Chinese Mining Company Canaan Reportedly Applies for IPO with the US SEC

Canaan Creative, one of the largest manufacturers of Bitcoin miners in China, has allegedly filed an application for a $200 million initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S.

The news was reported on July 31st via a blog posting on local social media platform – WeChat – by an official account named “IPO Zao Zhi Dao,” claiming that the company had already secretly submitted the application with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to people with knowledge of the matter, the Chinese manufacturer is seeking to raise $200 million through the public listing. Despite being less known in the west than its competitors such as Bitmain, Canaan is one of the three main Chinese Bitcoin mining players, the third being Yibang International.

Canaan’s first attempt to go public was during March 2018 when the Chinese manufacturer was seeking to file for a $1 billion IPO on the Hong Stock Exchange. However, the plan was later dropped by the company and the company’s Hong Kong Stock Exchange IPO application became void in November 2018.

Earlier this year, there were reports that Canaan was considering an IPO in New York, although the process was in its early stages. According to SEC’s new rules implemented in July 2017, companies in the US can make confidential filings of any size. The changes were made in an effort to encourage more IPOs. Prior to that, only smaller companies were allowed to file private applications.

In March, it was reported that the firm was considering an IPO attempt on the newly created Science and Technology (Sci-Tech) Innovation Board within the Shanghai Stock Exchange, in addition to its talks with the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ.

Notably, in March Canaan Creative had raised additional capital in its latest funding round, however the exact amount was not made public. The funding came from all existing backers as no new investors reportedly came on board. Following this news, this would make Canaan as the first Chinese market participant to successfully take its case to the U.S. market.

Meanwhile, Canaan is not the first Bitcoin (BTC) manufacturer to consider filing an IPO. Cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain had earlier filed for an IPO, however failed to make a bid with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Following that, Bitmain was reportedly considering filing an application in the U.S. with the SEC as of the end of June. Rival mining manufacturer Yibang’s attempt at filing an IPO with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange had also met with rejection.

At the time of Bitmain’s failure in December 2018, many strongly believed that the then highly volatile nature of BTC was the reason which gave regulators cold feet. The month prior to that, mining had suffered as BTC prices plunged, leading to significant shifts as participants attempted to stay financially stable.

Six months later, the landscape had transformed, with Bitcoin seeing a dramatic reversal of fortunes across the mining industry. Enters the Trading Venue with A New Platform, which has created more than 40 million digital-asset wallets, is moving into the trading game with a new exchange.

Blockchain Building a Trading Venue Alternative

The platform – named The PIT – was being developed over the past year in away from public eyes. The PIT aims to compliment its wallet business, which allows more than 40 million users around the world to store, send, and receive a number of digital assets.

In a blog post published by the company, Blockchain highlights the shortcomings of existing blockchain platforms, including unreliability, illiquidity, and unfair mechanisms.

“On top of all this they are overly complex: getting the full feature set often requires accounts at multiple venues – one with plenty of asset selection, one with decent fiat support, and perhaps one with leverage.”

The PIT is set to be an exchange that excels at order execution, providing increased speed, liquidity and reliability, according to the announcement.

Blockchain’s head of retail products, Nicole Sherrod, stated that the PIT can connect to non-custodial Blockchain wallets for nearly instant transfers. Sherrod said that with nearly 40 million wallets already created – and an exchange matching-engine set up in London’s Equinix LD4 data center – PIT could be posed to attract more liquidity than competitors.

The company wants to leverage its extensive user base, existing wallet service and keep the asset flows within their platform. Instead of sending their assets to other exchanges, Blockchain wallet users can now seamlessly trade on PIT.

“They encourage users to keep their crypto deposited, rather than safely secured in their own private keys,” according to the post.

PIT Wants to Beat the Competition

The competition, however, is relatively tough on this front. Earlier this year, eToro also launched its own regulated crypto exchange, focusing on markets other than the U.S. Recently, institutional aimed exchanges such as ErisX launched spot cryptocurrency markets.

As for the PIT, the exchange is available to users in over 200 countries, with 26 trading pairs initially, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC). In some countries, users are able to deposit and withdraw in fiat currencies – the U.S. dollar and the Euro. Blockchain plans to quickly expand in the near future and add more trading pairs.

“Beyond the 26 [assets] we already know what our phase two asset listings are going to be, as well as phase three,” Sherrod said.

Right from the start, PIT will offer lower fees than some other exchanges, including Coinbase and Gemini. Further, trading fees have been waived for the first 30 days. After that, traders will pay 0.24% and 0.14% in taker and maker fees, respectively, at volumes lower than $100,000 per month.

Austria’s High-Tech Passport Maker Released Its Own Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet

Youniqx Identity AG, a subsidiary of the Austrian State Printing House (Oesterreichische Staatsdruckerei or OeSD), has developed a cryptocurrency hardware wallet, according to a press release published on July 29th.

The Austrian printing company dates back to the early 1800s and is a safe and secure printing company that has become the country’s high-tech passport maker and provider of other secure identity solutions.

The new device is aimed to address the vulnerability of online wallets to hacking, which are a great security risk according to the printing firm. The hardware wallet — named Chainlock — will enable the offline storage of private keys with access to cryptocurrency wallets. The device is apparently capable of generating the private key in a (patent applied for) high-security enclave, meaning it cannot be viewed by any outside party including Youniqx or OeSD employees.

Whilst the wallet can be managed through an app, it is secure from unauthorized access to private keys over the internet, WiFi and NFC. Notably, crypto-stealing malware like CryptoLocker cannot access keys on the device.

Chainlock will take the form of a credit-card sized sliver of plastic which is also water and heat resistant. The wallet will be available via the firm’s partners, including Tokenize Exchange in Singapore and Coinfinity in Central Europe. Priced at €59.99 (around $67) including VAT, the Chainlock wallet is currently available for Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Although the Austrian State Printing House is traditionally a high tech paper printer, which specializes in identity document manufacturing that implements and offers personalization solutions for identity documents such as Austrian passport, it has recently moved into more high-tech digital identity and security offerings, some of which YOUNIQX was set up to develop. The subsidiary has already launched a secure video identification service MICK (My Identity Check), and MIA (My Identity App), which is an integrated identity management platform.

The new wallet is equipped with anti-fraud features that are available via Coinfinity. Some of its anti-fraud features are similar to those found on newer forms of passports or fiat currency, which have micro-printing on both sides, hologram, as well as a continuous color gradient, tactile texturing and UV and infrared-visible patterns.

Grant Thornton Reveals the Firm Audited $10 Billion Worth of Cryptoassets

Most recently, international auditing firm Grant Thornton has revealed that it has audited more than $10 billion worth in cryptoassets within the first quarter of 2019. On top of that, these audits accounted for 40 different cryptocurrencies across more than 100 million addresses.

Founded in Chicago in 1924, Grant Thornton LLP (Grant Thornton) is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax and advisory firms. The global auditing firm has revenues over $1.8 billion and works with a broad range of public and private companies, government agencies, financial institutions, as well as civic and religious organizations.

Johnny Lee, national practice leader for Forensic Technology Services at Grant Thornton, has noted in a statement that

“Cryptocurrency companies must contend with an auditing challenge that is at once simple and complex. First, can you prove that you own and control the assets you are claiming as yours? And, second, do those assets really exist – and can you prove as much?

Whilst inconsistencies have been discovered between the blockchains and balance sheets, the firm was not allowed to disclose such cases.

Markus Veith, a partner in the Audit practice at Grant Thornton and leader of the firm’s Digital Assets practice, has disclosed that the firm had spent 4 years developing technology platforms and auditing methodologies which would allow creating point-in-time balances for cryptocurrencies.

Grant Thornton’s proprietary hybrid-cloud audit platform allows the firm to provide a wide range of solutions to its clients. The platform has audited for 40 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple, EOS, Monero, Zcash, USDC and all ERC20- compliant tokens.

In addition to that, Veith said the firm has also created proprietary methods for testing the ownership and existence of each of these currencies, with features that are more efficient and effective than public blockchain-explorers would otherwise provide.

To scale these capabilities to the rapid testing of tens of millions of addresses, the firm has generated proprietary forensic nodes for certain complex currencies such as ETH, BTC, BCH.

Currently, the firm serves between 15 and 20 clients that are highly leveraged in crypto assets, including prominent crypto-denominated exchanges.

Since launching four years ago with one institutional client that only held BTC, the firm had taken a risk to innovate and challenged itself to take on more digital assets. According to the firm, since the market bottomed out in 2018, the firm’s clients have diversified their portfolios. Noteworthy, Grant Thornton has also become the firm of record for Coinbase’s USDC.

Verizon Recruiting for Blockchain-Related Positions

Telecom giant Verizon appears to be actively looking to hire new recruits to build a blockchain team, according to the company’s latest job search. The company posted five job openings for blockchain developers amongst other 35 open positions which require blockchain knowledge.

Based on the job descriptions, Verizon is interested in creating a distributed network, with various use cases. It is also alluded that Verizon is planning to build a customer-facing product geared towards privacy, security, and payments.

An advert regarding the position:

 “This role will be responsible for developing and delivering of initial prototypes and product proof-of-concepts which includes use case development, technical requirements, customer co-development testing and commercialization handoff. The focus of the individual will be on blockchain and other identity/security initiatives (e.g. confidential computing, secure payments) in the emerging technology space.”

Currently, there are over three dozen blockchain-related positions open at Verizon. Out of these positions, there appears to be results for technology, marketing and strategy positions.

The earliest job posting, listed on June 13th, is still open and is designated for the role of lead software engineer. Applicants with “knowledge of Blockchain technologies such as Hyperledger” will be preferred.

Most importantly, the company posted 5 openings for a blockchain developers on July 1st. According to the listing, successful applicants would be required to “research, design, develop and test blockchain technologies.” Other responsibilities include brainstorming applications, working with clients and getting involved in the world of blockchain.

Amongst other requirements, candidates who want to apply must have a Bachelor’s degree or four-plus years of experience working in the industry. Consequently, a degree in computer science or engineering is a great advantage, and understanding software development on top of Python would be seen as a plus. Likewise, knowledge of cryptography, P2P networks, and data structures are preferred.

Meanwhile, Verizon is not the only one in the telecom space venturing into the blockchain industry. Earlier this year, AT&T announced that it was accepting bitcoins for its cable bill payments via BitPay. However, there are yet to be internal blockchain-focused roles officially posted.