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Bitcoin, Ether Adoption Expands to 650 Airlines + More Crypto News

Bitcoin, Ether Adoption Expands to 650 Airlines + More Crypto News 101
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Crypto Briefs is your daily bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – keeping you up to date with under-the-radar crypto news from around the world.

Adoption news

  • Crypto payments service Utrust partnered up with with the UK-based Alternative Airlines, an online flight search platform, bringing cryptocurrency payments to over 650 carriers, the announcement says. The airlines' customers can pay for flights to destinations across the world with crypto, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Dash (DASH), DigiByte (DGB), and UTRUST (UTK). In October, the website of Alternative Airlines had almost 627,000 visits, or 21% more than in September, according to SimilarWeb. "We believe that there will be substantial growth in payment related blockchain projects and payment-oriented cryptocurrencies in 2020," Filipe Castro, the CIO at Utrust, recently told Cryptonews.com.
  • Blockchain experts are teaming up with traditional Japanese craftspeople in an effort to preserve priceless cultural heritage items. Per Nikkei, Japanese developers want to create a platform that lets artisans, curators and customers prove the authenticity of traditional forms of pottery, lacquerware, woodwork and doll-making.
  • Crypto-focused SEBA Bank AG (formerly SEBA Crypto AG) announced that it is opened for business. The Bank says that Swiss clients can now officially open an account. This comes after 18 months since its foundation and a few weeks after being granted a banking licence by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA.
  • Payment solution provider Worldline and Swiss-regulated financial intermediary offering crypto-financial services Bitcoin Suisse partnered with a goal to soon enable Swiss merchants and consumers to pay in cryptocurrencies both in-store and online. According to the announcement , the partnership will leverage the existing nationwide payments infrastructure of SIX Payment Services (a part of Worldline since late 2018) and the cryptocurrency knowledge and experience of Bitcoin Suisse "to make payments with cryptocurrencies a reality across a wide range of businesses and industries."
  • The Giving Block, a team of nonprofit strategists and cryptocurrency investors that helps nonprofits to fundraise crypto, is organizing a Bitcoin Tuesday on December 3rd, which everyone can join to donate cryptocurrency to charity, according to their website. There are a number of sponsors already supporting the event, and those who want to participate can donate to nonprofits such as Lupus Foundation of America, the Dementia Society of America, the Human Rights Foundation, and Code to Inspire.

Blockchain news

  • Carmaker Hyundai Motor has unveiled details of its blockchain operations. According to Maeil Kyungjae, the company wants to launch a blockchain-powered auto service platform before the end of the year, and has registered three blockchain technology-related auto patents. The company will work in conjunction with HDac, the Hyundai Group’s cryptocurrency and blockchain subsidiary, on these projects and more.
  • South Korean blockchain firm Sigma Chain will enter the American market, per inews24. The company has raised USD 10 million in investment and signed an MOU deal with the USA-based startup accelerator USAKO Group, a global partner of the Seoul Startup Hub. Sigma Chain is also one of the many South Korean blockchain companies now looking to expand into the Vietnamese market.
  • South Korean company Fleta says it has launched a mainnet capable of speeds of 14,000 TPS (transactions per second) and block time of 0.5 seconds, which – if true – would make the platform one of the world’s fastest. The company is one of many working with the South Korean government on a selection of Seoul-approved public-private blockchain projects.

Digital fiats news

  • The Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT) has issued a statement denying reports that it is developing a central bank digital currency. Reports circulating earlier this month had claimed that the country was on the verge of releasing a digital fiat – potentially the world’s first central bank-issued token. But the BCT has claimed that it is merely “looking into the possibility” of releasing a digital fiat, and denied it has entered into any partnerships with “any national or foreign provider with the aim of creating a digital currency.”

Trading news

  • Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex plans to launch options as early as the first quarter of 2020, which will be available via it's company iFinex Financial Technologies Limited, according to Chief Technology Officer Paolo Ardoino. The Block writes that the company is also looking to launch a gold-backed stablecoin, called Tether Gold.
  • COO of crypto trading platform Bakkt, Adam White, announced the company's plans to expand from its physically-settled offerings to cash-settled futures before the end of this year, and to offer those new futures in Singapore. Coindesk writes that the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) subsidiary is working on that product already and that it will be offered through ICE Clear Singapore and traded on ICE Futures Singapore.
  • A trade group called the Association for Digital Asset Markets (ADAM), has published their Code of Conduct for the cryptocurrency market, with which they hope to promote integrity, fairness, and efficiency in digital asset markets, the announcement says. The Code is meant to inform market participants on best practices and to complement, but not to replace, existing regulation. Additionally ADAM announced five new members, bringing the total number to fifteen.

Business news

  • Japanese tech firm GMO’s crypto operations have seen a dip in profits, per the company’s latest financial report, but its mining business is still doing good business. GMO operates its own coin, as well as an exchange platform, and says its crypto profits are down by 16% from last year, with new restrictions on margin trading biting. However, the company says that mining costs have dropped, helping boost profitability – and GMO is planning to forge ahead with its plans to release a stablecoin.
  • Major messaging app Telegram is asking a U.S. court to drop an action brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to the company the SEC’s claims are "without merit as Telegram’s private placement to highly sophisticated, accredited investors was conducted pursuant to valid exemptions to registration under the federal securities laws and Grams will not be securities when they are created at the time of launch of the TON Blockchain.” Learn more: Telegram Open Network Hits with a Big (and Ugly) Splash
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