Daily Archives: August 4, 2018

Brian Kelly Proclaims That Bakkt Is Biggest Crypto News of the Year

Hedge fund manager Brian Kelly, while appearing on CNBC’s Fast Money, has called Intercontinental Exchange’s announcement about its new Bakkt platform as the “biggest news of the year.”

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), recently announced that with the help of technology partner Microsoft, it was planning to launch a new digital asset platform called Bakkt.

ICE also owns 23 exchanges worldwide apart from the NYSE along with many futures exchanges and clearing houses.  Starbucks and Microsoft will be major partners of Bakkt and will begin accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Bakkt is also planning on launching physically-settled Bitcoin futures by November 2018, which would be a mechanism for institutional investors worldwide to easily buy Bitcoin.

Kelly explained his “biggest news of the year” statement after rejecting that ETF would be approved by the SEC this year, suggesting that he’s not actually optimistic on them being approved in 2018, but the speculation surrounding them will maintain investor interest in Bitcoin regardless of the outcome.

He thinks that ICE’s move is better than Bitcoin futures due to its limitations, given that there are “a limited set of people that can trade it… And a lot of people use it for hedging.”

He recently stated that the last Bitcoin price boost following the CNBC announcement was here to stay, only to see the market drop again a week later. When asked if the ICE announcement might have more effect on prices and whether it would meet with success, he responded:

“Oh, yeah! Absolutely! I mean, they are talking about launching in November… They have been working on this in stealth mode for the last 14 months, they have already talked to regulators, they are ready to go.”

He put the lack of market response to “the biggest news of the year” down to time difference and that he expected there would be a response. Bitcoin at the time of writing is $7,473.89 (CMC). He suggested:

“Back in January, Bitcoin would have gone up 20% on this news. So, I think the bear market has just broken people’s spirit, frankly, and so people aren’t really looking for this… A lot of people I talked to today hadn’t seen the news–came out at 08:30 [UTC -04:00]–people hadn’t seen it till 2, 3 in the afternoon. So, the market is still digesting this, and remember most of Bitcoin trading happens in Asia; so, it was released at 08:30 this morning, that’s 09:30, 10:00 at night on a Friday night in Asia. [When] Asia wakes up, you might see this thing pop.”

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Japanese Crypto Exchanges’ Self Regulator Applies for Official Status

The recently formed Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association has applied with the country’s financial regulator to become recognized as the official self-regulatory body representing cryptocurrency in Japan.

The JVCEA comprises of 16 licensed crypto exchanges, who are self-described as security inspectors of Japan’s cryptocurrency exchanges. The association has gone to great lengths to cover all aspects of how exchanges should function, drawing up nearly 1,000 pages of self-regulatory measures. The JVCEA was formed by Japanese crypto exchanges earlier this year in response to a $534 million heist on the Coincheck platform.

The chairman and president of the organization is Taizen Okuyama of Money Partners. Bitflyer CEO Yuzo Kano is the vice chairman, along with Bitbank president Noriyuki Hiroeno. The other two directors are SBI Virtual Currencies’ Yoshitaka Kitao and GMO Coin’s Tomitaka Ishimura. The JVCEA has said in a statement that it hopes to contribute to “the sound development of the virtual currency exchange industry and the protection of the interests of users.”

Its application for certification filed with Japanese Financial Regulator (FSA) will allow it to become what it calls a “certified fund settlement business association,” which will provide “guidance and recommendations to members to comply with regulations, laws and self-regulation rules.”

The JVCEA is not the only Japanese cryptocurrency association, as two others exist; the Japan Blockchain Association (JBA) and the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association (JCBA), and most crypto exchanges are members of one of these organizations.

The JVCEA has already proposed regulations in place which it would hope to make official should the application to become the country’s cryptocurrency representative body be accepted by the FSA. The new rules would affect the way exchanges operate, and according to local news sources, privacy coin listings and insider trading will come under the regulatory microscope.

As suggested before, the JVCEA will enforce their 4 times leverage trading cap limit rule and possibly enforce trading restrictions for both the very young and the elderly. It has been reported that the FSA would be entrusting the new body with “the flexibility to rapidly develop technologies and to combine technological innovation and customer protection.”

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 27th July to 2nd August 2018

North America

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

USA

Morpheus Titania Bitcoin dealer case shows lengths of US law enforcement: Arizona Bitcoin dealer Mario Costanzo working under an alias Morpheus Titania has been sentenced to 41 months in prison for five counts of money laundering and drug trafficking showing the reach of the US law enforcement when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

The case is in stark contrast to the belief that law enforcement has limited means to tackle cryptocurrency related crimes and endeavors. Costanzo’s problems with the law started back in 2015 with a felony conviction for Marijuana possession, a substance illegal in the state. His home was also raided back in April 2017 but no incriminating evidence was found except for three boxes of bullets. An eventual undercover operation led to his damnation and arrest.

Walton College in Arkansas announces blockchain courses: The University of Arkansas is the latest educational institute in USA to offer blockchain educational courses at its Sam M Walton College of Business.

The university is aiming to study the rapidly penetrating technology and is aiming to prepare its students for a decentralized future. Walton College Dean Matt Waller said:

“We will develop and establish research partnerships by conducting collaborative industry-university research, we will promote and enable dissemination of knowledge about blockchains, and we will accelerate industry adoption of blockchain technology.”

The university joins the likes of Stanford, NY University, Berkeley, and other educational centers across USA in provision of blockchain technology education.

Wall Street research organization Fundstrat to accept Bitcoin: Interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies is increasing in Wall Street as a leading independent research organization FundStrat announced that it is going to accept Bitcoin from global clients.

The recent trends from Wall Street show that is that it is very receptive to cryptocurrencies but still figuring out how best to adopt it. Banks like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and others are still considering cryptocurrencies.

Wells Fargo poll shows skepticism still retained by US investors for crypto: Financial services giant Wells Fargo has conducted its own poll that shows that a 72% majority still has a skeptical opinion regarding Bitcoin and don’t wish to buy it. About 75%, on the other hand, believe that cryptocurrencies are very risky.

The poll consisted of 1,912 adults in the US who had more USD 10,000 or more invested in stocks, bonds or mutual funds. Some 26% of the respondents were intrigued by cryptocurrencies but won’t be buying soon and only 2% owned Bitcoin themselves and 0.5% hoped to buy some in the near future.

Morgan Creek Capital CEO says Bitcoin will reach $25,000 by the end of 2018: Morgan Creek Capital CEO Mark W Yusko has said that Bitcoin will probably reach USD 25,000 by the year’s end and as much as USD 500,000 by 2024 and USD 1 million eventually.

While insane price forecasts by people are not based on any data, it reminds people that great future lies ahead for cryptocurrencies according to many top investors in the world.

Trade war could be real reason behind Bitcoin rally: According to CEO of ADVEN Clem Chambers, the devaluation of the Chinese yen and the trade war between the US and China is the reason behind the latest price rally of Bitcoin.

Chambers also compared Bitcoin to gold that people hoard when fiat currencies are down. He also said that Bitcoin is like gold but a lot better in many ways because of its instant transfer capability.

SEC Commissioner says ETF rejection hurts investors, stifles innovation: A Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) commissioner Hester Pierce who voted in favor of ETFs has come out and said that the restrictions on ETFs will hurt innovation and investors in the space.

The ETF case was heard by the SEC that eventually rejected the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust Fund’s ETF in a 92-page document. Pierce who supported the ETFs said:

“The Commission’s action today deprives investors of this choice. I reject the role of gatekeeper of innovation—a role very different from (and, indeed, inconsistent with) our mission of protecting investors, fostering capital formation, and facilitating fair, orderly, and efficient markets. Accordingly, I dissent.”

The divide in SEC is evident but anti-Bitcoin forces seem to be dominant right now.

Mexico

Government to conduct first procurement procedure on blockchain: The Mexican government has announced that a project first started in a Mexican hackathon has now been implemented via a blockchain network.

The move will be a first in the country and will hope to bring transparency in the public sector.

Canada

Bank of Canada restarts debate on implementation of central bank crypto: A new paper published by the Bank of Canada bring forth a positive argument for the implementation of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

The author Mohammad R Davoodalhosseini believes that introduction of a CBDC “can lead to an increase of up to 0.64% in consumption for Canada and up to 1.6% for the US, compared with their respective economies if only cash is used”.

 

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Turkey Joins Current Swell of Global Blockchain Educators with New Centre

Turkey is opening a centre in Istanbul which will run a course aimed at teaching the public about blockchain technology.

The opening of yet another centre aimed at either informing the public or offering further training for blockchain and cryptocurrency professionals may not be surprising given current educational trends, but it is the first in Turkey.

There are now many opportunities for blockchain developers, but clearly not enough skilled technicians to fill these gaps. Toptal, a marketplace for hiring tech talent, recorded a 700% increase in demand for blockchain developers since January 2017. These positions can be well paid. According to Jerry Cuomo, VP of IBM’s Blockchain Technologies division, the best blockchain developers can command a salary above USD 250,000.

There are have been some early starters; institutions offering courses in digital information systems, the blockchain, and cryptocurrency. In the US, the Northeastern University College of Engineering in Boston and George Mason University in Virginia run courses in blockchain technology as part of other Advanced Educational Postgraduate Science programs.  The University of Cape Town now offers a cryptocurrency and fintech elective module as part of its wider Data Science Masters program as well.

In Scotland, the University of Sterling – as part of its Financial Technology Masters program, offers participants a primer to blockchain technology, which includes cryptocurrencies, decentralized applications, smart contracts, their applications and case studies.

This latest centre in Turkey, The Istanbul Blockchain and Innovation Center, or BlockchainIST Center for short, has been created to fill what is regarded as a gap in Turkey’s knowledge of blockchain technology and will be taught at University level. The centre has already been inaugurated at the Bahçeşehir University (BAU) at an opening last week.

Bora Erdamar, the centre’s director has suggested that it will be staffed by highly competent blockchain experts from around the world. She stated:

“…the purpose of the Blockchain IST project is to be the most important centre of research and development and innovation in Turkey in which scientific studies and publications are made in blockchain technologies”.

Turkey is another country that has recently stated its intention to become a blockchain hub.

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Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 27th July to 2nd August 2018

Europe

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

France

Spike in French blockchain interest shows Macron future: French President Emmanuel Macron’s interest in blockchain and cryptosphere seems to have paid off as a sharp spike is being witnessed in the growth of blockchain technology innovations in France.

Under the previous president Francois Hollande’s tenure, whose popularity hit as low as 4% at one time, blockchain development was stagnant but under the young, energetic leadership of President Macron, the French blockchain economy is reaching new heights.

Macron has set his sights on helping France become a fintech trendsetter. The government is also mulling on legislation for ICOs and has heavily reduced cryptocurrency tax rates as well.

United Kingdom

Coinbase gets into primary banking with new support for pound: Coinbase, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has made a change in its system that allows users to deposit and withdraw UK pound sterlings easily.

The previous system had been causing problems for users for having their UK bank linked to the exchange account. The new system will in effect be a first step towards converting the Coinbase account into an “effective primary bank account”. The exchange also used a digital gift card program recently that allowed European users to access cash in other ways than conventional fiat.

Pro football team paid in cryptocurrencies in Gibraltar: A professional football team Gibraltar United in Gibraltar, UK is paying its team in cryptocurrency as the island opens up to the idea of cryptocurrencies.

Gibraltar United’s owner Pablo Dana who is also an investor in the digital currency Quantacoin has said that he hopes it will encourage foreign players to easily set up banking and crypto accounts in Gibraltar and help stamp out corruption that is rampant in the game.

Gibraltar is aiming to lure new and old fintech companies in cryptosphere to its shores. Together with Switzerland and Malta, Gibraltar makes three most progressive places in Europe to adopt cryptocurrencies and blockchain platforms.

Denmark

Copenhagen blockchain school up and running in university: The blockchain school in Copenhagen, Denmark is marking its third year in offering latest blockchain courses for enthusiasts around the world.

The school was initially developed as a partnership between the University of Copenhagen, IT University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen Business School. It describes blockchain as “a revolutionary technology that has the potential to disrupt multiple industries”.

The primary focus of the blockchain schools has been “the design and implementation of blockchain-based systems require interdisciplinary knowledge as well as mindful consideration of broader economic and societal issues”.

The weeklong course was devised by the computer science department of the University of Copenhagen. Dr Omri Ross, Assistant Professor at the University is one of the main driving forces behind the Blockchain programs being offered in the university. Various partnerships in the program reflect the wide-scale application of the program including a recent segment by the World Wildlife Foundation.

Dr Ross explained: “While we do work on Ethereum-based Dapp development we are also collaborating with QTUM’s protocol (they are the second biggest blockchain in China) as well as the protocols of Ontology, Hyperledger, and Firmo.”

Liechtenstein

Fully European legislation compliant crypto exchange to open in Liechtenstein: The first fully compliant cryptocurrency exchange, Blocktrade.com, under latest guidelines from the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is now open for registration in the small European nation of Liechtenstein.

The latest regulations were a string of stringent policies that were the cornerstone of of Anti Money Laundering (AML) and anti-corruption steps taken by the European parliament. The exchange is offering trading in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ripple for now.

CEO of Blocktrade.com Luka Gubo said, “This is an ideal way for regulators across Europe to recognize cryptocurrencies as a new asset class and put in a regulatory framework.”

Cryptocurrency exchanges across the continent are scrambling to become compliant under the latest rules and are currently under a grace period offered by the ESMA.

 

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Andreas Brekken’s Experience Running the Biggest Lightning Node

Andreas Brekken, the operator of shitcoin.com, decided to review the Bitcoin Lightning Network by creating the largest node on the network. The Bitcoin Lightning Network is supposed to be a scaling solution for Bitcoin since it facilitates instant payments with very low fees. Andreas Brekken wanted to find out first hand how practical it is to use the Lightning Network instead of using the Bitcoin blockchain.

First Andreas Brekken, set up a Lightning Network node, which required setting up a full Bitcoin Core node. This process is very complex and quite difficult for inexperienced users. There is software available to make it easier to use the  Lightning Network, but since the Lightning Network is still somewhat in a beta even relatively easier software requires technical knowledge. Setting up the Lightning Network node required further effort that was just as complex.

The Lightning Network had a capacity of 20 Bitcoins (USD 130,000), when Andreas Brekken started his experiment. He then deposited a large amount of Bitcoin and became the largest Lightning Network node. Soon his node exceeded 40 Bitcoin capacity with 250 active channels. There were some centralization fears from his experiment, but he ran the node responsibly and there were no problems. Running the node required lots of work and constant checking, and there were some errors which took him many hours to figure out.

Lightning Network nodes get paid for their services; Andreas Brekken did the math and found he got USD 0.001 for each transaction. This illustrates how Lightning Network has very low fees compared to Bitcoin, which often has fees of USD 1 or more during high traffic times. However, it also illustrates how there is little incentive to run a Lightning Network node. During his entire experiment, Andreas Brekken profited less than 1 USD from transaction fees despite being the biggest node and having over USD 100,000 locked up in his Lightning Network node.

While Andreas Brekken was running his node he experimented with buying things using the Lightning Network. Practically everything he tried to buy resulted in errors along the way. He tried to buy a hoodie with the Lightning Network, and despite having the biggest node there was apparently no way to route to the store selling the hoodie. He tried a different Lightning Network wallet and that didn’t work, and he gave up. Bitcoin works 100% of the time when connected to the internet and paying a proper transaction fee, while Lightning Network seems to fail most of the time even for someone with good technical knowledge.

Andreas Brekken had enough of the experiment since there were more costs to run the node then profits from maintaining the network, and he shut his node down. This indicates that the Lightning Network could have a hard time gaining widespread adoption since there’s no incentive for big players to run a node. Shutting down the node was somewhat difficult, since there were hundreds of channels connected to his node which he had to individually shut down. Some of these channels had people who were offline, so he couldn’t shut them down quickly. If one side of a channel is offline and the node closes down, then the node has to wait a period of time before they get their Bitcoins back as a safety measure. This waiting time can be up to 2 weeks, meaning the node operator won’t get their money back for 2 weeks. For someone like Andreas Brekken who has a large sum of money this might not be a big deal, but for a normal person, it could really cause them trouble.

Overall, Andreas Brekken’s experiment seems to have illustrated how Bitcoin’s Lightning Network is in beta and needs plenty of improvement before it can be implemented as a scalability solution. There is a team of developers working with the Lightning Network though, and eventually, it should be a real scalability solution. Things are not that urgent now anyways regarding Bitcoin scalability since SegWit has increased block size and is acting as a temporary Bitcoin scalability solution. Hopefully, by the time Bitcoin scalability becomes a serious problem again the Lightning Network will be ready.

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Citigroup Reportedly Eyeing Crypto Products

It appears that US banking giant Citigroup is looking into crypto products, according to an insider at the bank.

In April, an initial expression of interest was expressed by the group through a report entitled ‘Bank of the Future: The ABCs of Digital Disruption in Finance’, suggesting in the report that in the future banks will need “senior leadership teams to be focused on digital transformation” for their future well-being.

Although this is rather a broad statement, a contact at the bank has reportedly come forward and suggested that things have moved on since that statement, saying that Citibank “has moved beyond thinking about crypto” and now wants to look at it terms of a consumer product.

The current debate, particularly among major Wall Street financial institutions, is whether to take a wholehearted plunge into cryptocurrency and some are now dabbling around the futures market to see how it pans out. This kind of toe-dipping is mainly driven by customer pressure, whilst the banks continue to deal with the world outside which is still driven largely by apprehension and skepticism when it comes to cryptocurrency.

Such concerns reportedly led to Citibank’s Head of Consumer Crypto Asset Innovation title removed from her LinkedIn page for just that guilt by association scenario.

Although Citigroup has not confirmed the suggestion that it is considering moving down the crypto road, it has signed up for IBM’s trial blockchain project with USD 5 trillion a day foreign exchange settlement provider CLS.

There may be a suggestion of a hint in the recent 128-page Citigroup report though. It lists use cases for smart contracts, is also pro-Ripple and suggests that Bitcoin isn’t losing steam but banks may well be under some pressure.

Wednesday’s US Treasury Department statement that cryptocurrencies are “poised to impact innovation in financial services”, may well give some credibility to Citibank’s plans if they turn out to be a credible reflection of the company’s future direction.

 

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 27th July to 2nd August 2018

Asia and Australia

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

South Korea

Exchanges could lose SME tax relief: South Korean exchanges could lose tax relief for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

A new draft bill in the South Korean National Assembly may set the course for the abolition of the tax waiver that gave tax exemptions to small businesses from 50% to 100% on income or corporate tax in the first five years of operations.

Under the new revised laws, cryptocurrency exchanges could become financial institutions, causing them to fall under the jurisdiction of Financial Services Commission (FSC).

Philippines

Securities and exchange commission releases draft of ICO regulations: The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has released a draft of regulatory guidelines that would be consulted by the government before passing any laws.

The proposed regulation requires startups and companies file applications with the SEC entailing future function of tokens and business operation of the company. The applications will need to be made within 90 days of the commencement of the token pre-sale.

The new move is seen as a way to stop illicit ICOs operating in the country.

China

Xiong’an City set to pilot Dream City Initiative between government and ConsenSys: In a first, the Chinese city of Xiong’an will pilot a new program that will transform the city into a “dream city”. The project is a collaboration between crypto platform ConsenSys and the Chinese government and backed by President Xi Jinping himself.

Urban development in China in the last three decades has been massive and new cities have been developed just to address the increasing need for mega cities in the country. The dream city move will see the city become a leading tech hub for the country.

According to Joseph Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum and Founder of ConsenSys:

“As one of our first major projects in the People’s Republic of China, we are excited to help define the many “use cases” that could benefit from the trust infrastructure enabled by Ethereum technology.”

The move will see the first time that a foreign crypto platform has been tasked with developing infrastructure in the country.

Hong Kong

23% of Hong Kong residents willing to invest in crypto: A survey conducted by the Hong Kong Blockchain Association (HKBA) has shown that around 23% of Hong Kong residents are considering to invest in cryptocurrencies.

The survey also revealed that a majority of the population had concerns regarding the cryptocurrencies including its mechanism but was willing to give them a chance because they were new.

Vietnam

Crypto mining farm found abandoned, investors missing $35M: A Vietnamese crypto mining farm owner has reportedly absconded with over USD 35 million of investor funds.

The Sky Mining Business offered investors a chance to buy shares of the coin mining company hardware and earn profit in Bitcoin. The packages included a one-time payment between USD 100 to USD 500 as well as personal use of mining device for up to ten months.

The CEO, however, had other plans as he is AWOL right now and none of the hardware and investment can be tracked down as of now. The Vietnamese authorities are in hot pursuit.

Thailand

Movie theater to accept crypto as government opens doors: The largest Thai movie theater chain, Major Cineplex, is now accepting cryptocurrency payments.

There are 143 theaters under the Thai chain right now, the largest one being the Paragon Cineplex in Bangkok. The company also has a presence in neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia.

The move was allowed by the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that is proactive in allowing cryptocurrency use in the country.

Pakistan

Economic woes could increase crypto usage: Economic woes in the country could increase cryptocurrency adoption in the country as Localbitcoins.com traffic also experienced an uptick during the recent devaluing of the national currency.

Pakistan endured a grueling political campaign this year and the shortage of foreign currency such as US dollars could spell an increase in adoption of cryptocurrencies in the near future.

Australia

17 tons of almond exported to Germany using blockchain: The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has said that the country has successfully exported 17 tons of almonds from Sunraysia to Hamburg, Germany using a newly implemented Blockchain platform for trading.

A live trial of the blockchain technology-based system was conducted by the CBA in a first. The managing director of Industrial and Logistics at CBA said:

“Our blockchain-enabled global trade platform experiment brought to life the idea of a modern global supply chain that is agile, efficient and transparent. We believe that blockchain can help our partners reduce the burden of administration on their businesses and enable them to deliver best-in-class services to their customers.”

 

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Popular Crypto Travel Company Gets Boost from Queensland Government

Australian crypto travel company TravelbyBit has just been awarded a grant from the Queensland state government of AUD 100,000.

The company has a hand in numerous projects throughout Australia’s travel and tourism industry as becoming well known across the nation for the supportive role it has taken in promoting using digital currency for travel.

TravelbyBit CEO Caleb Yeoh said it was early days for crypto, and that there was strong support for it as a “social movement”. The company currently supports many new crypto enterprises in the hospitality industry including the new crypto project with Queensland’s International Airport retailers, which is off to a slow start with just a handful of transactions in the airport each day so far, worth between USD 5 and USD 55.

No project is too small for the company as it designs tourist routes within Australia and offers selected providers with their own TravelbyBit digital currency payment platform. The company allows customers to pay in a digital currency of their choice.

Queensland Innovation minister Kate Jones commented on the importance of Australia’s tourism industry both at State and Federal levels:

“Tourism is one of Queensland’s most important industries… TravelbyBit has devised a clever way to make it easier for visitors to our state to pay for their purchases with a growing number of local businesses accepting cryptocurrency payments.”

The crypto travel specialist is one of 70 companies that are to receive the state government s grant of AUS 8.3 million and hopes that the funds that TravelbyBit receive will help them to scale up its current operations.

Yeoh says that now 150 merchants across the country have tapped into Bitcoin payments through his company and says he is now targeting a different type of traveler:

“With this next phase of technology, we are targeting a different brand of tourist – the tech-savvy travellers from anywhere in the world who are looking to book their travel experiences ahead of their trip and use digital currency to pay for their travels.”

TravelbyBit currently accepts BTC, ETH, XEM and plans to accept BNB in the future.

 

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GDPR May Stifle Blockchain Innovation, Finds EU Report

The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum has released a report warning that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws instated by the European Union (EU) earlier this year may prevent effective blockchain innovation taking place.

The Blockchain Innovation in Europe report cites a lack of clarity in the legal framework regarding personal data and blockchain technology as a major issue for entrepreneurs and developers working in the EU. The report states that it “can put a brake on innovation”.

Friction between GDPR and blockchain

One of the crucial issues discussed is the incompatibility with a decentralized blockchain network to erase person data, with GDPR giving citizens the right to have their information erased upon their request. To enforce these right, GDPR requires a central authority to be held accountable, something lacking in the structural nature of a decentralized blockchain network.

Permissionless blockchains can also not be guaranteed to comply with GDPR restrictions that require data to only be transferred to third parties outside of the EU who offer equal data protection regulations.

Thus, applications built on a blockchain are being threatened by unclear laws regulating them.

A need to update GDPR?

The report claims that these conflicts are not addressed because during the time GDPR policies were being constructed, blockchain was not as popular with developers, nor nearly as well known and utilized as it is now. This means that the laws were written with an implicit assumption any database would operate with a centralized authority for processing data.

However, the investigatory review does claim that blockchain could in the future evolve to become key in promoting data sovereignty and the further goals of GDPR. With more research and development, blockchain could theoretically have compliance supported in the code of platforms and applications.

For now though, with hope, the report will influence EU lawmakers to clarify what is required from blockchain developers to prevent the industry from moving out of the union.

 

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