The FinTech Crypto Briefing: Risking your life for crypto
The growing frenzy around cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) is undeniable but most investments only involve the risk of losing your money.
In an effort to promote its ICO, Irish-based social media platform ASKfm organised an expedition in which four climbers were tasked with leaving $50,000 worth of its crypto tokens at the peak of Mount Everest.
The alpinists made it to the top, despite one of them suffering multiple instances of frostbite on his fingers and feet. ASKfm stated: "One Ledger wallet is officially up there for the bravest to grab."
However it has been widely reported that one of their Sherpa guides – Lam Babu – died during the stunt. ASKfm is holding an internal investigation into the tragedy.
The incident is believed to be the first crypto-related casualty.
Cryptocurrencies truly 'taking off'
An Australian airport has made history by becoming the world’s first crypto-friendly airport.
Thanks to a new collaboration between Brisbane Airport and TravelByBit, visitors can now use a range of digital currencies at more than 30 retail stores in the complex.
"We’ve got travellers from all over the world testing it out and I think the merchants are really excited – they have been telling us they have been getting a lot of interaction from all the different visitors and that’s created a bit of a buzz," said TravelByBit CEO Caleb Yeoh.
The move has been hailed by crypto enthusiasts as a major step forward.
Brexit, Schmexit: The UK will maintain 'FinTech leader' status
…At least that’s according to a new report commissioned by Mastercard.
The survey, entitled ‘Nordic FinTech Disruptors Report 2018, says the Nordic region will become a global FinTech hub by 2020 but that the UK will maintain its status as Europe’s primary FinTech central.
This is despite the economic and political headwinds resulting from Brexit.
So whether you're a Brexiteer or absolutely dreading the day that we leave the European Union, you can now sleep well knowing that Britain’s reputation as a FinTech champion will remain untarnished.
Ripple puts (digital) money where its mouth is
Ripple may be responsible for creating the world’s third largest cryptocurrency, XRP, but the start-up is not resting on its laurels.
It has partnered up with 17 top universities around the world – including MIT and University College London – to provide them with $50m of funding.
The money will be used to “support and accelerate” academic research, technical development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments.
Remaining humble, Ripple described itself as “one of the most mature companies in the space” and said it was uniquely suited to partner with the academic community and help lead development of this ecosystem.
Whatever your view on cryptocurrencies, there’s no denying the potential impact of blockchain technology and what it can accomplish with a little bit of research.
Is that what you call decentralised?
Remember Block.one’s EOS initial coin offering which raised over $4 billion after closing on 1 June?
Well, it turns out that nearly half of all EOS tokens distributed during the year-long ICO are held by only ten addresses.
To put this into context: one of the addresses holds 75 million tokens, which is worth approximately $1 billion.
It’s already estimated that 40 per cent of all Bitcoins are being held by no more than 1,000 individuals and there’s always been the underlying concern that ‘Bitcoin whales’ can – and do – manipulate the market by dumping large quantities of them.
It’s now time to ask the same thing is happening with some of the other top cryptocurrencies and question whether or not they truly are decentralised.