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Cryptocurrencies, or at least the technology underlying them, have taken their next toward respectability and wider adoption. Hot on the heels of the first bitcoin-ish exchange-traded fund comes word that two banks—just HSBC and Wells Fargo, to be sure, but actual banks all the same—will use blockchain to settle transactions involving real currencies.

From Monday, they will use blockchain technology to reconcile and pay out on deals in dollars, sterling, euro and Canadian dollars between the two banks, using HSBC’s FX Everywhere platform. The agreement means they will bypass CLS, the nearly two-decades-old utility that central banks urge market participants to use to neutralise the risk of certain trade failures…. The two banks also said they hoped to expand the system to other banks and emerging market currencies that CLS does not settle….

By using the technology, both HSBC and Wells will have real-time transparency of the settlement status of foreign exchange trades in the four initial currencies…. Wells will pay HSBC a small fee for using the platform, but the costs are likely to be lower than using CLS.

It also seems an appropriate juncture for a timely reminder of the less legitimate aspects of said technology.

Cryptocurrency exchange AscendEX suffered a hack for an estimated $77 million following a breach of one its hot wallets…. The Singapore-based exchange, which was formerly known as BitMax, claims to serve one million institutional and retail clients. It recently raised a $50 million Series B led by Polychain Capital and Hack VC.

Binance Asia Services, the exchange’s Singapore unit, said on Monday that it would drop its application for a licence to run a crypto business in the country and would wind down its Singapore crypto exchange by February.

The withdrawal comes after the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in September ordered Binance Singapore to stop all crypto transfers with the global exchange, which the regulator placed on an investor alert list and said “may be in breach” of local law.

For those keeping count, that’s at least three large economies not-so-politely escorting the world’s largest crypto exchange to their borders.

HSBC and Wells Fargo to settle currency trades with blockchain [FT]
Crypto Exchange AscendEX Hacked, Losses Estimated at $77M [Coindesk via Yahoo!]
Binance abandons plans for Singapore crypto platform [FT]

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