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15/02/2018: Biggest Stories in the Cryptosphere

  1. Cryptocurrencies Line Up to Join Lightning Network

The Lightning Network was initially created to solve the scalability problems of Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency to adopt the system. The introduction of an extra layer above the blockchain would cut transaction costs and save time. However, other cryptocurrencies are now facing the same problems. Examples of currencies planning to test Lightning are Ripple, Ethereum, Litecoin and Zcash. Litecoin is the closest to implementing its own version, as it is currently collaborating with Lightning Labs. Furthermore, Ethereum is currently working on Raiden, while NEO has Trinity. Bitcoin Core Contributor Jeremy Rubin has even stated that the Lightning Network has become essential for cryptocurrencies. Rubin is currently in charge of launching Stellar’s Lightning network.

2. Western Union To Test Ripple’s XRP For Its Money Transfer Service

American financial services and communication firm Western Union is testing Ripple to improve its money transfer services. CEO Hikmet Ersek announced the move on Tuesday during the company’s earnings call. Implementing blockchain technology will help cut costs and improve the transaction experience for both buyers and sellers. Furthermore, a trial of XRP is also taking place. Despite the cryptocurrency’s price decreasing, Ripple has formed various partnerships across the globe. Just recently it announced alliances with entities including UAE Exchange and SBI Ripple Asia. Finally, in the last 24 hours, XRP has grown by 10%.

3. Philippines Welcomes Blockchain Payment Platform Provided by Visa

Five banks located in the Philippines are forming a partnership in order to use a blockchain payment platform provided by Visa. The goal is to improve their payment systems through a platform based on the Visa’s B2B Connect system. The main bank, the Union Bank of the Philippines, will also provide assistance to the other four, which are unnamed rural banks. It has to be noted that Union Bank will be the first one in the country to adopt B2B Connect. Furthermore, more banks could join the partnership in the future.

4. South Africa’s Central Bank To Adopt Blockchain Technology

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB), the central bank of the country, has announced the launch of a Proof of Concept (PoC) backed by Ethereum blockchain. The project is called ‘Project Khokha’ and it’s being carried out in partnership with Ethereum coder collective ConsenSys. JPMorgan’s Quorum blockchain will be used for this interbank clearing and settlement project. The PoC will be powered by a future central bank-backed token, previously labelled as too risky by the Central Bank’s Deputy Governor. The announcement comes after various banks in South Africa have stated an interest in blockchain use on a large scale.

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