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PROPERTY CLINIC: How long do I need to own a property as my home before letting it to avoid extra stamp duty? Recently I was in a taxi and as one does in such close quarters, began chatting to the driver about life. Upon asking my profession, where conversation often heads, he proceeded to tell me lightly about his finances and frustration trying to find an income. I have taken all of my money out of Isas, I’m fed-up with the low rates from the banks’ he said, animated. I knew where this chat – and his cash – was heading.
The B-word, which has somehow pushed Brexit into second place. I have put half of it in Bitcoin,’ he added, glancing in his rear view mirror, perhaps seeing if I was shocked or aghast at his decision. I was intrigued more than anything to find out what prompted his decision. 16,000 a coin – or 70 per cent in a week – so the move, at present, has been a wise one. You cannot move for noise about Bitcoin. The amount of correspondence I’ve had about cryptocurrencies in the last month has also rocketed. It’s a complete and utter feeding frenzy, which fuels worry about online currencies.
Many suggest they are taking money out of their tax-free Isa wrappers. Unless you have built up a huge pot, many find the low rates pointless, especially with the relatively new personal savings allowance. My taxi driver and I chatted about how the price of Bitcoin has risen since the start of the year, bubble fears and our understanding of cryptocurrencies. There are stories everywhere about John or Jenny Soandso who bought into cryptocurrencies years ago and are now millionaires after investing peanuts. These types of tale appear to have encouraged more and more people to get involved without perhaps considering the risks.
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And as John or Jenny Public do so, the price, of course, has ramped up. The taxi driver was relatively clued up about his investment. He accepted it was a huge risk and has read plenty of negative stories about it potentially being a bigger bubble than tulips all those centuries ago. I hope all who have invested have done this. He also had a relatively broad idea of how it works, although began to look a little confused when we started to talk about blockchain and mining. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, understand the risk and arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. In terms of cryptocurrencies, I would urge those considering getting involved to find out how to do it safely and securely, and make sure you know how to cash out as and when you want, without being stung with over-the-top fees by fly-by-night firms.
It’s incredibly hard to see how this will all play out. It would only need to go up tenfold again. 100 a coin if it is rumbled as complete and utter tripe, or something happens to make it next to worthless, such as a crackdown by authorities across the globe. It’s hard to criticise people investing in it when easy-access savings accounts on offer to people are so low. The interest rates available offer little reward for saving.
10,000 in a day investing in Bitcoin, instead of waiting a year with a typical savings account, I can see the appeal. But it also puts my ‘too good to be true’ sensors into overload. Yesterday, the Treasury said anti-money laundering regulations could be updated to include Bitcoin and other virtual currencies. It comes as the Metropolitan Police say criminals are using cryptocurrency cash machines to launder money in London. This nasty undertone to cryptocurrencies and it being unmasked could be its undoing. As the taxi pulled up to my destination and I handed over old-fashioned notes, I wondered if one day I would be paying in cryptocurrency. I also couldn’t help but ask where he put the other half of his hard-earned cash.
The underlying rate has gone up this month and you’ve got to be in it to win it. I wouldn’t be surprised if people all over the land have done something similar. Huge gamble on one side of the scale with Bitcoin, low risk on the other with a government-backed provider. I have no idea how much money he was talking about – if it was a few thousand quid that he could afford to lose, it doesn’t seem like the worst strategy. But if it was money he couldn’t afford to part with, or is a five-figure sum, alarm bells would be ringing. If you are getting involved in the cryptocurrency boom, please treat it with extreme caution. Bitcoin has risen more than tenfold this year and doubled in just seven weeks.
But can it keep rising as adoption gets more widespread, does blockchain’s promise justify the price, and does any of this matter as to whether it is in a bubble or not? In this excerpt from the This is Money podcast, Simon Lambert and Georgie Frost discuss Bitcoin’s astonishing rise. No FSCS protection, instead covered by French deposit guarantee scheme. For current account rewards and interest conditions may apply eg. 1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 18.
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American Express has introduced instant blockchain-based payments using Ripple, a fintech start-up. American Express has introduced instant blockchain-based payments using Ripple, a fintech startup, for U. Ripple to provide real-time, trackable non-card payments from the United States to Britain. Customers are already using the service, the companies said, and it would be extended in the future.
This marks one of the first major uses of blockchain, a shared database of transactions maintained by a network of computers on the Internet that is best known as the system underpinning bitcoin. Financial firms hope the nascent technology can reduce the cost and complexity of burdensome processes such as securities settlement and international payments, but many say widespread use of the technology is still several years away. American Express’s chief information officer Marc Gordon, in a statement. This collaboration with Ripple and Santander represents the next step forward on our blockchain journey, evolving the way we move money around the world.
San Francisco-based Ripple, whose main focus is blockchain-based cross-border payments, works with many big banks and is backed by firms including Standard Chartered, Accenture, and SBI Holdings. The company is in a legal battle with rival blockchain startup R3 Holdco over an options contract to purchase Ripple’s digital currency XRP. XRP has increased in value by more than 30 times as other cryptocurrencies have also soared. Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse in a statement. Sign Up for Our Newsletters Sign up now to receive FORTUNE’s best content, special offers, and much more. Fortune may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.
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Researchers Find That One Person Likely Drove Bitcoin From $150 to $1,000
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If you are at an office or shared network, you can ask the network administrator to run a scan across the network looking for misconfigured or infected devices. Another way to prevent getting this page in the future is to use Privacy Pass. Image: Shutterstock Ripple is proud to announce the addition of 10 new customers to our growing global network. People know Ripple is the only blockchain solution for payments that is proven in the real world, and it’s driving demand from financial institutions of all kinds and sizes because they want to stay ahead of the curve.
BBVA, one of the top 50 largest banks in the world, is using Ripple to enable real-time payments between Europe and Mexico. Digital banking pioneer and one of Turkey’s largest private banks, Akbank, is the first bank in Turkey to adopt blockchain and is a model for other banks who want to make faster cross-border payments without the need for correspondents. Cambridge Global Payments and Earthport are collaborating with Ripple to improve the customer experience, increase the reach and reduce the cost of real-time cross-border payments. These ten customers are now among the most forward-thinking financial institutions around the world, who are committed to moving beyond the sandbox and are using Ripple’s enterprise blockchain solution to move real money around the world today. We are very pleased to be working with Ripple to provide new types of payments services to change our customers’ experience using the power of the blockchain technology.
To demonstrate our commitment to the technology, we are joining the Japan Bank Consortium to collaborate with other Japanese banks move to commercial use of Ripple’s global network. We are excited and happy to be the first bank in Turkey to take the important step of using blockchain technology for international money transfer services. We believe that this new phase in technology will increase speed and transparency for our customers while at the same time reducing costs and providing a higher quality of service. India is the largest recipient of personal remittances in the world, and as a leading Indian bank with a strong focus on technology, we are glad to partner with Ripple to realize the enhanced efficiencies of blockchain for real time cross-border payments. This partnership is a continuation of YES BANK’s ethos of using state-of-the-art technology intervention to offer a superior banking experience to our customers. We are committed to using innovation in technology to make banking simple and convenient for our customers. Remittances have been a key strategic area for us, we at Axis are excited with the tie-up and the potential that the use of blockchain technology could deliver in enabling real-time affordable money transfers.
We are implementing cross-border payments in real-time over Ripple. For us this is a first step in exploiting the advantages of using blockchain and distributed ledger technology in the payment area. We appreciate our partnership with Ripple. To learn more about joining Ripple’s growing global settlement network, please contact us. Get the latest in blockchain and banking delivered to your inbox. About Insights Ripple Insights features industry updates, insider perspectives and in-depth market analysis. Views expressed by third-party authors are theirs alone.
2013 – 2018 Ripple, All Rights Reserved. Microsoft: creating the building blocks for a robust blockchain ecosystem. Instead, Marley envisions a future with countless blockchains, constantly evolving and iterating, and all interconnected through a standardized protocol. Marley is the director of technology strategy for financial services in the US at Microsoft. He also runs the company’s innovation labs in New York City. The following interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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It’s obviously super exciting when a company as influential as Microsoft decides to dip their toes in a new technology. Is the company’s interest in blockchain technology a recent development? We’ve been looking at blockchain in our innovation labs for quite some time, such as fooling around with Colored Coins, stuff like that. But what was most compelling to us was smart contracts since it’s not just about payments. So we decided to check out Ethereum. Working on the early build with that platform—it was painful to say the least.
This naturally presented itself as an opportunity since our customers looking into these technologies are going through that same painful process. There had to be a way to streamline this whole process, create a fluid environment where you can quickly spin out the required infrastructure with all its dependencies and do it in the cloud—and to be able to do that with a single click. That’s essentially how blockchain as a service was born. Ethereum is first out of the gate but we have a whole slew of other blockchains in the mix. We actually went to Ripple first early on in the process but we weren’t sure at the time how payments fit into our model. At the end of the day, the thing underlying all of these applications and smart contracts is payments. Our mission is straightforward—we’re looking at the marriage of hyperscale distributed cloud platforms that are open source.
That means we’re open to any OS and any framework really. Does it lend itself to this kind of environment? We can figure that stuff out a lot cheaper in the cloud than people having their own datacenters. These are still early days but who do you foresee as your primary customers for BaaS? It’s funny, the initial touchpoint in the financial services vertical is generally the developer, where you have developers aligning with business people especially in capital markets, which is becoming increasingly technologically oriented.
You see this a lot with trading desks where they have their own developers we come along to all the meetings. The desk will be business led but a lot of underlying innovation will be managed by the developer. Then there’s this whole tooling system that has to be built up. The objective is for people to be able to model contracts using a visual system, like Microsoft Office, for instance, where someone can create a smart contract by dragging and dropping different functionalities and setting different rules through a user-friendly interface. Was this a company directive or a personal mission for you? It started out as a more personal thing. I’m the technologist on the team.
The rest of the people around me are investment bankers. I came from a place, earlier in my career, where I was running trading floor applications. Given that experience, I was intrigued by the blockchain’s potential. Once I started talking about it internally with my colleagues it started to click and catch, especially at the financial centers like New York and London. What’s your take on the state of blockchain right now?
Right now, there’s a trend toward forming consortiums around various settlement use cases, which I think will play a big role, especially on Wall Street, such as with R3 and the commodity consortium we’re participating in. These consortiums will help drive collaboration, hone in on the needs of their stakeholders, and figure out what technology they need to adopt or develop. From Microsoft’s vantage point, we’re focused on infrastructure. We’re not looking to write our own blockchain stack.
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We want to support the innovation that’s already out there and help build a robust ecosystem—like our investments in Docker and other container technologies. The end-game is to enable plug and play at the development level so people can start iterating these technologies much more rapidly. Because this is just the beginning. Right now we have Bitcoin, which is this public network. There will be people out there who will tell you that you need to be on the Bitcoin blockchain.
For a couple of reasons, we don’t really see it going anywhere. But Bitcoin served an important purpose. It proved that the technology can work. In financial services, I think we’re going to see a mixture of different blockchain technologies. There will be many, many chains—chains for swaps, chains for bonds.
You could plug and play various consensus algorithms based on the products that exist on that chain. Given this multi-chain vision, we see smart contracts as a key piece. Then you need ILP, which is the glue in the system that holds everything together, so that different chains can interoperate. That means a derivatives chain can interact with the securities chain it’s derived from. In all of these interactions, you’ll have to move money around.