Japan’s GMO Internet Group has announced plans to issue a yen-pegged stablecoin called GMO Japanese Yen. Already in the crypto exchange and mining hardware businesses, the company plans to launch its third crypto enterprise with this stablecoin.
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GMO Internet Group announced Tuesday that it “will start full-scale preparations to issue stable coins of virtual currency, with an eye to enter into the ‘settlement’ area of virtual currency business.” The company detailed:
‘GMO Japanese Yen (ticker symbol: GJY)’ [will be launched] through the unified brand (global brand) ‘Z.com’ in the overseas strategy of the GMO Internet Group. [It will be a] ‘yen-pegged currency’ linked with the Japanese yen.
Noting that there are already 57 stablecoins in the world, 23 of which are already in circulation, GMO disclosed that “We plan to start issuing [the stablecoin] for the Asian region around the fiscal year 2019.”
Third Crypto Business
Currently, GMO has two businesses in the crypto space: the exchange business which started in May last year and the mining business which started in December. In its earnings presentation published in August, the company outlined another crypto business area it seeks to enter called “cryptocurrency payment.”
In Tuesday’s stablecoin announcement, GMO revealed that it has been “investigating and researching whether the virtual currency could be the settlement currency from the viewpoint of volatility.”
GMO’s crypto businesses. Source: GMO Internet Group
GMO’s Hope for Its Stablecoin
According to GMO, in order to solve the hyperinflation problem seen in many developing countries, “issues such as true non-centralization need to be overcome.” The firm asserted that stablecoins can be a solution to this problem “as a currency to replace low-credit domestic currencies.” The firm also believes that even in developed countries, stablecoins have “a potential to become a global standard innovative financial infrastructure.”
Referring to its yen-pegged crypto, GMO described:
One of the tasks is to stabilize price fluctuation (volatility), which is a risk to remittance and settlement, in order to increase the spreading and development of the virtual currency.
What do you think of GMO issuing a yen-pegged stablecoin? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and GMO Internet Group.
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Africa is often lauded as the next big thing for cryptocurrency adoption and development. But could poor internet access and connectivity slow down progress? A new report by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) shows that it will cost $450 billion to connect 1.5 billion people – most of them in Africa – to the internet. African governments spend almost three times less than the global average on broadband connectivity. Then there is also the issue of low education levels, and high cost of internet-capable devices against low incomes. All these factors could combine to slow down the cryptocurrency revolution in Africa, a revolution that rides on reliable internet connectivity.
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Can Crypto Flourish Under Africa’s Irregular Internet Connectivity?
The debate about whether cryptocurrency can work in Africa could now be replaced by whether or not the continent of 1.2 billion people can possess the necessary infrastructure – and technical know-how – to allow virtual money to flourish unhindered.
Connected From A Young Age
Over the past few years, the digital currency ecosystem has grown rapidly in several African countries like Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, with bitcoin becoming quite popular. The wave of crypto adoption is widely viewed as key to driving economic growth and financial inclusion on the continent.
However, a new report by the International Telecommunications Union titled “The State of Broadband 2018: Broadband Catalyzing Sustainable Development” shows that African governments have a lot to do to ensure that the continent will benefit from the ‘fourth industrial revolution.’
Latest ITU data reveals that some 52 percent or 3.7 billion of the world’s population currently remain unconnected to the internet, with the majority of them residing in Africa. The scale of the infrastructure that must be built or upgraded to bridge the digital divide and deploy emerging technologies is huge – ITU estimates that connecting the next 1.5 billion people will cost $450 billion.
Unconnected in rural Africa
“National governments can truly make a difference in bridging the broadband gap by taking advantage of technologies such as satellite to bring reliable connectivity to unconnected areas and create an effective solution to expand internet reach,” says the ITU.
Bottleneck To Economic Growth
According to Internet World Stats, internet penetration in Africa stood at 27.7 percent by the end of March 2017 and this compared unfavourably with the world average of 49.6 percent.
The lack of internet access has arguably served as a bottleneck to economic growth, competitiveness, and development of basic services in countries throughout Africa. The report noted that only 6 percent of Africans have broadband internet access.
These numbers make for uncomfortable reading in the development of cryptocurrency on the continent. Virtual money thrives where internet access and connectivity thrive. Digital currencies will have to reach the unbanked in rural areas, where the majority of Africas reside, but internet connectivity is poorest in such regions.
The internet market in Africa has been stymied by the poor quality and relative scarcity of the fixed-line infrastructure. Currently, more than 90 percent of all internet connections are via mobile networks. Figures from the ITU report validate the point, showing that fixed-broadband penetration stood at 0.7 percent in Africa in 2016, compared to 29.3 percent mobile broadband penetration.
Rwanda Leads In Broadband Connectivity
But as African governments spend just about 1.1 percent of their Gross Domestic Product on broadband technology – about three times less the global average – one country stands out.
Rwanda has achieved 90 percent broadband penetration rate. In 2008, the Rwandese government embarked on a nationwide roll-out of fibre optic as a backbone infrastructure for broadband. This optic fibre connected different parts of the country and provided high-capacity cross-border links with onward connectivity to submarine cables.
Currently, the government of Rwanda’s vision, policy and plans recognise broadband and ICTs in general, as a driver of economic growth, access to information and social cohesion, productivity and innovation across all sectors of the economy – though it doesn’t specifically mention cryptocurrency.
Steps have been taken to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, reduce the cost of end-user devices, stimulate the development and uptake of relevant content and diffusion of technologies into various sectors of the economy.
It remains something of a mystery that with all the progress made in delivering internet connectivity, digital currencies are only starting to take off in Rwanda. Perhaps, that has to do with the average cost of broadband in Africa, at $493 per month, according to the International Monetary Fund, beyond the reach of many, who earn just a fraction of the amount each month. Undoubtedly, poor internet access and connectivity may be the antithesis of cryptocurrency adoption and development in Africa.
Do you think Africa can overcome its weaknesses to become a leader in cryptocurrency use? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Images via Shutterstock.
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Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple along with Steve Jobs, recently announced his participation in a crypto startup. During the interview, Mr. Wozniak (Woz) also spoke about cryptocurrencies and why he is excited about their prospects for the future.
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Apple’s Wozniak is Very Excited About Cryptocurrencies and their Future
“I like to keep up with things,” Steve Wozniak, 68, famed computer engineer and co-founder of Apple explained at the Chainxchange blockchain convention recently in an interview. “Bitcoin caught my attention. It had so many unusual aspects for any technology I had ever heard of. Nobody is really known to be the creator. It doesn’t have any centralized [component]. It’s based on mathematics. There’s a certain number of Bitcoin that can ever exist.”
Woz is best known in computer history lore as the right hand man to business visionary Steve Jobs. The two founded Apple, presently the most valuable company in human history, in 1976. Mr. Jobs handled the entrepreneurial aspects such as financing, Woz was the brains, building personal computing revelations, ushering in an industry that literally changed everything.
“Mathematics to me is like nature,” Woz continued in his admiration for Bitcoin. “It’s much better than human beings… I trust those things of nature more than what man makes up. Man makes up currencies, controls them, issues new US dollars every year; Bitcoin was immune to that.”
Computer Revolutionary Describes Crypto Space as When the Internet Began
Woz helped Mr. Jobs build Apple in its critical infant years through 1981. He would finally leave the company in a more-or-less permanent way by 1985. He’s gone on to do a lot of philanthropic work, invented the Universal Remote, and has even hosted pop music shows. Of late he is seen more as an ambassador of computing’s earliest days.
It’s interesting to the current crop of builders, investors, and visionaries within the cryptocurrency space to get Woz’s perspective. It might be odd if he was less than enthusiastic about prospects in this regard, and, sure enough he didn’t disappoint convention goers.
“It’s so independent!” Woz announced excitedly about crypto. “It’s kind of like the internet when it was brand new… I was amazed at the technology behind it. People start up companies that do other things in life. I’ve encountered people working in real estate avenues, types of Uber systems, everything we’ve got in our life, especially involving transactions – retail sales, car sales, manufacturing of goods… working on Bitcoin applications… and they all have value. Every single one you hear about, to me, has value…. A few people can see the value, which reminds me very much of the early internet days.” He also discussed his involvement in a crypto investment group, Equi Capital — a first for Mr. Wozniak.
What do you think about Woz’ enthusiasm for crypto? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images via Pixabay.
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Japan’s GMO Internet has unveiled new priorities for its cryptocurrency business along with the performances of its crypto exchange and mining operations. The changes going forward result from the bear market and increased total hash rate.
Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space
GMO Coin Profits Up 7.3-Fold
Japanese internet giant GMO published its second-quarter results for this fiscal year on Thursday. The report details the performances of the company’s cryptocurrency operations as well as changes in future plans.
In the second quarter, GMO’s overall crypto business generated a “revenue of JPY 2.6B [~US$23,481,811] in just a year since the launch,” the report reads. It also generated operating profits of 250 million yen (~$2,257,744) in the quarter compared to a loss of 730 million yen (~$6,592,612) the previous quarter.
For GMO Coin, the company’s crypto exchange operation, its “revenue increased 7.3-fold” in the second quarter compared to the previous. Its Q2 net sales were 1.42 billion yen (~$12,824,623) with operating profits of 550 million yen (~$4,967,283). In the first quarter, the subsidiary made a loss of 760 million yen (~$6,863,883).
Furthermore, GMO revealed that its crypto exchange’s “customer accounts are growing steadily,” with about 177,000 accounts opened in one year.
Mining Revenues Up 92%, Unexpected Loss Incurred
GMO’s crypto mining business generated 1.17 billion yen (~$10,568,436) in revenue in the second quarter, up 91.8% from the previous quarter. While “our hash rate is increasing as expected,” the company made an overall loss of 360 million yen (~$3,252,429).
Noting that the “loss was against our expectation,” the company proceeded to change its mining business policy. In July, GMO mined 568 BTC, a slight increase from the previous month of 528 BTC. However, the hash rate in July was 384 PH/s, unchanged from the previous month.
Citing external, “uncontrollable factors,” namely the low price of bitcoin and the increasing total hash rate, GMO detailed a change of priorities.
Previously, the company’s top priority was to mine cryptocurrencies in-house, then to offer cloud mining services to the public before selling mining machines. The new strategy puts selling the machines first, then mining in-house before offering their cloud mining services. The company will also “secure a more inexpensive power supply” to lower electricity costs for mining.
GMO hopes that the change in strategy will lead to more control over their investments and an earlier payback. Meanwhile, the company still plans to ship GMO miners B2 and B3 at the end of October.
What do you think of GMO’s new priorities and performances of the crypto exchange and mining operations? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and GMO Internet.
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There are numerous people and groups in the crypto industry that want a crypto ETF. The Gemini exchange is one, and BitWise is another. Over the weekend, the CEO of Fatfish Internet Group joined the conversation. But is there a crypto ETF coming soon, or is this false hope? After all, the SEC has a different opinion.
Crypto ETF Coming Soon?
On Sunday, Kin-Wai Lau, CEO of Fatfish Internet, a global tech venture investment firm, said that a Bitcoin ETF is on the horizon, adding that global markets will soon be “ready to accept” a BTC …
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