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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 18th to 24th May 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.

United States

Department of Justice opens investigations into Bitcoin price manipulations: The US Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into the currency manipulation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The DOJ’s notable concern was that the volatility of the market comes with a suspected potential for investors and traders to influence price in their favor. In addition to price manipulation, DOJ is also looking at fraudulent activity due to lack of regulation.

Former Obama advisor attacked with anti-Bitcoin adverts: Ex-Obama advisor Brian Forde is being attacked for accepting donations in Bitcoin by Dave Min, a rival Democrat competing for a seat in the House of Representatives. The move comes despite the Federal Election Commission ruling that allowed donations to be received in Bitcoin.

The ad targeted Forde for being associated with hackers and malicious activities. In response, Forde said:

“These comments about my supporters are sensationalist, wildly inaccurate, and in line with my opponent’s lack of understanding of the technology… If they were speculating, they wouldn’t have donated to my campaign in Bitcoin. They didn’t HODL, they donated to my campaign in Bitcoin because they believe in the technology.”

Bitcoin Pizza transaction now worth $80 million: The Laszlo Hanyecz story is a legend in Bitcoin world as the person purchased two large pizzas in 2010 with BTC 10,000. Now, after eight years, the Bitcoins are worth USD 80 million and increasing every year.

The legendary story is seen as a missed opportunity for HODL and the first instance in which a major company accepted payment in Bitcoin. Hanyecz had mined the Bitcoins on his personal computer. On 23 May or Bitcoin Pizza Day, the crypto world looks back at how far it has come from BTC 10,000 for two large pizza eras.

Walmart integrating blockchain to Help with Sales: American retail giant Walmart has filed a patent for an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a sales platform that uses blockchain technology. The platform was designed by Donald R High, Michael D Atchley, and Chandrashekar Natarajan.

This is a big milestone for the future development of blockchain startups as Walmart is one of the biggest companies in the world with 11,700 stores in 28 countries. The application allows users to re-sell products from Walmart using blockchain as proof of authenticity.

Federal Trade Commission holds workshop for ICO Scams: The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will host a cryptocurrency workshop to address the considerable challenges that ICOs pose for investor security because of the possibility of scams. The conference called Decrypting Cryptocurrency Scams will comprise law enforcement, research organizations and consumer groups in the space.

The conference will allow the FTC to make new protections for consumers in the future by getting their feedback.

Warren Buffet taunted for his anti-Bitcoin views: Warren Buffet’s anti-Bitcoin views are universally disliked in the cryptocurrency space and Genesis Mining, a mining company purchased a billboard sign right outside his office to taunt him on his views on Bitcoin.

It reads: “Warren: you said you were wrong about Google and Amazon. Maybe you’re wrong about Bitcoin?”

Buffet’s dislike for new tech is obvious but he is the third richest man in the world due to his successful investments in conventional enterprises including banking and stocks.

Only 5 companies holding BitLicense in New York: New York’s notorious BitLicense has resulted in only five cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the city. The grand total only got to five recently when the New York Department of Financial Services gave a new license to Genesis Global Trading Inc.

Stringent BitLicense policies include AML, KYC, anti-fraud and cyber security measures but it is widely seen as a roadblock for further development of cryptocurrencies.

Canada

Unlicensed crypto trader jailed: An unlicensed Canadian crypto trader was jailed in the US after admitting undercover federal agents that he was trading in Bitcoin.

Louis Ong, a trader from Vancouver has received a 20-day sentence in the US after running an unlicensed cryptocurrency trading platform. Ong also had to forfeit over USD 1.1 million worth of Bitcoin to the investigators and was given three years of supervised release.

Ong claims that it wasn’t his intention to break the law and most of the trading he did was on legal channels.

Sweeping operation launched by US and Canada: US and Canadian governments launched investigations into 70 suspect ICOs and cryptocurrency scams in a wide-ranging operation called ‘Crypto Sweep’.

The operation by the combined North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) was termed only as “the tip of the iceberg” by the association by the president Joseph Borg.

Marshall Islands

Government breaks away from US Dollar and launches crypto: The Marshall Islands are looking to break away from the US Dollar and launch their own cryptocurrency called Sovereign.

The tiny Pacific nation is in free association with the US but is now looking for greater economic independence. The government has already signed the move into a new law.

 

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