WeChat trials blockchain invoicing for faster refunds of company expenses
Tech giant Tencent thinks blockchain can speed up reimbursement of expenses for company employees and it’s trialing a feature on its WeChat app to do just that. Tencent has piloted the application at a local restaurant in Shenzhen, China, where a user paid the bill through its existing payments service WeChat Pay.
By feeding the payment data over its blockchain platform to the user’s employer, the restaurant and Shenzhen’s local taxation authority, Tencent said delays normally encountered via the standard manual claims process are eliminated. Notably, this reduces the prevalence of falsified receipts which are somewhat common in China as a means of tax evasion. Tencent said by putting the issuance process on a traceable blockchain, it would provide tax authorities with a paperless taxation system via which it can track the circulation of receipts.
Singapore VC firm launches $10M dedicated cryptocurrency fund
Singaporean venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures is launching what seems to be Southeast Asia’s “first dedicated VC cryptocurrency fund” with $10 million in investment capital. Named LuneX Ventures, the fund will see a “laser-like focus” on the cryptocurrency & blockchain space by investing in early-stage startups including crypto exchanges.
Founding partner Kenrick Drijkoningen said “We view blockchain as a foundational technology, on a par with or possibly exceeding the Internet in disruptive potential. Right now valuations have come down to more reasonable levels and the industry is moving from pioneers to early adopters, which is a great time to start investing.” Beyond cryptocurrency exchanges, the fund will also target startups devising practical solutions to custody & security requirements in the crypto sector, for example “institutional services” will be targeted.
World Bank & Australia’s CommBank to issue first blockchain bond
The World Bank Group has partnered with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank) to issue a bond over a blockchain. CommBank, one of the “Big 4” commercial banks in Australia, said it won a mandate from the World Bank to arrange the issuance of the bond, which will be created, transferred and managed via a blockchain platform.
The technology, already developed by CommBank’s in-house blockchain lab, aims to have key parties in a bond issuance process such as investors and banks to be participating nodes in a distributed network. Capital for the bond can be raised and transacted more efficiently. The World Bank reportedly issues $50 billion in bonds every year to reduce poverty and improve sustainability for worldwide markets. Denis Robitaille, CIO at the World Bank, said “This pioneering bond is a milestone in our efforts to learn how we can advise our client countries on the opportunities and risk that disruptive technologies offer as we strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Cryptocurrency will make up 5% of US investing in 2019
Traditional investments such as real estate, stocks and government bonds may still be favorites among US investors but crypto is not to be underestimated as it attracted nearly as much interest as ETFs. According to a survey done by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs, among the 35% of Americans who currently invest or are planning to do so in 2019, cryptocurrencies will constitute 5% of their investment mix. This compared favorably to exchange-traded funds which will comprise 8% of the portfolios.
According to the same study, close to 50% of adults in the world’s largest economy had little to no understanding of cryptocurrencies. The chairperson of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission of the AICPA, Greg Anton, offered counsel: “Before Americans invest their hard-earned money, it is important they take control of their financial future and do some research … A well-researched and properly diversified portfolio that matches an investors risk tolerance will give confidence to stay focused on long-term strategy and protect from the temptation to sell during short-term price swings.”