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Indian Tech Giant Mahindra Speeds Up Cross Border Transactions with Blockchain

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Tech Mahindra, the IT subsidiary of Indian conglomerate Mahindra Group, has become the first Indian business to use R3’s blockchain-based Marco Polo Network for conducting cross-border transactions.

It said the platform had resulted in faster reconciliation and ambiguity resolution, as well as the significant reduction of paperwork and time required for the entire transaction cycle.

Tech Mahindra partnered with Singapore’s DBS Bank, which facilitated the transactions and acted as the company’s leading trade bank. The parties used the Marco Polo Receivables Discounting product which is designed to help companies optimise their working capital, improve liquidity and mitigate credit risk.

Marco Polo is a consortium of major global financial and banking institutions that aims to streamline international trade. The network is built on R3’s open-source blockchain platform Corda.

Distinct improvements to existing platforms

Sriram Muthukrishnan, group head of trade product management at DBS Bank, said that the bank’s goal is to provide a seamless end-to-end trade financing experience for its customers:

“Technology plays a monumental role in breaking down barriers in cross-border trade and will remain key in facilitating the continued growth of international trade and businesses. This joint initiative with Marco Polo and Tech Mahindra complements DBS’ efforts to help our clients unlock greater efficiencies through the digitalisation of often manual and complex trade finance processes.”

Tech Mahindra is exploring blockchain

Tech Mahindra is not new to blockchain technology and has its own specialized blockchain unit. Last month, the company launched a blockchain accelerator in partnership with the government of one of India’s states. The accelerator aims to foster blockchain startups that have strong real-world use cases and to boost industry growth overall.

In September 2019, the tech company partnered with American distributed ledger technology firm Adjoint to launch a blockchain financial management and insurance solution.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/indian-tech-giant-mahindra-speeds-up-cross-border-transactions-with-blockchain

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Congress Fears US Is Losing Battle to Malware and Darkweb Cyberweapons

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In a May 28 virtual roundtable before the congressional Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy, witnesses and congresspeople alike feared that they are not keeping up with criminals hacking the financial system.

Criminals have better resumes than government agents

One witness, Guillermo Christensen, a partner at law firm Ice Miller, admired the cyber talent operating illegally: 

“We are always playing catch up with the criminals. […] It’s very hard to find people who are as qualified as some of these criminal hackers, frankly, to take apart their schemes and trace them.” 

Another issue is the overclassification of government information, presenting a barrier to private-sector security efforts. “The information sharing between the private sector and the public sector is very valuable but it could be better,” saft Naftali Harris, co-founder and CEO of SentiLink, an anti-fraud software company.

Fintech’s vulnerability during the pandemic

In response to a question from subcommittee chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) as to the vulnerability of fintech to hacking, cybersecurity strategist Tom Kellermann warned that the current system is vulnerable to new developments and increasingly remote workflows: 

“Financial institutions have the best security in the world, but because of telework and because of the customized malware or weaponry that are being developed in the darkweb, primarily the Russian-speaking darkweb. […] They’ve learned ways around the perimeter defense of the network security espoused by the standards of regulators around the world.”

Kellerman continued to explain that telework allows hackers easy access to well-defended financial networks via the worse-defended home systems of executives. He further called out APIs as adding another element of risk: 

“The greatest vulnerability of fintech is they build out these APIs that allow them to connect to other financial institutions as well as other fintech vendors. Those APIs themselves are being exploited left and right.”

During the hearing, Chairman Cleaver commented that “It seems that we are losing this battle.” His closing remarks were no more optimistic. “Your comments were very informative but also very scary,” the chairman said.

Cointelegraph has reported previously on the rise in scamming and hacking amid the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, a number of new threats specifically target hospitals and healthcare facilities.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/congress-fears-us-is-losing-battle-to-malware-and-darkweb-cyberweapons

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JPMorgan Chase Settles Crypto Credit Card Lawsuit for $2.5M

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Banking giant JPMorgan Chase settled a 2018 lawsuit recently, with a $2.5 total payout — the result of unclear fees charged when using credit cards for crypto purchases. 

A May 26 court document detailed:

“The Court notes that Defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., f/k/a Chase Bank USA, N.A. (“Chase” or “Defendant”) has agreed to provide a Cash Settlement Amount of an aggregate of $2,500,000 in cash.”

The lawsuit stemmed from lack of clarity 

In January 2018, JPMorgan Chase quietly altered the terms of use around its credit cards when dealing in crypto asset purchases, failing to alert customers until 10 days after the changes took effect. The terms allegedly charged users the same fees as cash advance activities. 

The legal action took flight later in 2018, seeing Brady Tucker, Ryan Hilton, and Stanton Smith press charges against the banking entity.

Reuters said in a May 27, 2020 brief:

“In a motion filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court, plaintiffs said the settlement would result in class members getting about 95% of the fees they said they were unlawfully charged.”  

March news settled in May

The plaintiffs’ legal action requested compensation for the deceptively-charged fees, as well as $1 million for damages, with a 75-day window for settlement detail submission, as of Cointelegraph’s March 2020 article.  

The movement was unopposed, according the May 26 court document.

“JPMorgan is not admitting wrongdoing as part of the deal, according to the motion,” Reuters noted in the brief. 

A number of other lawsuit-related headlines filled the crypto space in the first half of 2020, involving Ripple, BitfinexTezos and others.  

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/jpmorgan-chase-settles-crypto-credit-card-lawsuit-for-2-5m

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Emin Gün Sirer’s AVA Labs to Distribute 2M Tokens Ahead of Full Launch

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AVA Labs, a blockchain protocol founded by Cornell’s Emin Gün Sirer, is planning to distribute 2 million tokens in its final testnet before the project’s full launch in summer.

The so-called “Denali Testnet” will serve as the final stage of the AVA network testing before AVA’s mainnet launch. The new testnet will allow each validator to earn up to 2,000 AVA network’s native tokens, AVA Labs announced on May 29.

AVA Labs tokens are not yet listed on any cryptocurrency exchange and are not available for public purchase, a spokesperson at AVA Labs told Cointelegraph.

The testnet to run from June 1 to June 15

While testnet registration starts immediately on May 29, the first phase of the testnet launch will start on June 1. At that time, participants are expected to set up live nodes, an AVA Labs representative explained. The Denali testnet consists of three core challenges, which run until June 15. While AVA Labs expects to move to its mainnet in summer 2020, there is no specific date for the full launch of the project, an AVA Labs’ spokesperson said.

The Denali testnet follows AVA’s first successful testnet known as “Cascade.” Launched in mid-April 2020, AVA’s Cascade testnet amassed 300 developers setting up and running validator nodes.

AVA network is purportedly going to be the “Internet of blockchains” once launched

Initiated by Sirer in 2019, AVA Labs is an open-source platform and a layer 1 protocol for launching decentralized finance, or DeFi, applications and enterprise blockchain solutions. The platform is designed to unify DeFi applications and blockchain deployments in one scalable and interoperable ecosystem. According to AVA co-founder, Kevin Sekniqi, the best way to describe the new protocol is the “Internet of blockchains.”

In late April 2020, AVA Labs’ Sirer said that as much as 95% of all existing cryptocurrencies do not represent any tech advancement and should be regarded as nothing but scams.

AVA network’s token is not to be confused with Travala.com’s proprietary token, AVA. Backed by the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, Travala.com is a blockchain-based travel booking platform that features payments and loyalty rewards in its native crypto, AVA token.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/emin-gun-sirers-ava-labs-to-distribute-2m-tokens-ahead-of-full-launch

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