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Morning News: Bank in Int’l Blockchain Plan, Coinbase's New Fund

  • Japanese Bank Unveils International Blockchain Pilot
  • Coinbase Targets First-time Investors With New Fund
  • Survey: 90% of Japanese Respondents Have Crypto Worries
  • Venezuela to Auction Petro to Private Companies
  • Family of Dead Rapper ODB to Launch ICO

Catch up on the most essential cryptocurrency and blockchain news stories breaking in Asia and the Americas while the rest of the world was asleep.

Japanese Bank Unveils International Blockchain Pilot
Japanese high street bank SoftBank is working on a pilot for an international, blockchain-powered payments system. The company is collaborating with South Korean telecommunications giant KT on the project, as well as SoftBank’s American affiliate Sprint. Per Nikkei, the payment program will make use of QR codes and will enable cashier-less transactions at SoftBank branches in both Japan and Taiwan. Customers, including international travelers, will be able to make instantaneous purchases on the new platform, whereby the products and services they buy are automatically added to their monthly mobile phone bills. SoftBank currently runs an international blockchain consortium called the Carrier Blockchain Study Group. Its members include KT and Sprint. In late February, the group announced that LG’s UPlus division, Spain’s Telefónica, the UAE’s Etisalat and PLDT of the Philippines had joined the alliance.

Coinbase Targets First-time Investors With New Fund
American exchange operator Coinbase has announced it will introduce an index fund for investors, comprising of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin cryptocurrencies. The fund is set to be weighted by market value and will follow a newly created Coinbase Index, which benchmarks the four aforementioned cryptocurrencies. Coinbase says its new fund is aimed at first-time cryptocurrency investors and people looking to make passive investments. Customers must make a minimum investment of USD 10,000 and the fund requires a 2% flat fee.

Survey Finds 90% of Japanese Respondents Still Have Cryptocurrency Worries
A nationwide survey has found that 90% of Japanese respondents aged 13-59 are afraid of the risks involved with cryptocurrency investment. The survey was conducted by media outlet Oricon in the wake of January’s USD 400 million hack on the Coincheck exchange platform. Some 11% of respondents said they would like to do cryptocurrency-related business in the future, with 89% saying they would prefer to stay away from crypto enterprises. However, many respondents claimed they would be happy to consider making new cryptocurrency investments if network security could be bolstered. Numerous respondents said they had been convinced to start investing by friends, were swayed by celebrity endorsements or were influenced by crypto advertising campaigns.

Venezuela to Auction Petro Cryptocurrency to Private Companies
Venezuelan vice president Tareck El Aissami says the country will auction its new cryptocurrency, the Petro, to private companies via Dicom, its foreign exchange system, following its ongoing public sale to investors. Speaking in a televised address, El Aissami talked of “burying” the US dollar, and announced that the government would soon allow for real estate purchases to be made in Petros.

Family of Dead Rapper ODB to Launch ICO
The family of American rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard says it is launching a cryptocurrency that will allow fans to buy exclusive merchandise. The star, also known as ODB, was one of the founding members of the Wu Tang Clan rap collective, but died in 2004. Per HipHopDX, the currency will be called the DirtyCoin, and will also allow fans to purchase tickets for concerts given by ODB’s son, Young Dirty. The decision follows last year’s crypto moves from another Wu Tang Clan member, Ghostface Killah. The star has launched his own Ethereum-based token, called the Cream Dividend.

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