Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Outage Downs Telegram, Bitcoin Shines on a Bank

Technical Issues, blockchain plans, and bitcoin pranks – we’ve got a colorful selection of news in today’s Bitcoin in Brief. The popular messaging app Telegram was down for some users in Europe and the Middle East over the weekend, but the problem has been resolved. Also, a bitcoin logo appeared on the facade of the Swiss National Bank building in Zurich. Do you want to know who’s behind the idea?

Also read: This Week in Bitcoin: Amazon Wants to Track You and TD Ameritrade Plants a Flag

Telegram Cut Off by a Power Outage in Amsterdam

The messaging platform Telegram, popular with the crypto community, has experienced some issues over the weekend that hindered communication across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Russia and the CIS countries. According to messages posted on social media by its representatives, the interruptions are due to technical reasons. In recent weeks, the company has also faced difficulties following its conflict with Russian regulators. Roskomnadzor has been trying to restrict access to the messenger after its refusal to hand over its decryption keys to security services.

“Massive overheating in one of the Telegram server clusters may cause some connection issues for European users within the next couple of hours,” Telegram’s founder Pavel Durov tweeted on Saturday, apologizing for the inconvenience. “The problem is being solved,” he assured users. In Europe, the glitch was fixed on Sunday. Before that the company posted another tweet with details about the problem. “Repairs are ongoing after a massive power outage in the Amsterdam region that affected many services,” it said. The app was up and running again around noon, Central European Time.

Bitcoin Logo on a Bank’s Facade in Switzerland

A photo shared recently on Twitter shows a huge Bitcoin logo shining on the facade of the Swiss National Bank in Zurich. The picture posted by Johannes Gees was accompanied by the following comment: “Is that a #bitcoin on the @snb […] Trustsquare rules.” Trust Square is a new blockchain hub launched this month. Its offices are right across the street from SNB’s headquarters and it is probably behind the idea to project the logo. The R&D center aims to facilitate the exploration of blockchain applications, the implementation of related business models and the development of blockchain ventures, according to the local Fintechnews. It offers space for 200 workstations for startups, researchers and investors working on various applications of blockchain technology.

Switzerland is considered a crypto-friendly jurisdiction. A number of crypto businesses and blockchain companies are headquartered or represented in the Alpine confederation. It has become one of the first countries to establish a crypto valley, located in the Canton of Zug. The Chinese mining giant Bitmain has opened a branch there, and one of Russia’s largest banks, Gazprombank, has announced plans to test cryptocurrency deals in Switzerland. More recently, a high-ranking representative of the Swiss National Bank took a stance that might have surprised many colleagues. Andrea Maechler, member of the central bank’s governing board, said that private digital currencies were better than any state-issued version. She also thinks decentralized cryptos are less risky.

Blockchain Undertakings

Major Korean companies have turned their attention to blockchain technologies in search of new growth engines for their businesses. Their attempts may change the landscape in the blockchain sector that has been mostly dominated by small startups. The serious financial and human capital controlled by these large corporations may accelerate the development of such technologies.

South Korea’s leading mobile carrier, SK Telecom, has recently announced a plan to launch a new asset management platform powered by blockchain technology, the Korean Times reports. The company hopes to increase customer convenience with the service which would allow users to manage their bank accounts, credit cards and mileage points, as well as cryptocurrency, at the same time. The telecom also intends to launch a project designed to support blockchain startups called “Token Exchange Hub”.

Samsung SDS, the IT branch of Samsung Group, has also targeted the blockchain industry. It has developed a platform that would allow users of mobile devices to gain access to various financial services through encryption of biometric certification information. With Nexledger they will be able to deal with a large number of transactions in real time and utilize a smart contract function that bolsters security and convenience, its developers said.

In Germany, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, Bafin, has authorized the first hybrid fund that will deal with both cryptocurrency and real estate. The Munich-based BITREAL Capital GmbH will operate the BITREAL Real Estate Blockchain Opportunities Fund 1. BREBCO 1 will invest in blockchain technologies through established cryptos and tokens, and also in commercial real estate in the leading regions of Germany. Its operations will be partly financed by bank loans in order to minimize crypto-related investment risks while providing high returns.

Do you think blockchain technologies have a future separate from the cryptocurrencies they were invented for? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Johannes Gees.

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