With the New Year around the corner, startups as well as established players in the cryptocurrency industry have announced plans for new products and services. In The Daily today we cover the upcoming premieres of two Mimblewimble-based coins, the planned launch of a low-fee, crypto-based remittance service in Asia, and the intentions of two leading Chinese crypto companies to focus on core business activities.
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Customizable Privacy Coins Coming Soon
Two crypto projects using Mimblewimble, a protocol designed to increase privacy and scalability, have announced the upcoming premieres of their new coins. The Mimblewimble concept was introduced back in 2016 and is now ready to be implemented at the beginning of 2019. Challenges during the development of the two cryptocurrencies have postponed both launches.
A startup called Beam is preparing to issue what has been described as the first Mimblewimble-based cryptocurrency on Jan. 3, after earlier reports that it would go live by the end of this month. Beam has been developed as a privacy-oriented crypto, but according to its creators it will be highly customizable, unlike other offerings in that niche.
“Lack of transaction confidentiality and poor scalability are some of the major issues that hinder crypto adoption,” Beam’s CEO Alexander Zaidelson told Distributed. The company will offer users the ability to set the privacy level for their transactions so that they can still report them to tax authorities, for example.
Another blockchain project based on the Mimblewimble protocol, Grin, was announced even earlier than Beam. However, its coin is now scheduled to launch on Jan. 15, 2019, to become the second Mimblewimble-based cryptocurrency.
Remittance Platform to Use Crypto Conversion
Atom Solutions, a Japan-based fintech company, is planning to launch its new remittance service on March 1, 2019. The platform uses a crypto wallet system that provides an alternative to traditional channels such as those based on the banking network Swift, which can be quite expensive and in some cases very slow.
Initially, the service will be available to users who want to send money between South Korea and the Philippines. However, the Japanese startup plans to expand the coverage to include at least 10 countries by the end of next year.
Atom Solutions promises low exchange rates and fees for fiat transfers thanks to using cryptocurrency conversion, but also addresses the issue with volatility that concerns crypto remittances by providing fast exchange through its wallet. The company has developed a system that quickly exchanges the fiat amount a user wants to send into cryptocurrency and then again into local fiat for the receiver.
Chinese Crypto Giants Focus on Core Businesses
Two leading cryptocurrency companies with Chinese roots have announced plans to optimize their operations and focus on core business activities. The news comes at the end of a bearish year that saw digital asset markets losing billions of dollars in capitalization compared to the all-time highs of late 2017.
Bitmain Technology, the world’s leading producer of bitcoin mining equipment, has confirmed recent reports regarding planned job cuts that first spread on Chinese social media. In a statement quoted by the South China Morning Post, the Beijing-based company said it’s undergoing “some adjustment to our staff this year.” Emphasizing that it’s continuing to build a sustainable business, Bitmain denied rumors that it will lay off half of its employees. The company explained:
A part of that is having to really focus on things that are core to that mission and not things that are auxiliary. As we move into the new year, we will continue to double down on hiring the best talent from a diverse range of backgrounds.
In a similar announcement, the operator of Huobi, currently the third largest crypto exchange by daily trading volume, said it’s working to optimize staffing. The Chinese Huobi Group intends to do so by laying off its “worst-performing employees.” A spokesperson for the company noted however that the Singapore-based exchange is still hiring people for its core businesses and emerging markets.
What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Beam, Atom Solutions.
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