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Circle Now Owns Poloniex

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What used to be only a rumor has become the latest news, the mobile payment app Circle, has just announced that they have acquired, Poloniex, one of the biggest US-based crypto exchanges for $400 mln.

Sean Neville and Jeremy Allaire stated that the one of the first issues for Circle to address is customer support and the technical side needed to support the platform.

Circle/Poloniex Plans

They also said:

“We also look forward to scaling Poloniex up and out through market expansion and localization, increasing token listings where possible and appropriate, and exploring the fiat USD, EUR, and GBP connectivity that Circle already brings to its compliant Pay, Trade, and Invest products.”

Neville and Allaire are looking for  growing the Poloniex platform into more than a crypto-only exchange. Their vision:

“Robust multi-sided distributed marketplace that can host tokens which represent everything of value: physical goods, fundraising and equity, real estate, creative productions such as works of art, music and literature, service leases and time-based rentals, credit, futures, and more.”

Poloniex’s press release resonated with Circle’s plans.

“To bringing Circle’s experience to increase the scalability and reliability of our platform and operations. User experience is paramount. If we aspire to build a token marketplace that will change the fundamentals of global value exchange, we cannot settle for anything less than excellence in our product.”

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Cryptocurrencies

Gill Haus from Capital One

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Forbes recently spoke to Gill Haus, the Senior Vice President, Retail and Direct Bank Chief Information Officer at Capital One.

Haus strongly believes in having his team regularly experiment with the latest technology in order to make the best judgments when it comes to applicability to the Bank and its objectives.

In the interview he talks about his role in Capital One and the future of Blockchain and the crypto community

Gill Haus Talks

Haus

Peter High: Yours is a bank that is synonymous with innovation and the move towards digital technologies. Could you provide a bird’s eye view of the transformation that you have helped lead?

Gill Haus: It is like the common saying which is, “Technology changes everything.” If you think about Capital One and who we are, for us to be competitive and provide the services we want to our customers, we must keep up with emerging technologies.

The problem is that we have a lot of legacy technologies. I have engineers who spend time on a mainframe or on a variety of different systems that we have acquired over the years. Those systems require care and feeding, and engineers that are caring for those systems are not building products, features, and services for our customers. At the same time, if we do not build the skills internally to be out of that hole, we will constantly be behind.

Technologies like the cloud and machine learning are more commonly available than they have ever been in the past. The cost of entry for someone to compete with us is small and our competitive moat only helps to a certain point.

Our focus has been on systematically modernizing everything we do. That means we upgrade our legacy systems and go to the cloud. We have approached this in a few ways. One is making sure that we have the right talent on the ground and making sure that the talent has the tools and systems that they need and want to use.

It is one thing for us to say, “Come work at the bank,” which is already not that appetizing to a technologist.” It is another to say, “Come work in the bank, and you will be able to make your own projects if you have an idea.” “Come work in a bank. You will be the first to move the bank’s platform on to the cloud.” “Come to the bank. You will be able to explore different ways of using data, machine learning, etc.”

That is one of the benefits of the lab, for example, where people can come do stints and use the equipment to do that work. It is also helping us to transform ourselves into a technology company. We say it in the jokey way which is, “We are a technology company that just happens to be a bank.”

High: Even an organization that is 25 years old has enough “technical debt” that you need to modernize. You need to ensure that you are organizing in a way that enables you to more readily seize future opportunities. Can you talk about some of those modernization activities such as the move to the newer stack of cloud-based technologies?

Haus: Think about the mega-cap technology companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon that have relentlessly pursued areas like advertising and commerce. The reason they have been able to grow so quickly is they had this fresh start. They were built on foundational technologies and were therefore able to move quickly. They were able to gain that market share fast without having that technological debt. We recognized that. We said, “We will look at what other organizations do.” They will get to a point eventually when they are tacking on the peripheral and doing a lot of this work. We did not want to be one of those companies.

One of our internal missions is to transform everything in the backend. One of those is moving ourselves full steam on to the cloud. It is not a surprise we are working closely with Amazon’s AWS for our platforms.

When you talk about billions of dollars in deposits being regulated, there is a different approach that you take for the cloud. That has been an amazing journey where we learn how to be what we call well managed. In a lot of ways, we have been able to influence not only our own engineers but also influence Amazon and other companies in how they prioritize the work on their environments.

Tied to that question is the conversation we are having about DevOps. It sounds a bit cliché at this point because it is what everybody says, but for us, it has been more of a mindset change around how to think about building, testing, deploying, and supporting the application. We must reinvent every single step in that process and we are going to modernize or develop this technology.

To read the full interview go to: https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterhigh/2018/02/26/a-capital-one-cios-take-on-blockchain-ai-innovation-labs-and-more/#735750ee4c77

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Cryptocurrencies

Ireland: Property Bitcoin Payment

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Hagan Homes, one of Northern Ireland’s most influential and successful residential property developers, has announced that it will be accepting Bitcoin as a payment method, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Bitcoin Payment

Payment

Jamesy Hagan, the managing director, stated that there is a growing international interest in working, living, and investing in Northern Ireland, as well as a “significant growth in the use of Bitcoin worldwide:”

“Our acceptance of this new channel reflects our willingness to respond to the market.”

The Belfast Telegraph also writes that Hagan Homes is now the first house-building firm in the Republic of Ireland to make the announcement of Bitcoin implementation.

Hagan made some comments on the current volatility in crytpocurrencies, with Bitcoin’s price going from $20,000 to $7000 in just a few months:

“Of course, there are some risks to using Bitcoin for payment due to the cryptocurrency’s volatility, but buyers and sellers are finding creative ways to deal with these challenges […] By incorporating the learning from our peers into our approach we can embrace this innovation.”

Although they are not the first in the world, it is an important step in the crypto community and Northern Ireland as a whole.

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Cryptocurrencies

Coinbase’s Master Plan

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In a recent interview with Business Insider, Dan Romero, shared his thoughts on everything from cryptocurrency exchange rivals such as Robinhood, to the famous SegWit techn that could improve Bitcoin, to the future of Coinbase as a company.

Interview From Becky Peterson

Coinbase

Becky Peterson: The competition seems to be growing, with a lot of companies launching cryptocurrency exchanges. How do you define yourself and see the positioning of Coinbase in the long-term compared to other companies in the space?

Dan Romero: We are a first mover in the space in terms of building a consumer friendly brand. We are enabling individuals to be able to get into the ecosystem and be able to experiment with digital currency.

We’ve had a lot of challenges around with scaling. We’ve had a lot of customers come on to the platform in the last year and we’re doing everything in our power to make sure we’re giving them a great customer experience. It’s not where it needs to be today. I think hopefully soon we’ll have made significant improvements there.

But I think if we shift to long-term, Coinbase is going to be 100% focused on cryptocurrency. Our mission is to build an open financial system for the world. We’re not interested in equities or options trading or any of the other kind of traditional financial system products.

We’re focused on digital currency. Where we will be successful is if customers fundamentally think of us as “the crypto company.” That is our focus. So with other folks coming into the market, it’s validation that cryptocurrency is more mainstream. But we fundamentally don’t view cryptocurrency as a feature. It’s our business.

If you look at a couple of the more recent entrants into the market, they don’t allow you to send and receive digital currency, or they make you jump through significant hoops to do that. And I think that is antithetical to the idea of cryptocurrency to begin with.

It’s fundamentally something to be used, and you can move it around just like you can more your own files around. So the fact that a service would come in and let you speculate on price but not actually use currencies — in some ways that’s actually concerning to me.

Peterson: What do you mean? The fact that Coinbase offers payment features and things like that?

Romero: Yeah, but I think a great example, there is a competitor that’s rolling out today, where if you go to their help section, they don’t allow you to send digital currencies to them, and in order to access withdrawals you have to go through multiple hoops and it may take you a week to do that.

Peterson: Are you talking about Robinhood?

Romero: Yeah, I think they’re launching today.

New CFO

Business meeting

Peterson: Back to the business side of things — this week Recode reported that Coinbase is looking for a new chief financial officer to help take the company public. Is that true?

Romero: We are hiring a bunch of different executives at the company. It’s part of the scaling effort. We have a CFO right now. We may or may not be looking for a CFO. But I think the broader story here is that we’re trying to scale the company because we’re looking to build a lasting company in the space.

Peterson: In the case that Coinbase does go public, how do you convince investors that this company has a future?

Romero: I think our view is that this is similar to the beginning of the internet. So we’re trying to build a Google-like company for the cryptocurrency space. Things like SegWit are a good example, where we need to ensure that we have the latest and greatest in terms of cryptocurrency. That’s how we’re going to be the cryptocurrency company, that if we do go public at some point in the future, we’ll have that narrative.

So we will be focused on that as a business, rather than a feature. We think a lot of the developer interest we’ve seen grow in 2017 is validation of the fact that this is something that will have staying power, rather than a flash in the pan.

Peterson: When it comes to new technology like SegWit — how do you perceive the role of Bitcoin Core and the open source foundations behind the cryptocurrencies on your platform? Do you think those foundations will lead innovation on crypto or do you see Coinbase doing R&D?

Romero: We are actually trying to increase the amount of contributions we’re making at the core protocol level. We have a significant amount of talent that we’re trying to hire for, for engineers that would only be working on protocols. So no direct benefit to Coinbase, they would be doing open source development on protocols like bitcoin and ethereum.

Interview source: http://www.businessinsider.com/

 

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