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Will Facebook’s Libra Help Bring Cryptocurrency To The Masses?

Will Facebook’s Libra Help Bring Cryptocurrency To The Masses?

When Facebook announced plans for a stablecoin called Libra, the reaction from the cryptocurrency world ranged somewhere between skeptical and cautiously optimistic.

But, regardless of any specific merits of Facebook’s version of a digital coin, the social-media giant’s move could help speed the adoption of cryptocurrency to a larger audience, says Kirill Bensonoff (www.kirillbensonoff.com), a serial entrepreneur and an expert in blockchain.

The biggest issue now is that most people are not familiar with crypto; they think it’s difficult to use, and they may not trust it,” Bensonoff says. “Facebook will put a digital wallet on many phones and computers, and sending payments with crypto will become commonplace.”

Facebook’s Libra is proposed as a stablecoin, which is a form of cryptocurrency. Using Libra, people would be able to buy things or send money to others while paying, at most, minor fees. Unlike other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the value of stablecoins is tied to an asset such as gold, the U.S. dollar, the Euro or other currencies.

Facebook won’t have complete control of Libra. It’s just part of a bigger group of partners that’s creating the stablecoin.

What might all this mean for the future of cryptocurrencies – and for the average person who still knows little about them? Bensonoff says a few things worth knowing about Libra in particular and stablecoins in general include:

-Bringing stability to cryptocurrency. As the name implies, the idea of stablecoins is to bring more stability – and more peace of mind for wary investors – to the world of cryptocurrency. “I don’t think Facebook will bring stability immediately,” Bensonoff says. “I believe it’s going to take a lot more in terms of mass adoption, but Libra could be a step in the right direction.”

-The SEC’s view. Regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission have been eyeing stablecoins with the possibility that some of them could be classified as securities. “That could put stablecoins in the same category as stocks, subject to the registration, disclosures, and accreditation of investors that demands,” Bensonoff says.

-Will Libra replace PayPal? Maybe not, considering that PayPay is one of the founding members of Libra, Bensonoff says. “I think they will have some influence on the direction,” he says. “However, crypto in general is a threat to all existing payment processors, including PayPal. I believe PayPal is smart and will adopt and accept crypto payments, and they will figure out a way to monetize it. The downside for them is they won’t be able to charge nearly as much as they do now.”

“I believe Libra is going to have a positive impact in terms of awareness, adoption and interest in cryptocurrency from both businesses and consumers,” Bensonoff says. “But at the same time, with that could come more regulatory scrutiny.”

About Kirill Bensonoff

Kirill Bensonoff (www.kirillbensonoff.com) has over 20 years experience in entrepreneurship, technology and innovation as a founder, advisor and investor in over 30 companies. He’s the CEO of OpenLTV, which gives investors across the world access to passive income, collateralized by real estate, powered by blockchain. In the information technology and cloud services space, Kirill founded U.S. Web Hosting while still in college, was co-founder of ComputerSupport.com in 2006, and launched Unigma in 2015. All three companies had a successful exit.

As an innovator in the blockchain and DLT space, Kirill launched the crypto startup Caviar in 2017 and has worked to build the blockchain community in Boston by hosting the Boston Blockchain, Fintech and Innovation Meetup. He is also the producer and host of The Exchange with KB podcast and leads the Blockchain + AI Rising Angel.co syndicate. Kirill earned a B.S. degree from Connecticut State University, is a graduate of the EO Entrepreneurial Masters at MIT, and holds a number of technical certifications. He has been published or quoted in Inc., Hacker Noon, The Street, Forbes, Huffington Post, Bitcoin Magazine and Cointelegraph and many others.

What is Cryptocurrency and How Is Its Global Acceptance

Cryptocurrency in layman terms can be described as a virtual currency that is not controlled by a centralized system. To further elaborate, the crypto in cryptocurrency comes from the word cryptography, which was a practice used during second world war to communicate securely with the use of hard to crack codes that represent critical information. One of the most popular cryptocurrencies is bitcoin which is based on blockchain technology and many other cryptocurrencies are based on the same principle.

Resistance is often the first reaction of masses towards new technology and you will be surprised to learn that electricity, automobiles, and the internet were initially made fun of. Whether it is electrification being called a fad over gas-powered lighting and heating solutions, automobile use disregarded as dangerous over the use of horses, or the scare that internet will be used by criminals, the prime reason for this behavior is the feeling of comfort with the existing system.

There is a lot of confusion around cryptocurrency as there is a lot of skepticism around it. Most people do not understand how it functions and hence they oppose it. Cryptocurrencies are also being blocked by certain countries and centralized banks as they are impossible to monitor and control. Since the transfer of funds can be made anonymously, its use for illegal transactions is seen as a threat.

The positive uses and prospects for the future that cryptocurrency holds outrun the fear and skepticism around it. Value of 1 Bitcoin was less than a cent when it started in the year 2008 and 2009 when the first Bitcoin block appeared. Its value peaked at a little less than $20,000 in December 2015 and 1 Bitcoin is currently valued at approximately $10,000. Want to learn more about cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, and stats on its global acceptance? Check out this infographic from Total Processing to learn about other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Ethereum, and a new one which is yet to be announced from the house of Facebook.

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Report: U.S. Companies Led AI-Tech Acquisitions 2014-18

.Leading data and analytics company, GlobalData, released a report this week highlighting companies that dominated the artificial intelligence-tech space from 2014-2018. In the report, four out of five top acquirers were U.S. based: Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Splunk. These companies represent a combined total of 30 acquisitions during the time period studied. Accenture made the list as the only non-U.S. based company, representing six acquisitions total.

“Technology companies have been the dominant deal makers in the AI space. However, with artificial intelligence making inroads into diverse sectors, the buyer universe in expanding and the space is also attracting investments from non-technology companies,” said Aurojyoti Bose, Financial Deals Analyst at GlobalData.

Top Deal Makers-Payment Tech_V2

“The high number of American firms attracting investments in the AI space is a testimony to the country’s dominance in AI technology. The recent launch of American AI Initiative program also augurs well for the development of the sector or start-ups operating in this space,” added Bose.

Additional insights in the report confirm the U.S. as a leading region for targeted acquisitions, representing 70 percent of those acquired by the top five in the list. Regions closely following include the UK, China, India, Canada and Israel due to the talent pool and innovative technology offerings.

Top Deal Makers-Payment Tech_V1 Table

“With increasing adoption of AI across sectors, this space is bound to witness growth in an already burgeoning M&A activity. Corporates are extensively evaluating options to integrate AI in their business operations and automation initiatives. Going forward, AI solutions will be an integral part of their strategies,” Bose concludes.

Source: GlobalData

Hong Kong: Banks Relocating, Port Authorities Mum

Los Angeles, CA – Updates on the continuing situation in Hong Kong…

* US Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi are holding talks today in Washington, DC that are expected to address the growing political crisis in Hong Kong.

“This is obviously a prominent issue in the news, one the secretary is well aware of, and I expect it will be a part of this discussion,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

* The Hong Kong stock exchange “insists” it will continue to operate as normal but the Hong Kong Monetary Authority says 17 banks – including Standard Chartered and HSBC Holdings – have been forced to close 29 branches across the city.

A number of financial sector firms are moving staff to contingency premises on the outskirts of the city. According to media reports, JP Morgan, Bank of America, CITIC Securities, HSBC, Société Générale and Barclays are considering the option of moving staff to ‘back office’ sites outside Hong Kong. On Monday, it was reported that 44 branches, offices or ATMs from 23 different banks had been temporarily shut down in the face of protests.

* Earlier this week, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said it was standing by to provide additional liquidity if required.

* Concerns are growing over the possible impact of the demonstrations on the movement of goods in and out of Hong Kong’s container terminals. Information is scarce on cargo movement at the port as, to date, neither the Hong Kong government, the Hong Kong Container Terminal Operators Association, nor the Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association have issued statements on the situation.

* Mobile messaging app FireChat has reportedly been downloaded more than 200,000 times in Hong Kong since Monday. FireChat allows users to bypass mobile networks, meaning it is easier to bypass the strict censorship rules recently applied by the Chinese authorities.

* Users of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter in Hong Kong have had their access blocked.

* L’Oreal, the world’s top cosmetics group, has suspended all business travel to Hong Kong until “at least” Monday, October 6. The French company has a major subsidiary based in Hong Kong that serves the company’s huge customer base in Asia. Italian luxury group Prada said today that it is was monitoring the situation on a hourly basis and closing shops early when necessary.

Domestic Hong Kong rival Tod’s also said its Hong Kong shops located in the Landmark and Pacific Place shopping malls had closed one hour early on Sunday and Monday, in line with guidance issued by the affected shopping malls.

10/01/2014