FPT and Factom Announce Partnership to Expand Blockchain-as-a-Service

FPT and Factom Announce Partnership to Expand Blockchain-as-a-Service

Austin-based blockchain-as-a-service company Factom is partnering with FPT Software, an IT services company stationed in Vietnam. The two enterprises will work with each other to develop a new blockchain technology platform through Factom Harmony — a system that creates audit records regarding data, decisions, activities and events. The purpose of the platform is to digitize and store files by utilizing simple APIs and Factom’s blockchain solutions, so information can become confirmable and auditable respectively.


Founded in 2014, Factom, Inc. specializes in designing and producing faster blockchain applications to handle large data for complex institutions. Among the organization’s clientele are the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

FPT provides informational technology, products and digital engineering services to large businesses in the U.S., Asia and Europe in industries like manufacturing, energy and utilities, healthcare and communications.

CEO of Factom Paul Snow explained:

“The partnership between Factom and FPT is a valuable opportunity to showcase the practical use and applications for blockchain technology on an enterprise scale. FPT and Factom share a vision of the future where blockchain-as-a-service is available to all companies looking to preserve, ensure and validate their data or decisions.”

The new platform will seek to deliver innovative solutions to Factom’s business patrons like workshops and proofs of concept (PoCs) and give them access to advanced blockchain solutions, while also enhancing FPT’s digital and product engineering services. FPT says that it will work with Factom directors to make sure its own staff is trained on Factom’s technology to give the company quicker access to the blockchain.

Discussing Factom’s credentials, CEO of FPT Software Phuong Dang stated:

“Their technology platform will enable us to deliver a superior experience to our customers by delivering cutting-edge, differentiating blockchain solutions. With Factom’s blockchain platform Harmony and FPT Services, we will enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness for our clients in no time. This is a testimony to our global talent pool and the strengths of our technology.”

With nearly 20 years of experience in the tech industry, FPT Software is valued at over $2 billion and employs roughly 30,000 individuals in Vietnam and abroad. Headquartered in Hanoi, the company also has a U.S. branch in Richardson, Texas, designed to focus on digital transformation for Fortune 1000 clients. The company also houses several delivery units throughout major American cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Sunnyvale in the Silicon Valley.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Tim Draper Predicts Bitcoin Will Soar to $250,000 in Four Years

Tim Draper Predicts Bitcoin Will Soar to $250,000 in Four Years

In another one of his famous bitcoin predictions that gets widespread news coverage, billionaire investor Tim Draper is now predicting that the price of bitcoin, which today traded at around $8,100, will rocket to $250,000 in four years.


Draper, a founding partner in Draper Associates, made the prediction on April 12, 2018, at the Block (Chain) Party at Draper University in San Mateo, California. “I’m thinking $250,000 a bitcoin by 2022,” the investor said, standing in front of his self-named university and wearing a purple tie with gold bitcoins blazoned upon it. “Believe it. They’re going to think you’re crazy, but believe it. It’s happening and it’s going to be awesome!”

He repeated his bold prediction in a tweet the following morning.

To put that number into perspective, the price of bitcoin would have to increase in price 30 times from what it is today to reach that projected number. But Draper, who has also invested in Tezos, another cryptocurrency that has yet to launch, has been right on the money in the past.

Draper’s most notable, and likely most profitable, investment in cryptocurrency was in June 2014, when he won the U.S. Marshals auction of nearly 30,000 bitcoins seized from the now-defunct Silk Road marketplace website. At the time, the price of a single “coin” was valued at around $600. Today, if he has held on to it, that investment would be worth more than $243 million.

Later that same year, when bitcoin was only worth $413, in an interview with Fox Business, Draper claimed bitcoin would reach $10,000 in three years. Again, in 2015, the venture capitalist predicted that bitcoin would top $10,000 by the end of 2017. On November 29, 2017, the price of bitcoin crossed $10,000 for the first time, reaching a peak of over $19,700 a few weeks later.

Draper’s latest prediction, however, comes amidst a global wave of regulatory change and uncertainty, at a time when bitcoin has fallen from its all time high  in mid-December 2017 to a low of $6,450 on February 6, 2017. Governments around the world are now clamping down on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies to head off money laundering, funding of terrorism and consumer scams.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Collaboration Tools Graphite and Stealthy Create a Decentralized Duo

Collaboration Tools Graphite and Stealthy Create a Decentralized Duo

At a time when concerns over how big companies like Facebook, LinkedIn and Google are handling our data continue to grow, two blockchain-based apps have joined forces to offer productivity tools that give you full control over your own data.


Graphite Docs, a decentralized alternative to Google G-suite, has integrated with decentralized messaging app Stealthy, the two companies announced on April 12, 2018. What that means is users of Graphite Docs are now able to view documents and chat with friends and coworkers on a single screen.

“The integration brings a Stealthy module into your Graphite documents just like you see with the Google Hangouts module inside a Google Doc,” Graphite Docs creator Justin Hunter told Bitcoin Magazine.

How It Works

Similar to Google G-suite, Graphite Docs is a web app for documents and spreadsheets that includes an email alternative called “conversations.” You can use it to share files, make edits and collaborate. But the main difference, Hunter says, is that while Google has access to all your data, Graphite Docs never sees your data. With Graphite Docs, you still store your data on cloud servers — Dropbox, Amazon or even Google — but your data is encrypted, and your encryption keys stay on your own devices, so you maintain control of your data.

“Let’s say Google wants to look at your documents, all they are going to see is an encrypted blob and they can’t decrypt that — only you can decrypt that with the encryption keys that you have,” said Hunter.

Stealthy, a peer-to-peer communication platform with messaging, screen sharing, video chat and more, offers similar privacy features. That is because both apps are powered by Blockstack, a network for decentralized apps that works on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. Hunter likes to point out that the collaboration between Graphite Docs and Stealthy represents the first integration between two decentralized apps ever.


Apps on the Blockstack platform are accessed through a browser, but the apps themselves run locally on your computer, along with the Blockstack software which stores your ID information that you use to access the Blockstack apps.

“When you create an account on Graphite Docs, Blockstack creates a self-sovereign identity that is written to the Bitcoin blockchain,” said Hunter. Blockstack then uses that ID information to create a set of encryption keys for each app you use on the platform.

Blockstack gives you a choice of storing your encrypted data on your computer or Blockstack’s own servers. For its part, Graphite Docs allows you to choose what cloud services you want to store your encrypted data on; that way, in addition to having your data stored through Blockstack, it is also replicated, protecting it against any single point of failure.

Up Next:  Enterprise Tools

The consumer version of Graphite Docs, including Stealthy, is free. Looking to the future, Hunter says he is focused on building a paid enterprise version of Graphite Docs for schools, NGOs, businesses and other institutions, so they, too, can own their own data. Similarly, Stealthy is also building additional features to support widespread adoption.  

Hunter is the lone employee of Graphite Docs. So far he says, he has managed everything himself and has not received outside funding for the project. Similarly, Stealthy is being bootstrapped by its founders, Prabhaav Bhardwaj and Alex Carreira.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

$3.5 Million in Bitcoin Missing From India’s Coinsecure Exchange

$3.5 Million in Bitcoin Missing From India’s Coinsecure Exchange

In what may be the biggest virtual currency exchange heist in India to date, 438 bitcoin (BTC), currently worth $3.5 million, have gone missing from Coinsecure, and the exchange thinks an employee has run off with the money.  


In a statement posted on the exchange’s website on April 12, 2018, Coinsecure said the exchange was not hacked, but that bitcoin disappeared when bitcoin gold (BTG), a “coin” resulting from a split in the Bitcoin blockchain, was being extracted to distribute to Coinsecure customers.

Bitcoin are kept securely in a wallet, the firm said, and only two people, the company CSO and CEO, have access to the private keys.

“Our Bitcoin funds have been exposed and seemed to have been siphoned out to an address that is outside our control,” the Delhi-based exchange said.

According to a first information report (FIR) filed with the police by Mohit Kalra, CEO at Coinsecure and director at the exchange’s parent company Secure Bitcoin Traders Pvt, on April 9, 2018, Coinsecure CSO Amitabh Saxena reported that the funds were missing from the wallet due to an “attack.” Coinsecure thinks Saxena actually took the money for himself.

“As the private keys are kept with Dr. Amitabh Saxena, we feel that he is making a false story to divert our attention and he might have a role to play in the entire incident,” the report said. It added that since Saxena has an Indian passport, “his passport should be seized so he cannot fly out of the country.”

According to a news report in the Economic Times of India, police have since seized the company’s servers to investigate the extent of the system breach. They are checking to see if more wallets have been compromised and are calling in the company’s senior security officials for questioning.

Meanwhile, Coinsecure is attempting to reassure its customers, stating that they will be paid back through the exchange’s personal funds.

The person who took the funds may have trouble converting them to fiat inside the country. Last week, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) banned banks and other regulated financial entities from dealing with digital currencies.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Robinhood’s First Tentative Steps Into Cryptocurrencies Appeal to Traders

Robinhood’s First Tentative Steps Into Crypto Trading Appeal to Millennials

The Robinhood mobile app for smartphones, operated by a financial services firm  headquartered in Palo Alto, allows individuals to invest in publicly traded companies and exchange-traded funds listed on U.S. stock exchanges without paying a commission. Earlier this year, the company announced that it was branching into cryptocurrency trading with Robinhood Crypto.


The Robinhood business model is based on collecting interest on the cash and securities in Robinhood accounts, much like a bank collects interest on cash deposits, rather than charging traders with commissions. Besides that, Robinhood sells premium “Robinhood Gold” accounts priced at $6 per month, with extra features such as the possibility to trade after hours and borrow capital.

In March 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that, according to unnamed sources familiar with the matter, Robinhood is about to close a $350 million funding round from a group of investors led by Russian firm DST Global. The new funding would boost the company’s valuation to $5.6 billion, “a fourfold increase in just one year that reflects the stock-trading app’s soaring popularity among millennials.”

This would place Robinhood among the top 15 highest-valued private technology companies in the U.S., “representing an ambitious bet by investors that the firm can capture a sizable piece of the financial-trading market,” according to the WSJ.

Trading via Robinhood is especially popular among millennials. “By divorcing the idea of investing from the aging financial institutions that some millennials have come to distrust, Robinhood is ushering a new generation into the stock market,” noted Fast Company. According to an early investor in the company, Robinhood “did a great job building a trusted relationship with the millennial demographic.”

Robinhood founders Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt created the company in 2012 to make financial services accessible to everyone regardless of income. “Robinhood started with the idea that a technology-driven brokerage could operate with significantly less overhead,” states the company’s website. “We cut out the fat that makes other brokerages costly — hundreds of storefront locations and manual account management.”

In a 2015 WSJ interview, Tenev said that, before Robinhood, many of the 90 million “mobile-first, share-everything” millennials in the U.S. felt investing was inaccessible due to fees and minimum account balances.

Besides low costs and streamlined paperwork, the sleek interface and powerful back-end features of the Robinhood app are also designed to be appealing to tech-savvy, demanding digital natives. The app features state-of-the-art security measures, real-time market data, timely notification of earnings, dividends, or splits, and a custom low-latency trading system.

Though the company plans to expand globally, Robinhood is still very much focused on the U.S., with Australia being the only foreign country where specific expansion plans have been announced.

Robinhood Crypto

In February, Robinhood started rolling out Robinhood Crypto, a new option to trade cryptocurrencies within the app. Currently, 16 cryptocurrencies including BTC, ETH, NEO, QTUM and ZEC are supported.

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm toward Robinhood Crypto and are excited to contribute to the cryptocurrency community in a meaningful way,” reads the launch announcement. “With the release of Robinhood Crypto, we’re continuing our mission of making the financial system work for everyone, not just the wealthy.

Robinhood Crypto trading is only available, at this moment, to users in California, Massachusetts, Missouri and Montana. The company is rolling out crypto trading gradually and claims that over one million people are in line to get access. In the meantime, all investors on Robinhood can monitor and track cryptocurrency market data. A social platform to discuss cryptocurrencies, dubbed Robinhood Feed, is also being rolled out gradually.

“Investors also see opportunity in Robinhood’s recent introduction of trading in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, according to a person familiar with the investment,” notes the WSJ.

For now, Robinhood doesn’t support withdrawing cryptocurrencies to external wallets or depositing cryptocurrencies from external wallets to Robinhood Crypto accounts. The company plans to allow cryptocurrency withdrawals soon. Concerning cryptocurrency deposits, the only statement is, “We’ll be sure to update you if and when this type of transfer becomes available.”

Not surprisingly, the reluctance to allow cryptocurrency deposits is motivated by regulatory requirements “to prevent money from illegal activity being used for transactions on Robinhood Crypto.”

However, it can be argued that, to democratize investing and put “power previously held by financial institutions directly in the hands of the people,” as they state on their company blog, Robinhood should consider allowing cryptocurrency deposits, especially in view of an international expansions.


If the Robinhood team really wants to go global, they should bear in mind that billions of people in the developing world don’t have access to credit cards and bank accounts, and cryptocurrencies are rapidly emerging as an alternative financial empowerment means for the unbanked.

Bitcoin Magazine reached out to Robinhood for comments and questions but was told that there were no representatives available.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Santander Launches International Payment Service Built On Ripple’s xCurrent

Santander Launches International Payment Service Built On Ripple’s xCurrent


Banco Santander is launching a new international payments service, dubbed “OnePay FX,” based on blockchain technology. The service is available to retail customers in Spain, U.K., Brazil and Poland, and will be rolled out across more countries in the coming months. The OnePay FX app is available from the App Store for iOS devices.

Banco Santander is one of the world’s largest banks with 133 million customers, 13,700 branches and 200,000 employees. With the launch of OnePay FX, Santander will become the first bank to offer a blockchain-based international payments service to retail customers in multiple countries simultaneously. The bank intends to make OnePay FX significantly faster than existing international payment services and to introduce instant international payments in other countries, besides the four countries supported at this moment, before the summer.

“Transfers to Europe can be made on the same day and we are aiming to deliver instant transfers across several markets by the summer,” said Ana Botín, Executive Chairman of Banco Santander. “Our goal is to help the thousands of people who use international payments services every day, and we will be adding more currencies and destinations in the coming months.”

Botín told the Financial Times that she was particularly keen to encourage the project — which took two years to develop — after seeing her son using a rival service to rapidly transfer money into Spain, adding that the Santander group aims to eventually make OnePay FX available as a standalone app that could be used by customers at other banks.

OnePay FX is built on xCurrent, Ripple’s enterprise software solution for cross-border interbank payments with end-to-end tracking. The xCurrent platform allows banks to message each other in real-time to confirm payment details before initiating a transaction, and to confirm delivery once it settles.

With xCurrent, Ripple wants to offer a flexible, real-time, cross-currency settlement solution that enables banks to differentiate themselves by offering new cross-border payments services while lowering their total cost of settlement. “The solution is specifically designed to meet the needs of banks by fitting within their existing risk, compliance and information security frameworks,” notes a Ripple solution outline. “Ripple’s software is installed within the bank’s infrastructure and is built to interface with the bank’s systems.”

“Ripple’s products, including xCurrent, help financial institutions across the globe enhance their customer experience by making the global movement of money more fluid,” said senior Ripple VP Marcus Treacher. “With OnePay FX, Santander customers in can now send payments across borders in a fast and simple way.”

xCurrent, is built around an open, neutral protocol, Interledger Protocol (ILP), which enables interoperation between different ledgers and networks. According to Ripple, xCurrent offers a cryptographically secure, end-to-end payment flow with transaction immutability and information redundancy.

“OnePay FX uses blockchain-based technology to provide a fast, simple and secure way to transfer money internationally — offering value, transparency, and the trust and service customers expect from a bank like Santander,” continued Botín. “From today, customers in the U.K. can use OnePay to transfer money across Europe and to the U.S. In Spain, customers can transfer to the U.K. and U.S., while customers in Brazil and Poland can transfer to the U.K.”

In a 2015 paper titled “The Fintech 2.0 Paper: Rebooting financial services,” Santander Innoventures, the $200 million fintech venture capital fund of Santander Group, issued “a call to action to banks, financial institutions and financial technology (fintech) businesses to work together to undertake a fundamental ‘reboot’ of the core processes, systems and infrastructure of the banking industry.”

Santander Innoventures is an investor in Ripple. “Santander has long been an advocate for modernizing banking infrastructure,” said Mariano Belinky, managing partner of Santander InnoVentures, commenting on the announcement of the fund’s investment in Ripple. “We believe Ripple possesses the talent, technology and momentum to address many of these scenarios.”

In a 2016 pilot project, Santander U.K. tested Ripple’s blockchain technology for international payments. The iOS app used in the pilot project worked in connection with Apple Pay.

“Blockchain technology offers tremendous opportunities to improve the services we offer our customers, and the launch of Santander OnePay FX is the first of many potential applications,” concluded Botín. According to Ripple, frictions in global payments will be eliminated as more financial institutions like Santander adopt and build upon Ripple solutions.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.