered by Ripple Labs, it isn’t the only one. The company also offers an xCurrent solution, which uses blockchain technology, but not necessarily XRP, for banks and other financial institutions to communicate with one another before, during and after a cross-border transaction.
We at Coinspeaker believe that Ripple and XRP are driving innovation globally, while Tone Vays, the host of Crypto Scam & Unconfiscatable, has an opposite view. He said Ripple does not offer new solutions or is not better. Indeed, Vays says that there is nothing that Ripple does that other companies such as SWIFT, PayPal or Venmo cannot do.
Western Union Trials Ripple Tech for Settlements Services Getting Ready for Crypto Surge

Coinbase Wallet Now Offers Its Users Google Drive or iCloud for Enhanced Key Storage Security

CoinSpeaker
Coinbase Wallet Now Offers Its Users Google Drive or iCloud for Enhanced Key Storage Security
The major cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, has developed a new feature for its stand-alone digital asset wallet. According to an official announcement on February 12, users of this platform can now back up their private keys on Google Drive or iCloud. As per that statement, the new feature enables users to safeguard funds even after misplacing their private keys or devices.
The idea offers users of the Coinbase Wallet a safety net ensuring that their tokens are always safe. However, critics highlight that using cloud storage services may expose the funds to other threats like hackers. The announcement explained that:
“The private keys generated and stored on your mobile device are the only way to access your assets on the blockchain. Owners of ‘user-controlled wallets’ like Coinbase Wallet on occasion lose their devices or fail to back up their 12-word recovery phrase in a safe place, thus losing their funds forever.”
The development now lets the Coinbase Wallet store an encrypted copy of the recovery phrase on their cloud accounts. The crypto exchange also stated that neither they nor the cloud services company can access user funds. The recovery phrase key is unlocked using a password known only by the user. The backup is allegedly encrypted with AES-256-GCM encryption accessible using the Wallet mobile app only.
Developments
The latest version of the wallet supports cloud backup. Also, Android users can keep their private keys in Google Drive while iOS users can back up their data in iCloud. The Coinbase blog post added that:
“We intend to add support for other cloud services in the future”
Users must opt-in to the feature to activate it since cloud backup is optional. Users can manually review and back up their recovery phrase as before. It is advisable to also back up the passphrase manually after activating the cloud backup service. To enhance security, Coinbase suggests enabling two-factor authentication on all cloud accounts.
The Crypto exchange has added various features to place it among the top movers in the industry. As we said, Coinbase added support for Bitcoin pushing it closer to closer to creating the world’s leading user-custodied crypto-wallet.
In January, the exchange added resources for users in the US to claim crypto trades on their taxes. Coinbase and wallet service incorporated an educational guide on crypto and taxes and it integrated with popular tax software TurboTax. On the other hand, the customers from EU and EFTA benefited too. As we published last week, these users were provided with an opportunity to withdrawal fiat currency to PayPal.
How It Works
Users are required to update their Coinbase Wallet app to get the latest version that enables them to activate cloud backup. When the latest version of the app launches, a pop-up appears explaining Google Drive or iCloud backup. Customers can tap the “Back up now” to back up their private keys immediately.
It is possible to adjust private key management and backup settings from the Wallet settings menu whenever necessary. The Coinbase Wallet will regularly send a pop-up telling the user to back up their private keys to the cloud.
Coinbase Wallet Now Offers Its Users Google Drive or iCloud for Enhanced Key Storage Security

XRP Price Analysis: XRP/USD Trends of February 13–19, 2019

CoinSpeaker
XRP Price Analysis: XRP/USD Trends of February 13–19, 2019
Key Highlights:

The bulls may take over the XRP market soon;
the breakup of the $0.31 supply level may expose $0.38 price level;
the bearish momentum is gradually weakening.

XRP/USD Price Long-term Trend: Bearish
Supply levels: $0.31, $0.34, $0.38
Demand levels: $0.28, $0.25, $0.22XRP/USD is still on the bearish trend on the long-term outlook. The XRP price remains bearish as long as it still remains under the 21-day EMA and 50-day EMA. It is more than three times that the Bulls have made an attempt to push the coin above the two EMAs but the bearish pressure in the XRP market is rejecting the attempts.
On January 30, a strong bullish engulfing candle broke up the $0.31 price level followed by another bullish candle that topped the XRP price at $0.34 mark where it met a confluence that pushed the coin back to previous low of $0.28. The scenario was repeated on February 8 and now consolidating around $0.31 price level.
The two EMAs are slowly sloppy in which 21-days EMA is below the 50-day EMA and the XRPUSD price is trading on and around the 21-day EMA as a weak bearish momentum indication. A strong force is required or radical fundamental event before the XRP price can rally on the XRP market. The Relative Strength Index period 14 below 50 levels slightly rose up as a sign of bullish trend as bullish candles were coming up towards $0.31 supply level. The bullish breakup of the $0.31 supply level with the candle close above it will make the XRP price find its target at $0.34 – $0.38 price level.
XRP/USD Price Medium-term Trend: Bullish
On the medium-term outlook, XRP/USD is bullish. The bearish momentum on the 4-Hour chart in the XRP market was exhausted on February 8 at the end of consolidation. The strong bullish candle broke out of the consolidation penetrated the two dynamic resistance and closed above the two EMAs, followed by another strong bullish candle which broke up the supply level of $0.31.
The bears rejected further increase in the price of XRP and the massive bullish candle turned to upper long wick candle. The XRP price fell back to the level below the $0.31, consolidated for some time after which it resumes its bullish trend.
Currently, the XRP price is above the 21-day EMA and 50-day EMA and RSI period 14 is at 60 levels with its signal lines pointing up which indicates buy signal.
*To learn more about XRP coin, Ripple company, and their innovative solutions, please check out our awesome guide.
XRP Price Analysis: XRP/USD Trends of February 13–19, 2019

Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC’s Trend Overwhelmingly Bullish

Bitcoin price jumped higher recently and broke the $3,475 resistance area against the US Dollar.
There is a crucial bullish flag pattern formed with resistance at $3,605 on the 4-hours chart of the BTC/USD pair (data feed from Coinbase).
The price is likely to break the $3,605 and $3,625 resistance to resume its upward move in the near term.

Bitcoin price is currently trading in an uptrend above the $3,525 support against the US Dollar. BTC could continue to rise if there is a break above the $3,625 resistance area.
Bitcoin Price Analysis
After testing the $3,350 support on a few occasions, bitcoin price started a solid upward move against the US Dollar. The BTC/USD pair rallied above the $3,400 and $3,475 resistance levels. It moved into a bullish zone and settled above the $3,500 resistance plus the 55 simple moving average (4-hours). More importantly, there was a break above a significant bearish trend line at $3,410 on the 4-hours chart of the BTC/USD pair. The pair climbed higher sharply and traded above $3,700.
A high was formed at $3,709 and later the price started a downside correction. Sellers push the price below the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the recent wave from the $3,348 low to $3,709 high. However, the $3,560 level acted as a decent support. At the outset, there is a crucial bullish flag pattern formed with resistance at $3,605 on the same chart. Therefore, a clear break above the flag resistance and $3,625 might call for more gains in the near term. In the stated bullish scenario, the price could rally above the $3,680 and $3,700 resistance levels.

Looking at the chart, bitcoin price is placed nicely in an uptrend above the $3,560 and $3,500 support levels. If there is an extended downside correction, the price might find support near $3,550 or the 55 simple moving average (4-hours). The main targets for buyers could be $3,750 and $3,880.
Technical indicators
4-hour MACD – The MACD is placed nicely with positive signs in the bullish zone.
4-hour RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI is moving higher towards the 65 level, with a bullish angle.
Key Support Level – $3,550
Key Resistance Level – $3,625
The post Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC’s Trend Overwhelmingly Bullish appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

Bad Streak for Bitcoin Exchange QuadrigaCX: Another $400k Lost

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Bad Streak for Bitcoin Exchange QuadrigaCX: Another $400k Lost
Though from childhood we hear from everyone that it’s important to stay an optimist in any situation, for Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX it may be rather difficult now when one trouble is just followed by another one.
What Happened
As CoinSpeaker has already reported, the exchange has faced with a risk to be sold after the unexpected death of its CEO. Let us remind, that 30-year-old Gerald Cotton died in December and now, as it is said by the exchange representatives, nobody has access to a significant amount of users’ cryptocurrency since nobody knows the password to the exchange’s wallets.
As a result, 115,000 customers are deprived of their right to use their fiat and crypto assets. The exchange asked the court to give it a month to find a solution. Nevertheless, its lawyers say that one of the possible ways-out is selling the exchange to get money to cover its debts.
New Trouble
But it’s not the end of the company’s misfortune. Now it lost nearly $370,800 (CAD $468,675) by mistake.  As it has been revealed in the report of court-appointed monitor Ernst and Young (EY), the exchange accidentally transferred more than 100 Bitcoins to a storage wallet that is currently inaccessible.
EY experts wrote in the report:
“On February 6, 2019, Quadriga inadvertently transferred 103 Bitcoins valued at approximately $468,675 [CAD] to Quadriga cold wallets which the Company is currently unable to access. The Monitor is working with Management to retrieve this cryptocurrency from the various cold wallets, if possible.”
Now it is planned that EY will take control of the exchange’s remaining hot wallet funds and will move them to its own cold storage. According to the report, the remaining funds at the current moment include 51 BTC, 33 BCH, 0.014 BHC SV,  2,000 BTG, 800 LTC and 950 ETH.
It is also said that EY will control not only the funds of Quadriga but the electronic devices that were used by Cotten as well. Among them, there are laptops, smartphones and encrypted USB keys.
EY has also reported that it tried to collaborate with some third-party payment processors with a view to get access to the fiat balances of the exchange, nevertheless, they still haven’t managed to succeed.
What Experts Think
However, some experts have already voiced their doubts whether we can trust the information provided by QuadrigaCX. For example, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell, named this story bizarre and, frankly unbelievable. A number of analysts and industry experts have said that they are not sure whether these cold wallets of the exchanged had ever existed.
But as the recent monitor has revealed that 103 Bitcoins were moved to a cold wallet, it may mean that at least this currently inaccessible storage exists.
It is expected that EY will continue its work with the company and will try to find the key to the exchange’s crypto wallets by examining the devices owned by CEO Gerald Cotten.
Bad Streak for Bitcoin Exchange QuadrigaCX: Another $400k Lost

Crypto ATM is a clear sign of Cryptocurrency adoption in the Philippines

Local Philippines media reported recently that one of the largest commercial banks in the country, Union Bank has launched the first nationwide Crypto ATM. Union Bank released an official statement in which they clarified the purpose of the Crypto ATM.
They want to provide the opportunity for locals to easily convert Crypto and Digital Currencies to fiat currencies and vice versa. The Crypto ATM is distributed, developed and maintained by Union Bank and it will work both ways, allowing users to buy and sell Cryptocurrencies.
UnionBank stated:
“In the bank’s continued quest to cater to the evolving needs and tastes of customers, including clients who use virtual currency, the ATM will provide these clients an alternative channel to convert their pesos to virtual currency and vice versa”
Crypto ATM is a clear sign of Cryptocurrency adoption
Philippines’ stance on Crypto has been positive for quite some time now. The Philippines’ central bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has had a pro Crypto stance ever since 2017. The BSP has talked positively for Digital Currencies and is an advocate for Crypto regulation and developing the industry. The Philippines was also among the first countries to regulate and recognize Digital Currencies as an asset class and a method for remittance.
For several years now, UnionBank has collaborated with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and this Crypto ATM launch is approved by the BSP. The Crypto ATM launch is also one of the first times where a central bank works with a major commercial bank to regulate and launch Digital Currency ATMs.
For now the bank will launch only several Crypto ATMs so they can evaluate the demand and performance of the Crypto ATM. The bank is ready to distribute more Crypto ATMs if people adopt it fast enough. The level of Crypto adoption in the Philippines is already among the highest in the world, compared to many other regions. A big factor for this is the lack of banking options for a major portion of the population.
A big factor for this is the lack of banking options for a major portion of the population. A commercial Crypto ATM will increase the confidence in Digital Currencies and embrace its usage. Locals can already trade Digital assets for fiat currency through local brokerages, convenience stores and crypto applications. Crypto ATMs will also increase liquidity of digital assets.
The Philippines will become of the best Crypto hubs
The CEO of Pantera Capital, Dan Morehead stated last week on a podcast that one in ten adults in the Philippines use the country’s most popular Crypto exchange – Coins. He added:
“A week or so ago, we announced that we sold Coins.ph in the Philippines and I think that is a great example of Bitcoin’s actuale usage now and not 20 years from now. They have one out of ten adults in the Philippines as a customer. That’s very real and I think it is important for the community to really know that there are applications that are working right now”
In the beginning of 2018, Coins.ph had more than five million users that used Crypto to pay their credit, utility bills, mobile phone fee, send money across the country and more. This shows the large impact that Digital Currencies have and although the technology is “in the beginning of the beginning”, the impact can be felt by those that most need it!
Read more:

Developers should encourage the use of Decentralized Applications (dApps)
Will the Chinese New Year mark a new Bull run for Cryptocurrencies
Canabis Stocks are a great investment thanks to a new US Farm Bill worth $867 billion
Bitcoin is the perfect Digital Currency to survive a Nuclear Apocalypse

The post Crypto ATM is a clear sign of Cryptocurrency adoption in the Philippines appeared first on CoinStaker | Bitcoin News.

Coca-Cola (KO) Stock Rises as Company Debuts First New Flavor in More than a Decade

CoinSpeaker
Coca-Cola (KO) Stock Rises as Company Debuts First New Flavor in More than a Decade
The beverage behemoth has popped 5 percent in the last two weeks, and one top technician expects the rally to continue when it reports earnings this week.
We are all aware that the stock has long been looked upon by investors as a steady reliable investment. Each year the company would produce higher revenue and profits and share that by returning capital to stakeholders.
However, Coca-Cola has been seeing declining revenue trends that are concerning. Investors looking for that reliable performance can probably still count on Coca-Cola, but at this time shares are quite expensive. For investors who would love to own a stake in the company, waiting for a pullback will be fundamental in driving returns.
Carter Worth, head of technical analysis at Cornerstone Macro, said:
“What I find interesting is that this sell-off [into the Dec. 24 lows] basically comes down and finds support, plus or minus, and comes to life. Finally, if you leave the bottom trend line on and put in a descending upper line, you have the set-up that I think is, ultimately, the breakout. Simple chart, simple breakout bet, earnings coming, and I like Coke long,”
The Coca-Cola Company (KO) is, as said, scheduled to announce its fourth-quarter earnings results on February 14. The thing is that Coca-Cola exceeded analysts’ expectations in each of the first three quarters of the year. The company’s volumes have been improving on a year-over-year basis backed by its efforts to innovate better beverages with low- or no-sugar options. Coca-Cola’s marketing efforts have also helped it to enhance its volumes. Coca-Cola’s unit case volumes grew 2% in the first nine months of 2018 led by strength in the trademark Coca-Cola brand.
Coca-Cola is also innovating new flavors to address changing consumer tastes. Effective February 25, the company will offer Orange Vanilla Coke and Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar in the US market. After over a decade, the company is offering a new flavor under its trademark Coca-Cola brand.
Stock Movements and Analysts’ Ratings
As of February 10, Coca-Cola stock was rated as a “buy” by 13 out of 24 analysts (or 54%). Eleven analysts had “hold” recommendations on the stock, while none had “sell” recommendations. Following the company’s third-quarter earnings results in October, there has been only one change in analysts’ ratings for Coca-Cola. On December 13, UBS lowered its rating for Coca-Cola from a “buy” to a “neutral” but raised its price target to $51 from $50.
An average price target for Coca-Cola stock was $51.88, BUT it was implying a potential rise of ~5%. From that, Coca-Cola stock has risen 4.5% since the start of 2019, better than the 2.3% rise in PepsiCo (PEP) stock but worse than the 8.0% rise in the S&P 500 Index as of February 9.
Coke has an Earnings ESP of +0.88% at the moment, suggesting that analysts have grown bullish on its near-term earnings potential. When you combine this positive Earnings ESP with the stock’s Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), it shows that another beat is possibly around the corner. The company’s next earnings report is expected to be released on February 14, 2019.
With the Earnings ESP metric, it’s important to note that a negative value reduces its predictive power; however, a negative Earnings ESP does not indicate an earnings miss.
Many companies end up beating the consensus EPS estimate, but that may not be the sole basis for their stocks moving higher. On the other hand, some stocks may hold their ground even if they end up missing the consensus estimate.
Because of this, it’s really important to check a company’s Earnings ESP ahead of its quarterly release to increase the odds of success.
Fanta Coke?
So, for the first time in over a decade, Coca-Cola is unveiling a new flavor. Say hello to Orange Vanilla Coke and Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar.
The pair of new products go on sale Feb. 25 across the country and will be available in 12-ounce cans and 20-ounce plastic bottles, the Atlanta-based soda giant said Friday. The new flavor also will be sold at Wendy’s restaurants in fountain dispensers through the end of the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, at which point it’ll be available in all Coca-Cola soda dispensers.
“We wanted to bring back positive memories of carefree summer days. That’s why we leaned into the orange-vanilla flavor combination – which is reminiscent of the creamy orange popsicles we grew up loving, but in a classically Coke way,” said Coca-Cola brand director Kate Carpenter.
Coca-Cola (KO) Stock Rises as Company Debuts First New Flavor in More than a Decade

In Industry First, Crypto Asset Manager Morgan Creek Raises Money from Pension Funds

CoinSpeaker
In Industry First, Crypto Asset Manager Morgan Creek Raises Money from Pension Funds
On Tuesday, February 12, Morgan Creek became the first company in the crypto sector to secure massive funding from pension funds, reports Bloomberg. Two separate pension funds of Virginia’s Fairfox County will be pouring investment into the Morgan Creek Blockchain Opportunities Fund. These two funds include the Employees’ Retirement System and Police Officers’ Retirement System.
Cryptocurrency asset management company Morgan Creek has been working since long to drive institutional participation in the crypto space. Last year in 2018, the company was managing over $1 billion worth of assets. Thus, the latest news comes as a big breakthrough for Morgan Creek Digital. Company founder Anthony Pompliano tweeted about the announcement, saying:

This morning our team at Morgan Creek Digital announced a new $40 million crypto venture fund anchored by two public pensions.
The institutions aren’t coming.
They’re already here. 🚀
— Pomp 🌪 (@APompliano) February 12, 2019

Investing in Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Startups
Morgan Creek said that its new fund will majorly focus on investing in cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoins. Moreover, the company also plans to invest in blockchain startups and other token-based projects. It is likely that investors of this fund will also be having exposure to popular crypto companies like Bakkt, Coinbase and other lesser-known companies like Blockfi, Open Finance Network, RealBlocks, CityBlock Capital etc.
Earlier, Morgan Creek planned to raise $25 million for its newly launched blockchain fund. However, citing huge demand, the company increased the fundraising to $40 million with Fairfox’s entry.
In December 2018, Pompliano said that it will take time for institutions and pension funds to warm up to the crypto sector. He said:
“It will take time for pension funds to get comfortable with investing in Bitcoin. We need to educate multiple stakeholders and demystify this nascent industry. When one makes the decision, it will create a cascading effect that leads to hundreds of them jumping in.”
Institutions Looking for Long Term Crypto Investments
In the recent interview, Pompliano noted that institutions are looking for smart and long terms investments in the crypto industry. Pompliano said:
“There’s a belief in the institutional world that if the industry will be around for a long time, it will be very valuable,. The smart money is not distracted by price but looks at the long-term trends, and believes they’re betting on innovation as a great way to deliver risk-mitigated returns.’’
He further added that “These are incredibly intelligent, long-term thinking, permanent capital allocators and so, they have a very different mindset than retail investors or some other capital allocators”. While speaking to Hard Fork, the fundraising took place much earlier before the announcement. He added, “We also have invested a material amount of the fund to date already”.
Pompliano also opened up about the concerns expressed by his clients during the deal-making process. He stated that it was mostly business as usual. While further adding that “The concerns were not so much legal as this is only a traditional venture experience. We haven’t tried this in past, so this was the first venture capital fund we tried to raise, and are quite happy with the results. But, the diligence process was quite arduous — exactly what you would expect from large institutional investors like these.”
Industry Experts Extend Support
Katherine Molnar, the chief investment officer of the Fairfax County Police Officer’s Retirement System,  expressed optimism on participating in this new project. She said:
“Blockchain technology is being applied in unique and compelling ways across multiple industries. We feel it is important to be opportunistic and are excited to participate in this emerging opportunity, due to the attractive asymmetric return profile that it represents.”
Etoro senior analyst Mati Greenspan also appreciated this move saying:
“The timing just seems right for this type of action as well. With prices down 80% or more from the all-time high, now seems like a great time for managers of large investment funds to start dipping their toes in the water”.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao also welcomed this news calling a big step for crypto.

Small step for @APompliano, big step for #crypto! https://t.co/LQSNWsqQxI
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) February 12, 2019

Asset manager Morgan Creek stays heavily bullish on the future of the crypto market. In December 2018, the company said that crypto markets will outperform the S&P 500 Index in the next decade.
In Industry First, Crypto Asset Manager Morgan Creek Raises Money from Pension Funds

Ripple, Mastercard and Others Invest $1.7 Million in XRP-Based Remittance Startup SendFriend

CoinSpeaker
Ripple, Mastercard and Others Invest $1.7 Million in XRP-Based Remittance Startup SendFriend
Recently, the funding round of SendFriend, remittance startup that aims to make sending money to the Philippines easier, has finished. The firm managed to raise $1.7 million from investors that included MIT Media Lab, Barclays, the Mastercard Foundation, Ripple, TechStars, Mahindra Finance, 2020 Ventures, and 8 Decimal Capital.
David Lighton, SendFriend co-founder and CEO, commented:
“We are humbled by the support of our investors, who share in our vision to reduce the costs and improve the experience for the millions of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who send money home to support their families.”
He added:
“This investment will allow us to build out our team, focus on community engagement, and marketing efforts.”
SendFriend is a remittance firm that strives to reduce the costs and improve the experience for the millions of overseas Filipino workers who send money home to support their families. With roots at The World Bank, MIT, MoneyGram, and Harvard Business School, SendFriend was accepted into the Barclays Accelerator Program and powered by TechStars.
Currently, SendFriend allows overseas Filipino workers to transfer US dollars to the Philippine peso. SendFriend calculated that last year alone US-based users of remittance services spent over $45 billion on fees for remittance services that usually take three to five days while sending home over $650 billion. According to the company, its fees are 65% lower than the industry average as it replaces the frictions and fees of the banking system.
Further, the company plans to serve overseas workers from the Philippines, using XRP and Ripple’s xRapid product for cross-border settlements.
SendFriend explained:
“XRP is used as a liquidity vehicle for cross-border payments, enabling SendFriend to circumvent the corresponding banking system and convert USD to XRP to PHP [Philippine peso] in a matter of seconds.”
According to the press release, SendFriend is going to expand to the US, initially launching in New Jersey.
Yuan Ruan, the founder of 8 Decimal Capital, said:
“SendFriend has built strong partnerships along its supply chain, while developing a foundation to significantly minimise friction in the system. This is a highly competitive space with long-time incumbents, but we are confident in the success of SendFriend.”
Last month, SendFriend was among 13 new financial institutions that joined Ripple’s payment network RippleNet and brought the total number of customers to over 200.
For Ripple, the partnership with SendFriend is an excellent opportunity to expand its geography. Its xRapid-powered e-wallet and financial services firm Coins.ph has already partnered with UnionBank of Philippines to make it possible to use crypto ATMs to trade digital assets for Philippine Pesos.
Recently, Ripple also partnered with major UAE-based payments and foreign exchange company Finablr. Under the agreement, the blockchain-based technology of RippleNet enables Finablr to enjoy seamless cross-border payment between the firm and the largest bank of Thailand, Siam Commercial Bank, which is already a Ripple partner.
*To learn more about XRP coin, Ripple company, and their innovative solutions, please check out our awesome guide.
Ripple, Mastercard and Others Invest $1.7 Million in XRP-Based Remittance Startup SendFriend

UK Exchange Rates after Brexit Vote Aftermath

In June 2016, Britons voted to end their country’s four-decade-long membership of the EU. Back then, they had no way of knowing how Britain or her economy would fare after the vote. They could only guess, but not for long. Shortly after the referendum, the pound fell sharply against the US Dollar and the Euro and continued falling. It has so far dropped by close to 20 percent.
What precipitated this fall?
Events Affecting the Pound
The referendum result had the greatest effect on the pound. On voting day, the pound traded at $1.46 and €1.28. But after the results were announced a day later, it fell to $1.37 and €1.23. Two weeks later it had dropped to $1.29 and €1.17, a total of about 10 percent.
Three months later in October, the pound suffered another blow. This time the highest court was deciding whether the Prime Minister could start the Brexit process without going through Parliament. By the time it ruled she could not, the pound had fallen by more than 4 percent in two weeks to €1.12, though the dollar had risen slightly to $1.32.
In January the following year, the pound experienced another setback as hardliners pushed the Prime Minister to leave the EU trading block. By the middle of that month, the pound had dropped to by 3.5 percent in two weeks to $1.20 and €1.14.
More trouble was on the way. In late March, Britain started her formal exit from the EU, a move that pushed down the pound by nearly 0.70 percent in just one week to $1.24 and €1.16. Soon after, the Prime Minister lost her parliamentary majority in the June elections, and the pound dropped down further to $1.33 and €1.14.
One-and-a-half-years later, and after much fluctuation, the pound is more or less stuck in the same spot. According to figures from currency-convertor.uk exchange rates, it traded at traded at $1.32 and €1.14 on the last day of January 2019.
Events Likely to Affect the Pound
Until Britain leaves the EU in March 2019, the pound will continue to fluctuate as investors become more jittery and speculative. They know all EU treaties expire on that date. What they don’t know is what happens thereafter.
In the meantime, they can only watch and listen to British and EU negotiators, hoping to draw clues from their statements. As a result, what these officials say will stir either confidence or fear in the markets, which will, in turn, react appropriately. And the worst is not yet over.
After the exit comes the transition period running to 2020 during which the EU member states can extend the treaties with Britain. But, no one knows if they will. And if they do not, no one knows how to unravel decade-old treaties.
The EU has hinted that the process may be too complicated, even saying Britain can reapply for membership if it wants to. Again, no one knows whether Britain will rejoin. And this climate of uncertainty, the pound will only continue to weaken.
Effects of a Weak Pound
A weaker pound means more money spent on imports. And seeing that Britain imports more than she exports, she can expect to pay more in the coming months. Likewise, British holiday goers will pay more when travelling abroad. However, not everyone’s complaining.
A weak pound means more money for importers now that British goods and services are cheaper abroad. And while British tourists are paying more abroad, foreign tourists are paying less in the UK. The tourism sector is, therefore, booming.
Conclusion
The Brexit vote affected the pound sterling more than anyone expected. Since then, every major event related to Britain’s exit from the EU has adversely affected the currency. And seeing that the final exit day is months away, the currency can only be expected to fluctuate further.
 
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