Značka: partnerships

Global private bank LGT to open Bitcoin and Ether trading

LGT Group, a top family-owned private banking and asset management group, is moving into cryptocurrency by launching Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) investments at LGT Bank in Liechtenstein.Managing over $292 billion of assets, LGT Bank is preparing to debut digital asset custody and trading services in cooperation with Swiss cryptocurrency bank Seba, according to a joint announcement released on Wednesday.LGT Bank will initially offer custody and trading services for BTC and ETH, while Seba supports more than 14 cryptocurrencies, including altcoins like Litecoin (LTC), Polkadot (DOT), Tezos (XTZ), the Tether (USDT) stablecoin and others.According to the announcement, LGT’s crypto services will be fully integrated with traditional assets, enabling clients to easily exchange assets in their existing portfolios. The new offering will be initially available to selected client groups of LGT Bank. In order to access the new services, clients must be based in Liechtenstein or Switzerland and be classified as professional clients or be managed by an external asset manager.Headquartered in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, LGT is one of the world’s largest wealth managers and investment companies. The banking giant traces its history back to 1920 and has a key presence in Switzerland in addition to more than 20 offices around the globe. LGT Bank’s entrance into crypto aligns with the firm’s commitment to meet the increasing demand for investment opportunities, Liechtenstein’s LGT Bank CEO Roland Matt said. He added:“The demand for cryptocurrencies has also increased among our clients in recent years. When developing our new offering, we paid particular attention to security while focusing on clear, reliable processes and procedures. They are central for dealing with this dynamic and still quite young asset class.”The news further reaffirms the ongoing trend on global banks and asset managers increasingly adopting investment services for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. On Monday, Argentina’s largest and second-largest private banks, Banco Galicia and Brubank, announced plans to enable crypto purchases for clients.Related: German banking giant Commerzbank applies for crypto licenseAs previously reported by Cointelegraph, some of the world’s most prominent banks made major moves into Bitcoin in 2021, with Bank of New York Mellon announcing plans to hold and transfer BTC as an asset manager on behalf of its clients in February. Other global banks like Argentina’s BBVA and U.S. Bank subsequently announced the launch of similar crypto investment services.

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Gemini crypto exchange launches credit card in United States

Gemini, a major cryptocurrency exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins, has launched its crypto credit card.The company officially announced Thursday that its Gemini Credit Card is available in the United States across all 50 states.The new card is issued by the state-chartered industrial bank WebBank and features Mastercard as the exclusive card network.The card’s rollout comes more than a year after Gemini initially announced the project in 2021, aiming to reward users for using crypto for everyday transactions. Since launching the Gemini Credit Card waitlist last year, more than 500,000 users have signed up for the product, the firm said.The Gemini Credit Card supports more than 60 cryptocurrencies for rewards, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE) and others. Cardholders are able to earn up to 3% crypto back on dining, 2% on groceries, and 1% on all other purchases.When a cardholder makes a purchase, Gemini automatically converts the United States dollar-denominated value of the reward into the selected digital asset and deposits it into the cardholder’s Gemini account. Cardholders can change their selected crypto reward as often as they wish, which enables customers to earn not just one cryptocurrency.Mastercard’s executive VP of digital partnerships Sherri Haymond noted that the payment company shares Gemini’s belief that providing relevant crypto rewards experiences will “not only empower consumers, but also unlock access to the digital currencies ecosystem.” Gemini chief technology officer Pravjit Tiwana said that the new credit card reaffirms the company’s commitment to remove barriers of entry for consumers who want to get into cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Tiwana mentioned that the crypto industry had a breakout moment in 2021, with 44% of crypto owners in the U.S. reported making their first crypto purchases last year.Related: New crypto card by Nexo allows users to pay without selling BitcoinAs previously reported by Cointelegraph, the concept of crypto cashback cards has been taking off recently, with companies like BlockFi and Venmo launching crypto reward cards last year. According to the crypto loan startup BlockFi, Bitcoin rewards were responsible for some extent of the shopping frenzy for cardholders last year, with cardholders earning more than 124 BTC in rewards collectively just in the first three months since the cashback program’s launch.

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UK-based loan provider lets investors tokenize their fund with Securitize partnership

Whitehall Capital, a London-based loan provider, struck a deal with an American digital asset securities marketplace Securitize to enable its investors to hold their units as blockchain tokens.According to an April 11 announcement, Whitehall investors will be able to use buy and sell units in the Whitehall fund via Securitize platform. After registering on Securitize, an investor will see their assets as a number of tokenized units, with the performance markers, investment reports and other valuable information included. They could also trade the units with other investors by posting a bid to buy or sell a certain quantity. According to Anthony Bodenstein, managing partner at Whitehall Capital, the blockchain tokens, backed by loans that are secured by property assets, will deliver an 8-10% income annually:“As there is currently no secondary market for investments in Whitehall Capital, we anticipate investors will quickly take to the benefits of working with this easy-to-use and interactive platform and holding units in this way.”Securitize will be responsible for issuing tokenized shares, delivering them to shareholders and tracking transaction activity on the blockchain. Related: Old but gold: Can digital assets become part of Americans’ retirement plans?In September 2021, Securitize has already partnered with Arca Labs, the innovation arm of digital asset investment firm Arca, to provide a smart contract and issuance platform for the firm, starting with a tokenized fund named the “Arca U.S. Treasury Fund”. Arca Labs claimed it to be the first treasury fund registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940 to issue shares as digital assets via the blockchain.

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Museums in the metaverse: How Web3 technology can help historical sites

Metaverse events at ancient and historical sites could soon shape up to be an alternate future for tourism.Owners of physical castles and villas who have drafted up augmented reality blueprints of their properties think their ambitious plans to attract visitors in the metaverse will work, as virtual events can help them pay the hefty maintenance bills for their aging properties and also offer a chance to change historical narratives.The metaverse tourism model was expedited by downturns in tourism brought about by COVID-19, but the industry may have already been heading that way. Currently, major metaverse platforms are clunky, difficult to use and waiting for more “real estate” development, but firms are concentrating on what could be. Brands seem to be entering the metaverse en masse just for PR bragging rights.So, it seems the possibility of learning existing, new and revised histories through the metaverse is not so remote. Nonfungible castles, villas and chateausMichelle Choi, founder of 3.O Labs — a Web3 venture lab — turned to digital opportunities to finance the upkeep of physical paintings, such as selling nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, as fundraisers to preserve illiquid assets.Choi was a product manager at Google when she noticed the downturn in museum tourism due to COVID-19, seeing it as an opportunity for future metaverses. She subsequently quit her job and started her own metaverse experiments.She began by working with a team to launch Non-Fungible Castle, an NFT exhibition and auction at Lobkowicz Palace, a real-life castle in Prague, held in October 2021. The event saw NFTs displayed next to 500-year-old paintings and had the goal to “broaden accessibility to cultural heritage.”The launch raised enough to cover the restoration of all urgent projects at the property. Motivated by this proof-of-concept, Choi and 3.O Labs are now busily curating metaverse tourism experiences globally.With the broader mission of making Web3 accessible to all users, 3.O Labs is already incubating an array of Web3 projects ranging from NFTs to decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs. Within its metaverse vertical, the venture lab is already building a project in a castle in Germany, which will be followed by a villa in India and then possibly a museum in Ghana.Lobkowicz Palace. Source: Prague Morning Choi told Cointelegraph about her long-term vision for metaverse travel:“Travel will be augmented as a teaching tool. In the past, tourism meant visiting a place. Photos were 2D, but 3D travel then emerged with virtual headsets. 4D time experimentation is now possible. Now, we can mesh different time periods. There’s a teaching angle.”This raises a series of questions regarding what new histories will be created in the metaverse.Will history be rewritten in the metaverse?For better or worse, tourism businesses, education platforms and museums could reimagine history in the metaverse.Priyadarshini Raje Scindia’s family owns Jai Vilas Palace, a 200-year-old palace-turned-museum in Madhya Pradesh, India. She is planning an NFT collection produced by local artists to fund a metaverse experience. COVID-19 shut her museum for two years, allowing time for some needed — but expensive — restoration work. Scindia told Cointelegraph that NFTs should be embraced as art, as “Every generation has its art and the interpretation of it. This is a new medium and a new platform for hungry, emerging Indian artists.” She added that there “should be no barriers around art creation.”Scindia is convinced that the metaverse is the future, as “A person usually visits a museum once,” but they can visit multiple times in the metaverse. She says that in India, especially, museums are not the first destination people think to go to for entertainment. Private museums in small towns can be taken for granted, especially when compared with shopping malls and cinemas. So, she is working with 3.O Labs to “create immersive experiences — for example, animations that allow you to put yourself in short history documentaries.” It’s about opening more doors for conversations and education.Scindia also has a story to tell the world via the metaverse:“I disagree with my family history. We have rooms of research documents in the palace. Now is the right time and the right platform to correct history.”She told Cointelegraph that the historical narrative she would like to paint with her immersive experiences is “to tell the real story of my clan, the Maharatas. Retelling the story told by the British, which sounds like a Game of Thrones book — dark and barbaric. We fought for independence from all exterior forces, yet it was made out that we were fighting Indians in India. It is a historic fact that the Maharatas were the rulers of India, post the Mughals. And their narrative and value system are even more essential to study and understand today. I would like to use the platform to change the narrative through art, culture and history.”“I disagree with the way Maratha history is portrayed. However, today there is a renewed interest, maybe because of the glamor of cinema, but there’s also a new world out there. People have a deep interest in history today and are rediscovering art and history. The metaverse may be the right platform to inform and educate people, to generate interest, so they may start their own journey of a deep dive into history, art and culture through this amazing world.” Jai Vilas Palace. Source: Mohitkjain123DAOs for castles, villas and chateau restorationsPrince Heinrich Donatus of the Schaumburg-Lippe family owns Bueckeburg Castle, a castle in northern Germany, 45 minutes from Hannover. Schaumburg-Lippe was one of the 16 reigning families of the German Empire until 1918. Later, the British Army of the Rhine confiscated the castle to use as its headquarters from 1948 to 1953. It had previously been under American control following the end of World War II in 1945 until Germany’s occupation zones were established.A bullet hole in the outhouse serves as a reminder of the castle’s recent history. Americans were the first to arrive at Bueckeburg during the war, and their tank shell that penetrated the dome is still viewable in the castle’s museum. The family exhibits the shell and has left the hole in the ceiling as a reminder of the war.Donatus has the same idea as Scindia: a metaverse for historical preservation.Bueckeberg Castle. Source: Trip AdvisorDonatus, who co-founded 3.O Labs with Choi, will soon operate an NFT exhibition and a DAO-focused hacker house at the castle. He told Cointelegraph that “The metaverse isn’t a virtual reality world. It is a new economy. For example, the incentivization to enter the metaverse could be to protect a castle.”But why support noble families in 2022?For illiquid assets like sprawling estates, the cost of maintenance can outweigh a family’s cash flow. The preservation of privately owned sites of historical significance is, therefore, a significant challenge for owners and a national or global public good. In 2001, Donatus’ grandfather sold a castle for 1 euro, and the new owner’s latest two attempts to sell the same castle for 1 euro failed to find a buyer. Donatus added:“Foreigners who buy European castles give up after a year when they realize what is involved.”“The Bueckeburg castle is not meant to be lived in anymore — it is primarily a cultural site,” Donatus said, “We have the sole responsibility to maintain this history working with limited resources, and suddenly resources can be vastly enhanced and crowd-sourced.”“Virtual tours could be profitable, though metaverse ideas could take several years to pay back,” noted Choi. “But long term, there are no maintenance or air conditioning expenses for the metaverse.”Donatus said he foresees a launching DAO treasury for renovations, akin to a “people’s UNESCO” — a reference to the United Nations agency tasked with protecting sites of cultural and historical significance.DAOs are not constrained by borders, and this can create network effects for new models of tourism. “A sort of PleasrDAO for castles,” said Donatus. “They will include decentralized access/stewardship to castles, and castle hackathons — as castles are a cool place for meetups.”Augmented 4D metaverse events Historical storytelling and experiences can also be augmented to create surreal and impossible scenarios.“Under no circumstance do I want to experience things I can experience in the real world,” said Donatus. “The Metaverse can recreate and preserve the past.” He said one could create a “tennis match in a ballroom in the Palace of Versailles as a great tourist drawcard.”Choi said, “In the metaverse, we can upload guns and recreate wars for historical teaching purposes.” Historical reenactments with reconstructed weapons happen all over the world, including in the United States, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Italy, and there may be many future teachable moments in the metaverse.If metaverses truly are the future, the planning for their rules and composition starts now. This is why, for example, a group of Indigenous Australians plan to set up an embassy in the metaverse. Mixing the ancient and the new is seemingly tenuous, but it all depends on how bullish one is about the significance of the cultural totems in the metaverses of the future.As metaverses become new models for tourism, they may also rewrite history in the process.

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Major crypto firms and groups form coalition aimed at promoting 'market integrity'

Several cryptocurrency exchanges and advocacy groups across different countries have banded together to form a coalition intended to fight market manipulation.In a Monday announcement, market surveillance firm Solidus Labs and exchanges including Bitstamp, Coinbase, BitMEX, and CrossTower said they would be launching the Crypto Market Integrity Coalition, or CMIC, asking all other companies involved in the crypto space to follow their example. According to the CMIC, members must pledge to encourage “a fair digital asset marketplace to combat market abuse and manipulation and promote public and regulatory confidence” in crypto.The group’s 17 founding members includes U.S.-based crypto advocacy group Chamber of Digital Commerce, United Kingdom-based self-regulatory trade association CryptoUK, and international think tank Global Digital Finance. In addition, crypto data provider CryptoCompare, Anchorage Digital, the first crypto firm to receive a charter from the national bank regulator in the United States, and Circle, the company behind the USDC stablecoin, have joined the coalition.CMIC’s pledge includes a commitment to “maintain fair and orderly digital asset markets and prevent market abuse.” The group said it planned to eventually share its own research into crypto as well as establish a dialogue with regulators and consider a data-sharing and shared-surveillance framework.“Harmonizing a broad global approach to digital assets and competition in the digital currency space race, can improve U.S. competitiveness, security and lower fundamental costs for basic financial access,” said Circle chief strategy officer and head of global policy Dante Disparte. “CMIC’s pledge brings leading industry participants together to advance market integrity standards.”According to the CMIC website, the pledge asks that members agree to the following:“Regardless of regulatory requirements, market activity should be reviewed and monitored on a reasonable ongoing basis for purposes of detecting and eliminating Market Manipulation and unfair market abuses. Clear instances of fraud and manipulation are illegal, and we will commit to preventing these activities to the best of our ability.”Related: Binance denies allegations of market manipulationCrypto firms and industry leaders have formed other groups aimed at addressing challenges in mainstream adoption and between regulators. In September 2020, Square — now Block — started a consortium aimed at pooling crypto- and blockchain-related patents to “defend against patent aggressors and trolls.” In February 2021, Chainlink, Aave, Messari and others launched the GoodFi alliance to focus on furthering education and research into decentralized finance.

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