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Thai Securities Firms to Team Up for Crypto Exchange Launch


A group of traditional securities firms in Thailand is planning to jointly launch a new cryptocurrency exchange, a report indicates.

According to the Bangkok Post on Monday, the Association of Securities Companies (ACE) – a body that represents the country's securities firms – said it is in talks with regulators about allowing established financial firms to offer crypto exchange services.

Furthermore, the association's chairwoman, Pattera Dilokrungthirapop, said in the article that at least several securities companies are filing a registration application with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as preparation for the launch of a crypto exchange.

Dilokrungthirapop explained that, since traditional financial companies need to incorporate new systems to protect investors' assets, and keep those assets separate from their own, they may be better off uniting to build a single platform to «reduce operating costs and collaborate on sharing innovative technology.»

ACE said the move comes at a time when its member companies have shown increasing interest in stepping into crypto-related businesses, such as offering trading and facilitating initial coin offerings.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, Thailand passed a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies in May, which is now pending publication in the country's Royal Gazette before becoming law.

Under the new rules, any entity that conducts crypto exchange transactions or initial coin offerings in Thailand must be registered and approved by the SEC.

Coinbase's New Custody Service Is Now Live


Coinbase's institutional product has begun accepting deposits, the exchange announced Monday.

Coinbase Custody, aimed at institutional hedge funds and other clients who can deposit a minimum of $10 million, accepted its first deposit last week, the company announced on Twitter. Now, the new service is live for all customers.

The exchange currently holds more than $20 billion in crypto assets, it also said Monday — a number the company hopes Custody will help raise by another $10 billion.

First announced in November 2017, Coinbase Custody's clients will pay $100,000 as a set-up fee and a 10 basis point fee-per-month on the assets being held, as previously reported by CoinDesk.

The product was formally launched in May, when the firm further explained its plans to work with a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission-regulated broker-dealer. The exchange went one step further earlier last month, when it announced it was in the process of acquiring a broker-dealer license, an alternative trading system license and an investment advisor license.

Should the licenses be approved, Coinbase will be able to begin offering securities on top of its current products.

At present, Coinbase Custody is open to clients in the U.S. and Europe. While no firm timeline was announced, the exchange said it hopes to open up to clients in Asia by the end of 2018.

Crypto Valley Declares Blockchain Voting Trial a 'Success'


Zug, a city in Switzerland known as the «Crypto Valley,» has successfully completed its first test of a local blockchain-based voting system.

As CoinDesk reported on June 11, the Swiss city launched an e-voting pilot platform built on blockchain technology as part of the city's efforts to embrace the technology. The voting process took place between June 25 and July 1, and stored both polling information and residents' IDs on the system.

SWI swissinfo.ch, a news outlet owned by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, reported on Monday that the city's head of communications, Dieter Müller, claimed that «the premiere was a success.»

Following the positive results, Müller said that «technical details» of the voting process will be evaluated over the coming months.

According to a press release from the city government on June 25, the goal of building this blockchain-based platform was to make the voting process «safer and less susceptible to unnoticed manipulation.»

The e-voting system was developed by Luxoft, a software company based in Zug, in partnership with the city and the department of computer science at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences.

At the time, Vasily Suvorov, Luxoft's chief technology officer, said:

«There are concerns about electronic voting because voting is a fundamental mechanism for direct voting… That's why we believe that this technology should not belong to a single company. We will build the e-voting platform 'Open Source' so that people can understand what the technology is and how it works. We want to encourage more people to develop blockchain-based applications for governments worldwide.»

'Secret Contracts' Developer Engima Launches Test Blockchain


A built-from-scratch blockchain aiming to enable private contracts between users has officially entered testing.

Announced Saturday, the news marks the latest step in a journey for startup Engima to launch its own technology – developed at the MIT Media Lab, the project is based on a white paper published in 2015. Initially aimed at the hedge fund sector, Enigma now brands itself as a protocol for «secret contracts,» which it demonstrated last month at CoinDesk's Consensus 2018 event.

As such, the announcement means that the technology, a form of modified smart contracts designed to obfuscate the origin of a transaction, as well as allow a blockchain to compute contracts without decrypting them, is now closer to real-world use.

However, in remarks, project leaders were quick to caution expectations.

Stressing the novel nature of the technology, they wrote:

«We acknowledge that development of these types of innovative technologies is non-linear and an ongoing, iterative process. We're not simply forking an existing platform – we're building something completely new and essential, something that will take (and has taken) many people and many days and nights to build.»
Still, signs are others are beginning to take an interest in the technology, even at this early stage.

Earlier this month, Enigma announced it was working with technology giant Intel to further develop its platform, as well as applications to run on the protocol.

After the testnet launch, Enigma plans to prepare for a mainnet launch within the next three months, according to its roadmap.

Crypto Startups Don't Need Sandboxes, They Need Greenhouses


I've written before about how I believe regulatory «sandboxes» for financial services innovation serve a useful function and, in absence of federal action in the U.S., states should establish them.

Since that time Arizona passed legislation to establish a sandbox, other states are trying, and there are continuing and active discussions in my home state of Delaware around how to support financial services innovation.

During my testimony at a Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Commission hearing on cryptocurrency, I took the opportunity to give a plug for regulatory «sandboxes» because I think crypto and blockchain projects are excellent candidates for such programs.

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Delays Be Damned: Tezos Blockchain Tech Enters Beta Testing


After months of painful wrangling, the Tezos network is up and running – more or less.

The Tezos Foundation announced on Saturday that the blockchain's «betanet is live.» As the group explained prior to the launch, this means that a fully functional version of the network is available, but still «experimental» in nature, with downtime and even emergency hard forks of the network possible.

The foundation's plan is for transactions that occur on the betanet to remain valid on the mainnet – the final version of the network, expected in Q3 – but it cautioned that large or important transactions should still wait until the network is more reliable.

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What Does Crypto Care if Zooko Is a Millionaire?


2,033 ZEC.

That's how much Zooko Wilcox, CEO of the Zcash Company, earns per month from the $650 million zcash cryptocurrency network he helped create. Worth $305,000, or $3.65 million annually, the details of his salary, revealed by Wilcox in a presentation at Zcon0 Tuesday, have sparked somewhat of a scandal on social media.

«I really did this whole 'starting a cryptocurrency' thing wrong, didn't I?» Jackson Palmer, founder of $260 million cryptocurrency dogecoin, tweeted.

It's a notable critique, as in the past few weeks, an independent zcash wallet developer went so far as to threaten to «rage quit» and split the blockchain in the absence of further funding from the community. Central to his issue was the lack of monetary contributions he was receiving for his work, which as the response indicates, was necessary for the safety of the network.

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US Judge Says Boxer-Backed ICO Token Is a Security


A Florida district court has published an analysis explaining how a crypto token is a security.

Magistrate judge Andrea Simonton of the Southern District of Florida, in a report on whether to freeze the assets of the Floyd Mayweather-endorsed Centra Tech crypto startup, released a detailed explanation of how the company's token demonstrates the different aspects of a security under existing law. While it may not be a precedent for other similar court cases, the report may be cited in other legal battles asking whether crypto tokens are securities or not.

The defendants notably are not challenging the assertion that Centra's CTR token is a security, according to the document. Unlike the case brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, this decision is part of a lawsuit filed by previous investors claiming they lost money due to the unregistered securities sale.

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The EOS Arbitrator Problem: A Crypto Governance Breakdown Explained


«They have to figure their own shit out.»

Those were the harsh words of one of EOS' top «block producers» – the network participants in charge of maintaining the blockchain – on Monday as the world's fifth largest cryptocurrency attracted public ridicule for its current state of confusion.

As told to CoinDesk by Kevin Rose, co-founder and head of strategy at EOS New York, the statement could reflect the broader snags the software has faced since release, but this comment was focused specifically on the EOS Core Arbitration Forum (ECAF).

So far, it seems many both inside and outside the EOS community aren't clear what ECAF, the main body tasked with resolving disputes between token holders on the network, is and what control it has over transactions.

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Decentralizing Popular Dapps Isn't Just a Scaling Problem


It's no secret that building large-scale, fully decentralized applications is a challenge, but it turns out the hurdles have to do with more than just scaling.

Decentralized application or «dapp» developers frequently hit roadblocks, since ethereum – the go-to platform so far in dapps' short history – can process only around 25 transactions per second, and the more transactions the network is asked to handle, the more each one costs the user. These limitations on transaction throughput are commonly referred to as «scaling» limitations, and everyone from the casual dapp user to ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin is keenly aware of them.

So when a particular dapp turns out to be less-than-totally decentralized, with parts of the software running on centralized servers, say, the solution seems obvious.

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