Amun Introduces Interest-Earning Tezos ETP on Swiss Stock Exchange

Switzerland’s primary stock exchange SIX has listed a Tezos (XTZ) exchange-traded product (ETP) that allows investors to generate passive income.

According to an announcement, the new ETP has been issued by fintech crypto startup Amun AG in partnership with the Tezos Foundation and will trade under the symbol AXTZ on the SIX Swiss Stock Exchange.

As a proof-of-stake (PoS)-based products, Tezos investors will be able to passively earn a form of interest by staking or depositing their tokens to both maintain the network and earn rewards.

The new ETP’s main objective is to provide exposure to the performance of the token whilst simulatenously generating additional yield for investors through so-called baking rewards.

Baking is a specific term to Tezos, which enables stakeholders to participate in the staking and governance process by delegating their coins to a delegation service of their choice. Once delegated, these holdings are set in correlation with the total staking balance of the service, with rewards paid out accordingly once they have been released by the network.

It is further explained that it is the first such product that will allow investors to yield a passive income through transactions that are validated on the Tezos blockchain. In addition to that, the firm will charge an annual management fee of 2.5%.

Hany Rashwan – co-founder and CEO of Amun – explained in a statement:

“Investors will be able to buy a stock for as low as $20 and we bake/stake on their behalf and return it to them as a dividend without them required to do any staking on their own.“

The Tezos ETP will be available for both retail and institutional investors, who can participate in the rewards for contributing to the security and stability of the Tezos blockchain, “without the need to ever have to set up a crypto wallet or taking care of a private key,” said Rashwan.

Rashwan further added:

“Via our ETP, [investors can] participate in the associated rewards for contributing to the security and stability of the Tezos blockchain – without the need to ever have to set up a crypto wallet or taking care of a private key.”

The Tezos ETP is Amun’s ninth issued crypto-based ETP and according to the statement the product’s underlying Tezos tokens will be custodied with and staked by Coinbase Custody.

Other cryptocurrency ETPs listed on the SIX exchange include ETPs based on XRP, Bitcoin (BTC), a Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ethereum (ETH) amongst others.

Most recently, Amun has partnered up with Bitcoin Suisse to launch a new BTC and ETH- based ETP on the Swiss exhange stock.

Meanwhile, Amun AG has also launched seven of its ETPs on Germany’s Börse Stuttgart stock exchange, ready to be traded in Euros. Prior to this, the ETPs were available only in US dollars and Swiss francs.

Bitcoin Suisse Partners European Payment Provider Wordline to Bring Crypto Payments

The largest Swiss-regulated financial intermediary and pioneer in crypto-financial services – Bitcoin Suisse – has just announced its partnership with European leader in payments and transactional services provider Wordline.

Recently announced, Bitcoin Suisse and Wordline have signed a letter of intent for a partnership that will provide cryptocurrency payment services to Swiss merchants and consumers both in-store and online.

As one of the oldest and largest crypto financial services provider, Bitcoin Suisse has developed extensive in-house technical and crypto-financial expertise through its more than 6 years of experience in trading, brokerage and storage for cryptocurrencies.

According to the reports, the main goal of this partnership is to augment the existing payment service network of Worldline with cryptocurrency payment capabilities as well as promote and encourage the adoption of cryptocurrency on a larger scale across a wide range of businesses and industries. Further details about the partnership will be revealed at the upcoming Swiss Payments Forum in Zurich.

Upon the announcement, Dr. Arthur Vayloyan – CEO of Bitcoin Suisse – commented:

“Our partnership with Worldline is an incredible step forward on the journey to bring crypto payments into broader adoption. Bitcoin Suisse is proud to serve as the processor of cryptocurrencies in Worldline’s payment service system. We applaud them for their pioneering spirit in taking this monumental step and pointing the way forward for others.”

As noted in the press release, the new system will be available for all users on SIX Payment – Worldline’s nationwide payments infrastructure. Currently, there are 65,000 Swiss merchants who are using the SIX Payment Services. Equipped with cryptocurrency payment capabilities, the traditional network will be expanded to promote the use of the new asset class at a mass scale, in-store and online.

In addition to that, it is noted that the service will be intuitive and easy to use for both staff and consumers. Payouts to merchants will be made in Swiss francs or Euros and the transaction figures will be fully integrated into the merchant reports like any other card or wallet.

Marc Schluep, CEO of Worldline in Switzerland, added that as a market leader, the company had a reputation to introduce latest payment functionalities that boost the customer journey as well as increase efficiency and profitability for its merchants. He further stated that due to the new partnership with Bitcoin Suisse, their client base could benefit from an entirely new offering without taking any conversion risk.

In the event of a successful launch in Switzerland, Worldline will roll out its new cryptocurrency payment service across Europe.

Meanwhile, this partnership aims at strengthening the leading position of Switzerland and as a result establishing the country as a strong center in the crypto-financial services industry. Nonetheless, there are currently over 800 companies developing blockchain solutions or providing services to crypto and companies in Switzerland.

Bakkt Launches Custody Solution for Institutional Investors

Bakkt, the institutional Bitcoin (BTC) trading platform backed by Intercontinental Exchange, has announced on Monday the launch of its custody feature for its entire client base.

The news was shared in a blog post on November 11th by Bakkt, confirming that it had received regulatory approval from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to offer custody services to any institution. Prior to this, this feature was only available for those trading its BTC futures.

The news came just weeks after the company said it would begin offering options on top of its existing BTC futures contracts, which in turn came less than a month after the company went live with its long-anticipated physically delivered offerings.

The new service provides is an extension of the company’s Bakkt Warehouse and will offer bitcoin custodial services to institutional investors. At the moment, several companies have signed on as initial customers for Bakkt Warehouse, including Pantera Capital, Galaxy Digital and Tagomi. Other marquee firms are expected to join in the next few weeks.

Following the release, Bakkt COO Adam White has claimed that the company believes that the custodial feature is a critical link in the institutional adoption of bitcoin is custody.

The blog post further noted that:

“Safely storing digital assets demands a comprehensive approach to custody. Institutions and sophisticated investors need more than cutting-edge technology. They require proven infrastructure, robust operational controls, and independent oversight.”

White further added that whilst technology provided the foundation by which the company stored customer funds, “the Bakkt Warehouse employs extensive physical, operational and cybersecurity safeguards too.”

He noted that due to the relationship between Bakkt and Intercontinental Exchange allowed them to uniquely address client needs in the digital asset custody space, including on-premises data centers and dedicated network connectivity between operational sites,that remove the need to rely on third parties.

According to Bakkt, the new tool will employ a range of security and safeguards, such as redundant secondary facilities, geographically-distributed signing operations, as well as independent reporting structures amongst others. The company is currently working with BNY Mellon to support its geographically separated key storage feature.

In addition to that, the company will also protect its systems with 24 hour video monitoring, armed guards, and security operations and incident response teams. The trading platform has also secured its SOC2 certification – a review of its systems by a third-party auditor.

Although a number of other companies are currently developing their own platforms for physically-settled bitcoin futures in the U.S., Bakkt has been the only one to launch so far.

In the meantime, Bakkt has also recently announced its plans to launch a cryptocurrency consumer app and merchant portal – Starbucks – which would launch in the first half of 2020 with Starbucks.

Meanwhile, Bakkt Warehouse is entering a market with a fair amount of competition, including Fidelity Digital Assets, which fully rolled-out its platform in October. Another market competitor is Coinbase Custody, which launched in 2018 and now manages over $7 billion thanks in part to its acquisition of Xapo’s institutional business.

Hong Kong Publishes Regulatory Framework for Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Hong Kong’s financial regulator — the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) —  has published a new set of rules on Wednesday that would allow cryptocurrency exchanges to receive an operating license, a step intended to improve regulation standards and help prevent fraud.

Initially, the announcement was made by Chief Executive Ashley Alder at a local fintech event on November 6th. Speaking at a fintech conference on Wednesday in Hong Kong, Alder explained:

“The framework will enable virtual asset trading platforms to be regulated by the SFC, a major development which builds on a way forward I outlined at the same time last year.”

The new rules, under which exchanges can apply to be regulated from Wednesday, draw on the standards the SFC expects for conventional securities brokers.

According to Alder, the new regulatory framework will focus on how exchanges must approach custody and compliance, particularly with regards to Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering rules.

“A platform operator should comply with the KYC requirements which are applicable to a licensed corporation. It should take all reasonable steps to establish the true and full identity of each of its clients, and of each client’s financial situation, investment experience and investment objectives.”

Additionally, it is stipulated that an exchange that wants to be licensed must provide services to professional investors only, have an insurance policy to protect clients in case assets are lost or stolen, and will be required to file a monthly report to the Commission.

On top of that, exchanges must have an independent auditor and only alter existing products or offer new products with the regulator’s approval.  Adler further noted that cryptocurrency exchanges do not need an SFC license to operate as long as they do not trade any products defined as a security.

The SFC adds that non-custodial exchanges will not be considered for licensing, stating:

“The SFC will not accept licensing applications from platforms which only provide a direct peer-to-peer marketplace for transactions by investors who typically retain control over their own assets (be they fiat currencies or virtual assets).”

Last year, the SFC published a license last year that provided fund managers of virtual assets permission to sell digital products to potential investors. However, very few have been able to meet the regulator’s requirements.

Now, the new regulatory framework was developed following consultation with the operators of several crypto-asset trading platforms, which led the SFC to conclude that a credible regulatory framework could allow it to regulate at least some digital asset exchange platforms.

That being said, Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Huobi could become first licensed exchange in Hong Kong. The exchange is reportedly planning a backdoor initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong. In addition to that, the exchange recently teased a possible push into the securities market, which could tie in with its potential listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX).

Coca-Cola Trials Blockchain Solution for Supply Chain Management

The IT firm behind Coca-Cola’s bottle manufacturing supply chain has become the latest major corporation to recognize the advantages of blockchain technology.

According to a Business Insider (BI) report published on November 5th,  Coke One North America (CONA) — the tech firm that manages IT operations for the soda giant’s bottlers —  has decided to implement a blockchain solution developed by German software firm SAP to to keep track of all transactions that take place within 70 franchises.

CONA oversees multiple franchises that manufacture, bottle and ship nearly 160,000 orders of Coca-Cola products on a daily basis. Currently, the firm is managing 12 suppliers with hundreds of thousands in orders. Due to the challenging nature of dealing with other organizations, the firm believes that the blockchain solution could bring down the time for reconciling and organizing orders.

Upon the announcement, CONA senior manager Andrei Semenov explained:

“There are a number of transactions that are cross-companies and multiparty that are inefficient. They go through intermediaries; they are very slow. And we felt that we could improve this and save some money.”

With the new blockchain solution, the giant tech firm expects to reduce the duration of order-reconciliation from 50 days to just a few days. The blockchain solution will help improve distribution for all participant, and the transparent distributed ledger will give real-time insights into the transactions made by all the different bottlers on the network. For instance, if a bottle maker is short of stock for a looming order, the network quickly provides options for filling shortfall.

“What we achieved here with blockchain is creating a document flow across the supply chain,” said Torsten Zube, head of the SAP Innovation Center Network. As to invoice or order disagreements, he explained: “There’s usually not that dispute anymore because the information that has been shared, it’s clear and transparent everywhere.”

Initially, the SAP software solution was trialed with two bottling franchises – Coca-Cola United and C.C. Clark. However, due to its success and positive outcomes, it has been expanded to all 70 bottling franchises. With a supply chain operation worth $21 billion in yearly revenue, even a small increase in efficiency could save the firms millions.

Following the success of the project, Semenov hinted that CONA had plans on working with commerce giants Walmart and Target, though scaling to work with those firms’ supply chains would be a difficult undertaking, he noted.

Walmart has been a curious blockchain adopter, testing the use case for establishing a decentralized goods tracking ecosystem. Back in 2017, Walmart started testing IBM’s Food Trust blockchain for tracking its food suppliers. Currently, Walmart is also part of the Hyperledger consortium for blockchain solutions.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola’s main competitor – PepsiCo – has also conducted a blockchain trial, which according to the company, had raised efficiency by 28%. The supply chain solution trial was called “Project Proton,” and it was run on Zilliqa’s blockchain platform.