Overstock sold its first cryptobond, the cryptography team at Blockstream unveiled its first prototype sidechain and more top stories for June 9.

Overstock Sells World's First Cryptosecurity

Overstock has become the first company to solicit qualified institutional buyers in a digital corporate bond which will trade using blockchain technology. CEO Patrick Byrne purchased the world's first cryptobond for US$500,000. The pioneering development is part of the company's larger cryptofinance initiative known as Medici, on which Overstock expects to sell a total of US$25 million in digital bonds.

Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne said:

"The cryptorevolution has arrived on Wall Street [...] We're making it official by offering the world's first cryptosecurity."

Blockstream Unveils Much Awaited Sidechain Prototype

After eight months of developing its much anticipated sidechains project, which aims to turn Bitcoin into a more versatile platform for innovative decentralizing applications, the cryptography team at Blockstream has unveiled its first prototype sidechain. Company president and hashcash inventor Adam Back called on the Bitcoin community to provide Blockstream with feedback.


“We are now inviting the technical community […] to join in and participate and try out and comment on, and actually suggest changes or improvements”

Web-Wallet Providers Divided over Andresen’s 20 MB Block Size Increase Proposal

Of all Bitcoin web-wallet providers as listed on bitcoin.org, Blockchain.info, Coinbase and Xapo have come out in support of raising Bitcoin's block size limit from 1 to 20 megabytes as advised by Bitcoin Core developer Gavin Andresen, while Coinkite and GreenAddress are against the proposal. Interestingly, both the proponents and opponents of Andresen’s proposal cite centralization of Bitcoin as their main concern.

Web-Wallet Providers Divided over Andresen’s 20 MB Block Size Increase Proposal

LHV Bank Develops Wallet App Built on Bitcoin’s Blockchain

Estonia’s LHV Bank has backed a project to create a financial services platform and money-transfer app that will utilize Bitcoin to facilitate transactions. The Cuber Wallet app, which is available on both Android and Apple devices, enables users to send and receive euros instantly and free of charge. The experimental system uses the Bitcoin blockchain by way of colored coins, according to the bank.

44,000 Work in London’s FinTech Sector, More Than in NY and SV

Batches of FinTech startups are relocating to London to engage with large financial institutions and banks through connections from accelerators and mentorships, such as Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab, or accelerator Level39. Furthermore, global investments in FinTech ventures have reached US$12.21 billion, a large portion in London.

According to Sir Edward Lister, chief of staff for the mayor of London:

"What is most interesting for London is that, as a city, we are leading on the development of specific subsectors that build on London's historical strengths as a financial services hub. Throughout London, more than 44,000 people work in the fintech sector, more than New York and Silicon Valley.”

44,000 Work in London’s FinTech Sector, More Than in NY and SV

Mike Hearn: 'In About One Week Bitcoin-Xt Will Include Support for 20mb Block Increase'

In a recent episode of Epicenter Bitcoin, Bitcoinj and Bitcoin-Xt developer Mike Hearn announced that Bitcoin-Xt will include support for 20 megabyte blocks in about a week’s time.

As such, a shift from Bitcoin Core to Bitcoin-Xt as the most important Bitcoin client in order to allow for a bigger maximum block size will be a step closer to becoming reality. Whether or not Bitcoin-Xt will actually be supported by the Bitcoin industry and community remains uncertain, however.

Fintech ‘As a Bridge Out of Poverty' to Fight Financial Exclusion

Beyond the business opportunities, financial innovations have a larger socio-economic role to play and could help pull billions of people out of poverty, according to a new report by Accenture.

Both corporate and VC firms have put their bets on the burgeoning fintech industry, which seeks to reinvent the way people bank and transact, all thanks to technological innovation. The growing interest in financial technologies has led investors to pour billions into the space. And the amount is not expected to decrease any time soon.

Fintech ‘As a Bridge Out of Poverty' to Fight Financial Exclusion

Australian Banks Trial Ripple Payments

Westpac Banking Corporation and the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) have joined Commonwealth Bank of Australia in testing out payment technology from Ripple Labs.

Westpac is in the early stages of a proof of concept using the Ripple network, in which employees are making low-value international payments to two other countries. ANZ, meanwhile, said it has had a number of constructive conversations with Ripple and is in the process of investigating the potential benefits the model could offer its customers.

Australian Banks Trial Ripple Payments

MasterCard: Digital Currency’s Risks Outweigh the Benefits

The risks presented by digital currencies far outweigh the benefits, MasterCard has claimed. The global payment processor made these comments in its submission to the UK Treasury’s call for information on digital currencies last November.

In a four page submission, MasterCard wrote:

"We would argue that, when compared to MasterCard’s network, the claims pertaining to the speed and safety of digital currencies [do] not hold up, not least given that on average it takes 10 minutes for a block to be verified and that digital currencies are far more susceptible to hacking attacks."

Playcoin Entertainment Corp Launches Donation Platform GivaBitcoin

Blockchain development company Playcoin Entertainment Corp launched GivaBitcoin, a donation platform that allows anyone to make cryptocurrency donations of any amount to any registered charity. All a user has to do is choose the charity location and charity of his or her choice.

According to GivaBitcoin:

“We have over 1m charities in a system currently. The platform will be servicing charities in other countries soon.”