NBA Professional Goes Ahead with Tokenizing His Playing Contract

Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie has announced this week that he plans to go ahead with the launch of his token-based investment tool despite NBA’s threat to ban him from the professional basketball league.

According to several reports, the star bastketball player will launch his token-based investment tool on January 13th.

“The Spencer Dinwiddie bond launches January 13th. I’ll also be taking 8 fans to ASW with me. #NBAVote,” he tweeted on January 10th. The bond will be issued with the help of security token platform Securitize, whose CEO Carlos Domingo announced the partnership on Twitter.

Initially, the basketball star player revealed his idea back in October 2019, stating that he wanted to launch DREAM Fan shares – a blockchain-based investment, where he would sell 90 tokens called SD8 coins.

This tool was developed with the goal to let Dinwiddie’s fans own a portion of his contract via the DREAM Fan Shares. This way, Dinwiddie would be able to digitize part of his contract and the tokenized shares would be then made available to fans seeking to increase their stake in the player’s career.

Each coin represents a tokenized share in his $34 million contract. Following that, Dinwiddie would be able to collect up to $13.5 million of his guaranteed three-year agreement without having to wait until the final years of the contract. Essentially, the agreement provides him with a new age business loan.

However, the NBA had not approved of this strategy, citing breach of the NBA players’ collective-bargaining agreement. It is further explained that the third year of his contract was optional, which meant that investors would gain more in dividends in 2021 if Dinwiddie decided to pursue a higher-paying contract elsewhere.

Over the past three months, Dinwiddie has had several discussions with the NBA’s legal team and the Nets player has eventually decided to remove the initial promise of potentially higher dividends in the third year.

Following the revised proposal, Dinwiddie will now sell his securities-based SD8 tokens, which can’t be traded for a year, for $150,000 apiece to verified accredited investors under SEC Regulation D, Rule 506 (c).

The SD8 coin will be a three-year bond with a monthly 4.95% base interest with the full principal paid out at the end of the period upon maturity in a bullet payment. If everything follows the schedule, the investment period will start with the launch date and ends on February 10th, with the bond notes maturing and paying out in full three years later.

However, it remains unclear whether the platform will indeed go live as soon as specified, becuase the league is still reviewing the revised proposal and his previous attempts at launching his own token and platform had been thwarted by the NBA.

Siam Commercial Bank Working with Ripple for Cross-Border Payments Application

Thailand’s oldest bank Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) is collaborating with Ripple to develop a mobile application powered by blockchain to offer real-time low-cost cross-border payments.

According to a blog post published on January 8, Ripple announced the launch of a new application – dubbed the SCB Easy – which has already been demonstrated back in December during Swell, the company’s annual customer event. The demo app displayed its ability to send cross-border payments in seconds.

At the meeting, SCB’s senior vice president of commercial banking, Arthit Sriumporn, displayed how the app runs as well as explained the advatanges of their app:

“It is so difficult to send and receive money today. People must physically go to a bank branch, fill out long and complicated forms and wait for payments to be received—with no transparency. With our service, their loved ones from abroad can transfer payment and receive money immediately.”

Sriumporn then proceeded to show the app in action by sending a payment to recipient’s bank account and within 40 seconds, the money was transferred.

As a result of this partnership, SCB will be able to fulfill its 16 million customer demands for fast and secure low cost cross-border payments as well as provide a better customer experience.

In addition to that, SCB and Ripple are working together to provide EMVCo QR payments via the app. Whilst QR payments are a popular payment method across Southeast Asia, they are typically only used in the local areas.

However, by capitalizing on this, it will allow SCB to provide micro payment services to clients along with remittances. A recent research conducted by PwC reported that a staggering 86% of Chinese citizens use mobile payment apps and in Thailand, the numbers rise as high as 67%.

In the meantime, the senior vice president took the stage to also discuss their journey and the plans for the future.

The 112-year-old SCB is Thailand’s first domestic bank as well as the largest bank in terms of assets. In 2018 the bank reported assets in value of 3,187 billion baht ($105 billion) and an operating income of 138.2 billion baht ($4.6 billion).

Following this new app development, the bank aims to improve customer experience as well as expand its reach to other countries.

This year, SCB plans to expand into Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, where less than 35% of the population have bank accounts. One of the features of SCB Easy is that it allows opening new accounts online, without actually visiting a physical location.

“One connection equals many possibilities,” Sriumporn explained on stage at Swell.

Sriumporn expressed excitement in working with Ripple’s technology and is happy to offer this unique service to its customers as well as to tourists and new customers:

“Imagine you are a tourist coming to Thailand, and you can use your home country mobile application to scan for payment and eliminate the need to exchange for local currency. You can use your mobile app, scan the QR payment and receive goods right away.” 

Tencent Reportedly Forming a Digital Currency Research Group

Tencent – owner of communications and payment app WeChat – has announced that is planning to create a digital currency research group with the goal to further the advancement of blockchain technology research projects.

Tencent Goes for Blockchain Push

According to Chinese media outlets, the $461 billion Chinese Internet giant issued an internal statement notifying employees on December 23rd, which revealed that the company is currently looking for the new head of the research team. However, we have yet to hear an official statement from the company, as they did not respond to media outlets‘request for comments.

In the meantime, this upcoming digital currency research group will reportedly focus on Tencent’s progress of blockchain technology in the digital payment industry.

Based on the circulating internal document, Tencent’s first objective appears to be to improve and strengthen the national blockchain initiative of the Chinese government with relevant technologies and solutions.

For instance, China’s Belt and Road Initiative is expected to use blockchain as one of its key technologies for data processing and storage. Firms like Tencent would aim to assist the government of China to efficiently implement blockchain technology.

However, following the news, analysts have wondered how WeChat, as well as its competitor, Alibaba-owned AliPay, will get along with the Central Bank of China, which is soon launching the country’s official cryptocurrency.

Chinese Blockchain Efforts Across the Board

WeChat Pay and AliPay account for nearly half of China’s enormous mobile pay business, which is used by more than 580 million people.  Previously, China’s Central Bank had already disclosed the two companies are amongst the first to be receiving the digital currency.

Meanwhile, Tencent recently announced a new partnership with the world’s largest diamond mining firm – Russia’s Alrosa –  alongside blockchain platform Everledger with the goal to launch a new diamond-focused retail mini-program targeted at WeChat’s one billion active users.

As such, the collaboration aims to improve transparency and consumer trust across the diamond supply chain, allowing social media users to purchase diamonds with full knowledge of their origin, characteristics as well as ownership history.

Tencent has also had a hand in developing an invoice system based on blockchain technology for the city of Shenzhen. In November, Shenzhen’s tax service reported that over 10 million blockchain-based invoices had been issued in the Chinese tech capital and that it will continue to actively promote blockchain-enabled electronic billing.

The blockchain based invoice service has been used by over 7,600 companies, across multiple sectors such as local finance, insurance, hotel catering and parking services, comprising a total value of close to $1 billion.

Blockchain Payment Service BitPay Introduces Support for Three Stablecoins

Blockchain payment services provider BitPay has announced that it adding support for stablecoin payments for merchants and consumers.

According to a press release, Bitpay has confirmed the addition of three stablecoins to its list of supported tokens. The stablecoins include Circle’s USD coin (USDC), the Gemini dollar (GUSD) and Paxos Standard token (PAX), all pegged to the U.S. dollar.

Apart from the newest addition, BitPay also allows payments in Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ethereum (ETH). The rollout brings the total number of available tokens up to six. Notably absent from BitPay’s list of supported tokens is Tether (USDT), the stablecoin with by far the biggest trading volumes.

Following the announcement, CEO Stephan Pair stated in the press release:

“Accepting or paying with stablecoins opens up new possibilities for global businesses that require the stability of the dollar but the security and efficiency of blockchain payments.”

The new service allows BitPay’s over 30,000 merchants, including Microsoft, to accept payments in the stablecoins. In addition to that, BitPay’s wallet users as well as its prepaid cardholders now have the opportunity to spend USDC, GUSD and PAX at all points of supporting merchants.

“Businesses can invoice international customers without the need for costly, complicated cross-border wire transfers. Customers can send and receive payments using fast, efficient, and volatility free dollar-pegged stablecoins,” added Pair.

Additionally, the wallet will provide a full stack of usual operations such as controlling, managing and storing the stablecoins’ private keys.

As for the company’s decision to support stablecoins, it claimed that three stablecoins had gained momentum in recent years. At the same time, stablecoins record their transactions on an immutable public ledger, therefore they work similarly to classic cryptocurrencies.

In the meantime, Gemini’s managing director of financial operations – Joshua Rawlins – asserted that pairing of crypto payment acceptance with a stablecoin like Gemini dollar, is powerful as it combines the creditworthiness and price stability of the U.S. dollar with blockchain technology.

Rawlins further stated that merchants benefit from faster, cheaper, and fraud-resistant payment settlement, whilst consumers benefit from the ease of using cryptocurrency without worrying about price fluctuations.

Meanwhile, since its launch in 2011, BitPay processed over $1 billion in payments last year from global merchants. The firm is backed by notable investors, having raised over $70 million in funding from Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Nimble Ventures, and Virgin Group, amongst others.

Deutsche Bank Report Claims Demand for Crypto to Accelerate in the Next Decade

Banking giant Deutsche Bank has recently published its outlook for the decade ahead – the ‘Imagine 2030’ report – highlighting the dangers of the forces holding the fiat money system unravelling in the next decade, thus fostering the demand for crypto.

According the recent research report from Deutsche Bank, by 2030, the demand for alternative currencies will rise, with digital currencies eventually replacing fiat money.

Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid raised awareness, in the recent report, of the challenges the existing fiat system has encountered in recent years, specifically with the emergence of cryptocurrencies. He further claimed that people’s heightened demand for dematerialized means of payment and anonymity could lead to more individuals switching to digital currencies.

According to data provided by the banking giant, nearly two thirds of consumers prefer dematerialized to cash payments and a third are concerned about anonymity, two things unique to digital currencies.

Whilst digital currencies may not have gained as much traction as a means of payment despite their well-known benefits, such as security, speed, minimal transaction fees, ease of storage and relevance in the digital era, this may change in the next decade.

In the meantime, the researcher report noted that cryptocurrencies need to overcome three main hurdles in order to gain wider acceptance. Firstly, digital currencies must become legitimate in the eyes of governments and regulators, which requires bringing stability to the price as well as advantages to both consumers and merchants.

Secondly, cryptocurrencies must allow for global reach in the payment market. According to the report, this could be achieved by forging alliances with key stakeholders. For instance, mobile apps such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, card providers such as Visa and Mastercard, and retailers, such as Amazon and Walmart.

Last but not least, to realize a smooth transition to a fully digitalized platform, the financial system needs to be ready to overcome any kind of electricity shutdown or cyberattack. These are challenges that may arise with mainstream adoption and Reid pointed out that “as that occurs, the line between cryptocurrencies, financial institutions, and public and private sectors may become blurred.”

Deutsche Bank further noted in its research report how prone to inflation and unstable fiat money could be, further suggesting the possibility that inflation could become more embedded in our system and doubts will rise about the sustainability of fiat money.

“Politically it is always too tempting to create money when nothing is backing it. That this current fiat system has survived so long has required a fortuitous set of global forces across multiple decades that have created sizeable natural offsetting disinflationary forces,” they said.

Researchers estimate that by 2030 there could be 200m blockchain wallet users and digital currencies might eventually replace cash , granted that governments back cryptocurrencies, and consumers want them, and if current trends continue.

However, currently, political support remains far from clear. Buying and selling cryptocurrency in countries like China and India is still banned, with the former adopting a singularly hard stance of late.