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Uzbekistan Cryptocurrency Regulation

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According to the local news outlet Vzglyad Uzbekistan is planning to regulate cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin in September 2018, with a Blockchain “skill center” which will begin operating in July.

Uzbekistan Regulation

The country’s president Shavkat Mirziyoyev supports plans for a document outlining regulatory plans for Bitcoin, cryptocurrency and Blockchain.

The proposals will come courtesy of a number of government ministries and the central bank, as well as other major authorities.

Crypto regulation plans has been an important issue this year. Neighboring Kazakhstan last year showed its desire to copy Singapore’s Blockchain permissiveness, while Belarus has also stated it wants to make a more hospitable environment for the innovative financial technology community which could help the process of regulation.

The Blockchain skill center will be managed by the Mirzo Ulugbek Innovation Center in the Uzbek capital Tashkent.

According to some recent reports, will be “formulating conditions for the use of Blockchain’s potential, increasing professional ability and supporting native developers in its uptake.”

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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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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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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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