Category Archives: Blockchain

Auto Added by WPeMatico

Bank of China to Use Blockchain to Aid 330,000 Tibetans in Poverty

The Bank of China will make use of blockchain technology to assist in the management of a poverty alleviation program in Tibet seeking to assist some 330,000 Tibetans living in poverty.

At a recent conference of the Tibetan Branch of the Bank of China (BOC), it was announced that government would use blockchain technology to support the poverty reduction program in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). The state-owned BOC is often closely linked to government policy. It is one of the big four commercial banks in the Chinese financial sector.

While the Chinese government has mandated that ICOs and cryptocurrency exchanges are no longer allowed in China, the use of blockchain technology has continued to experience substantial growth in government activities. Central Bank of China also launched a blockchain registry open platform in March.

The Chinese government has shown a long-term commitment to poverty reduction programs across China. In 2016, the President Xi Jinping announced that the government would eliminate residual poverty from all the provinces, by 2020. The TAR has a high poverty rate of over 12%, while the national average is much lower to 3.1%. There are many challenges with the environment in Tibet. The majority of people are living on a plateau which is over 4,000 meters above sea level.

The BOC has already been working on this in the TAR. The bank introduced a cloud-based system for managing activities associated with the poverty reduction fund, including providing secure access to information and certification processes. As part of its responsibility, the BOC team had committed to exploring cutting-edge technologies for supporting poverty fund management.

Blockchain technology has demonstrated its value in a range of applications mainly related to government and financial administration activity. The blockchain system will provide assistance in facilitating the activity for the poverty alleviation program. This includes management of funding applications, documentation and verification of project details, and allocation of funds to activities.

The BOC indicated that benefits of using the blockchain technology are the traceability of the transactions, the accuracy of the stored data, the precision of funds allocation, and improvements in the efficiency of program management.

The BOC also stated that if the trial is successful in the TAR, then it could be possible to use blockchain technology for supporting poverty reduction programs in other provinces.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bitcoinnewscom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com at https://t.me/bconews

The post Bank of China to Use Blockchain to Aid 330,000 Tibetans in Poverty appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Bank of Spain’s Governor Calls Crypto “Spurious Novelties” but Govt Sees Potential

Luis Maria Linde, Banco de Espana governor, said in a recent speech that cryptocurrencies presented more risk than they did benefits, although blockchain technology could improve efficiency and costs, according to Coindesk.

The comments made during a recent speech organized by multinational professional services firm Deloitte referred to cryptocurrency tokens as “those spurious novelties that do not provide significant improvements and that should be tackled as soon as possible”.

Spain’s stance on cryptocurrency is heavily nuanced towards regulation. A recent investigation implemented by the National Office of Fraud Investigation (ONIF) has passed data on the Spanish Treasury which will attempt to enforce new requirements regarding cryptocurrency payments, writes the Daily Express.

Under the plan, 16 financial institutions based in Spain will be required to pass on their information to the ONIF in relation to overseas accounts.

In his speech, Linde did concede that digitalization could offer interesting possibilities as could blockchain technology, providing that underlying technology is “well used and managed”. However, he signaled that:

“….the move to a more digital economy is accompanied by greater cyber threats and it is necessary to develop new measures to protect processes, assets and customer data.”

Like countless other countries at present, the Spanish government is continually referring back to the misuse of cryptocurrency such as organized crime and fraud and regulating in order to address the issues, often ignoring the underlying advantages. In Spain, this is very much the case and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are not recognized as legal tender.

However, of late, despite the comments of Governor Linde regarding cryptocurrency, there have been attempts to create more flexibility in the space, including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s consideration of possible tax breaks to attract blockchain investments. Registered funds can now theoretically invest in cryptocurrency under law 22/2014 passed by Spain’s National Securities Market Commission (CNMV – Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores).

According to lawmaker Teodoro Garcia Egea, it is in Spain’s national interest to attract blockchain companies to the country, as they can inject new life into areas such as health, finance, and education, writes UTB.

Rajoy’s Peoples Party is now considering government regulations which will enable businesses to use blockchain technology and carry out coin offerings in the light of its benefits to these areas.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bitcoinnewscom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com at https://t.me/bconews

The post Bank of Spain’s Governor Calls Crypto “Spurious Novelties” but Govt Sees Potential appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

James Rodriguez Launches JR10 Coin in Wave of Superstar Crypto Endorsements

James Rodriguez, an icon of Colombian football commonly known as James, has announced that he is partnering with SelfSell to launch his own crypto token called the JR10, reports USA Today.

The launch of the JR token, so named after his number 10 position in the Columbian squad, will elevate him to being the first active international player to move into crypto space through the launching of his own asset.

In next month’s World Cup in Russia, James, who also plays for German club Bayern München, will lead a Columbian squad competing against group members Japan, Senegal, and Poland.

Rodriguez is not the first footballer to embrace the blockchain space following Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi’s recent affiliation with Sirin Labs who have marketed a blockchain smartphone with the superstar’s endorsement. Michael Owen, ex Liverpool and England International, also recently unveiled his merchandising, Owen Coin, supported by the Singapore-based Global Crypto Offering Exchange (GCOX).

The exchange scored another coup in March, this time signing a boxer to promote the exchange. Philippines Senator, Manny Pacquiao, better known for being the only eight-division world boxing champion, invested in the company which specializes in allowing celebrities to create their own digital currencies.

Sportsmen joining other crypto-crazy celebrities dipping their toes into fintech water include Jamie Foxx, Paris Hilton, football superstar Luis Suarez, rapper The Game, and stand-up comedian Kevin Hart and Canadian two-time speed skating world record holder Ted-Jan Bloemen who became the first cryptocurrency-sponsored athlete, according to Cryptovest.

The most notable event this year was American Boxer Floyd Mayweather’s endorsement of blockchain firm Stox to 16 million Instagram followers raising USD 33 million in 34 hours. This resulted in charges being made against the company by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over allegations that the (ICO) was a fraudulent activity.

Rodriguez claimed that he will be involved in a range of activities following the launch including interacting with his fans, suggesting that the coin can be used to “become a new engine to grow the global football market”.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bitcoinnewscom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com at https://t.me/bconews

The post James Rodriguez Launches JR10 Coin in Wave of Superstar Crypto Endorsements appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

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.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bitcoinnewscom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com at https://t.me/bconews

The post North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 18th to 24th May 2018 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

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

European Union

EU privacy laws shut down PICOPs amid radical changes adopted by other companies: The new stringent Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the EU is causing problems to many blockchain startups operating in the 28-member economic union with the Parity ICO Passport Services (PICOPS) startup shut down following its failure to comply with the new rules. GDPR’s right to delete data was cited as the breaking point for PICOPS as the conflict arose with blockchain’s immutability.

PICOPS in a statement said: “Because of this, the significant resources required to make PICOPS GDPR-compliant, and the fact that PICOPS is not part of our core technology stack, we have decided to discontinue the service despite overwhelming market needs and demand.”

Other blockchain companies are also rapidly making changes to their platform with LocalBitcoins’s latest changes in terms of services to come into effect after 25 May 2018.

Small business focus by EU blockchain committee: EU parliament members voted to recommend blockchain payment systems to small businesses throughout the continent, according to Coindesk.

While the committee fell short of recommending cryptocurrencies, it did suggest non-monetary uses including specifying data controls, and supply chain management, that will make small businesses operations cost-effective.

Eva Kaili, a committee member said: “Today the Industry Committee voted univocally in favor of a forward-looking technology that we expect to change the quality of our life, empower SMEs and improve business models in most industrial sectors… and we aspire to make EU the global leader in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

England

London mosque starts accepting ETH donations: A London mosque belonging to Turkish Cypriot Muslims have announced the acceptance of donations in ETH, according to London’s Hackney Gazette. The leaders made the decision to accept cryptocurrency for Zakat, a mandatory part of Muslim faith that requires 2.5% of followers’ wealth to be donated to charity.

The mosque is expecting more than EUR 10,000 in donations throughout the current Ramazan month.

Cryptoassets task force makes positive start: The UK government’s task force on cryptocurrencies met for the very first time on 21 May as part of the country’s efforts to regulate cryptocurrencies. The task force includes members from the national bank, financial watchdog Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and UK Treasury.

The task force’s overall initial attitude seems tolerant as the members acknowledged the use of cryptocurrencies and their utility while at the same time focusing on the issues they bring. UK is currently a sizeable force in the blockchain community.

Spain

Government opens legal doors for crypto investment: The Spanish National Securities Market Commission or Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV) has recently announced that investment funds could now invest and trade in Bitcoin in the country. The move opens more Blockchain companies to move to Spain and the statement was within the Q&A document for fintech companies previously and the CNMV said:

“This type of funds would have a legal place in Law 22/2014, which regulates, in addition to venture capital entities, other collective investment entities of closed type and their management entities.”

But, the CNMV will have to comply with European standards and since there are none, the investment companies can have a benefit in the country as they will have legal cover.

Poland

Government suspends crypto tax collection following popular demand: The Polish government has softened its stance on cryptocurrencies by suspending tax collection on cryptocurrencies, according to Cointelegraph.

The Eastern European nation had just recently heavily taxed the cryptocurrency earnings in the country but following public outcry, the government was forced to make changes to the cryptocurrency regulation.

Switzerland

Switzerland ranked as most crypto-friendly European nation: Switzerland has once again come on top of the rankings in the most crypto-friendly countries in Europe, according to a recent study based on Europe. Gibraltar and Malta also ranked favorably.

A total of 48 European countries and territories were examined in the study for the regulations in place for ICOs, cryptocurrencies as payment services and crypto taxation approach. Switzerland came out on top in all countries. Gibraltar came in second followed by Malta.

Government mulling over e-Franc crypto: Swiss government is following up on its pro-blockchain status by considering the establishment of a cryptocurrency named e-franc, according to a report by the Reuters. A study has been requested by the government and the currency will just use blockchain technology for transparency and record-keeping.

Norway

Norway joins central bank queue on crypto: The Norwegian government is looking to launch its own state cryptocurrency, according to latest reports by CoinTelegraph. An official document has been released by the government and shows that the Norwegian government is keeping up with the current trends of central banks looking into state-backed national cryptocurrencies.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bitcoinnewscom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com at https://t.me/bconews

The post Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 18th to 24th May 2018 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 18th to 24th May 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.

China

China arrests 98, recovers $266 million in OneCoin Ponzi: Chinese government machinery in the ZhuZhou County Protectorate has arrested 98 culprits involved in the infamous OneCoin cryptocurrency pyramid scheme and recovered a total of USD 266 million in crypto. If proven accurate, this could be the single biggest cryptocurrency seizure in history, with the current biggest episode being Finland’s with BTC 2,000 (USD 8 million) recovered from fraudulent activities.

OneCoin had over 2 million registered accounts in China in 20 different provinces. More than CNY 15 billion (Chinese yuan) was reportedly invested in the project.

Chinese central TV warns against Bitcoin investment: Chinese state-controlled China Central TV has discouraged investors in investing cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin in a news story this week.

The news report titled ‘Blockchain Cryptocurrency Bubble Accumulates’ (区块链”代币泡沫堆积) is part of many similar pieces covered by the government to fend off public interest in Bitcoin.

India

CoinSecure closes after losing all its BTC: Indian cryptocurrency exchange CoinSecure is still closed with a hack reported in the exchange on 9 April that led to over BTC 438 being stolen by hackers, equivalent to around USD 3.3 million at the time.

The company still remains locked up and distribution of funds may take place according to latest reports. As of this week, a ratio of 90% INR (Indian rupee) and 10% in BTC is being reported.

Government may implement crypto taxes: Crypto-skeptic Indian regulators will reportedly apply GST on cryptocurrency trading according to latest news from Bloomberg India. As much as 18% is being reported by the government sources and could see the cryptocurrencies labelled as “tangible goods”.

The proposal is being developed by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs. The move follows the Central Bank’s ban on cryptocurrency exchange accounts registered in local banks.

Singapore

Central bank to revamp regulations for blockchain industries: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has drafted a consultation paper that includes proposals for changing existing cryptocurrency regulations, according to latest reports from the Southeast Asian nation.

The move will see a complete revamp of the regulations and is widely seen as enabling more blockchain companies to come and invest in the country. The report comes in the backdrop of a government-MAS preparation to launch blockchain-based inter-bank payment system.

South Korea

Seoul mayor reiterates support for local crypto ahead of elections: Mayor Park Won-Soon has doubled down on his proposal to introduce a native cryptocurrency in the capital city of Seoul in his bold plans of becoming a smart city ahead of his re-election campaign.

Park had highlighted six sectors that his city could improve drastically including Internet of Things, AI, big data and bio-health.

Government reviews, softens crypto regulations to meet G20 unified regulation: The South Korean government is revising its earlier hardline stance on cryptocurrency regulation following the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. The summit acknowledged cryptocurrencies as “financial assets”  and heralded them to usher in a new age of development in economy.

South Korean government is now softening its policies according to the G20 summit and are set to dole out “unified regulations for cryptocurrencies”.

Japan

MUFG Bank partners with Akamai for crypto payment: Japan’s largest bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) has announced that it is partnering with US-based Akamai to work on a global payment network service. The service will reportedly become fully functional by 2019 and will enable IOT-based payments and other emerging technologies.

According to a press release from the bank:

“MUFG and Akamai, using Akamai’s globally deployed high-speed and high-security platform, will utilize this new blockchain’s high-speed processing and secure value transfer abilities to promote pay-per-use, micropayments, and other new IoT generation payment methods, and to support the diverse payment options of the sharing economy by offering an open platform,.”

Thailand

Thai regulators clarify crypto stance: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Thailand has made some clarifications regarding cryptocurrency and blockchain regulations while hosting a focus group on the matter. The SEC presented its present and future approaches in a Facebook Live session regarding ICOs and crypto-related enterprises.

The move will see KYC and AML standards adopted for new blockchain projects and ICOs.

Australia

Government considering blockchain for services and welfare payments: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has asked the state Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) to research blockchain and see how it could be used to improve government services including welfare payments.

A preliminary budget of AUD 700,000 has been earmarked for the initiative into blockchain technology. DTA Chief Digital Officer Peter Alexander said: “The Prime Minister, in fact, wrote to our minister and asked us to have a look at blockchain, which evolved into this particular piece of work.”

The move will focus on how government can leverage the new technology to improve governance.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bitcoinnewscom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com at https://t.me/bconews

The post Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 18th to 24th May 2018 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

South America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 18th to 24th May 2018

South 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.

Brazil

Regulator sees Bitcoin regulation as premature: Brazil’s securities authority CVM is now viewing cryptocurrency regulation as premature, according to latest reports by BN Americas. According to the regulator, the number of transactions is still low and the authorities will look into it once it crosses a certain barrier.

Brazil’s love-hate relationship with cryptocurrencies is evident as trading was banned back in January but the ban was subsequently lifted.

Argentina

Bank ditches SWIFT for Bitcoin on international payments: An Argentinian bank becomes one of the world’s first banks to announce that it is dropping the SWIFT system in favor of Bitcoin transfer for international remittances.

Banco Masventas (BMV) has been looking into the cryptocurrency scene for some time and has teamed up with local cryptocurrency fintech startup Bitex to set up a service that will make things safer and practical according to the bank’s statement.

One of the biggest developments is that the bank’s Bitcoin preference will remove the need for SWIFT, a clearing network that has seen various security issues and fraudulent activities around the world in recent years. The BMV’s alternative will have the option to send money to 50 countries and the payment timeframe is reduced to 24 hours.

According to the BMVbank’s Chief Marketing Officer Manuel Beaudroit: “The customers will ask the bank to do an international payment, and the bank uses Bitex as a provider. For the customer, it’s transparent, they don’t touch, they don’t see the Bitcoin. We are a provider for them, and they are not touching Bitcoin.”

The successful working of this platform will usher in a revolution around the world in international payments and will reduce the monopoly of the SWIFT system and US Dollar.

Chile

Central bank considering crypto regulations: The Chilean Central Bank’s president Mario Marcel has announced that he is in favor of developing a regulatory apparatus for monitoring cryptocurrencies and their trading.

Marcel said this statement in a forum recently held by the Chile’s Finance Commission of Deputies. He indicated that the development of this apparatus is necessary to regulate and monitor cryptocurrencies in the country.

Right now, cryptocurrency trading is largely unregulated in the South American country and aren’t recognized by the government as a legal tender.

Venezuela

Petro given boost after President Maduro’s win: Venezuela’s controversial cryptocurrency Petro was handed a big boost as its leading advocate and founder President Nicholas Maduro won the presidential campaign and retained his seat. The move will keep him in power for the next six years which is seen as enough time to deploy Maduro’s brainchild, the Petro cryptocurrency.

The 55-year-old won the election with a controversial 67.17% of the total vote and the election was marred by irregularities but Petro will see increased focus in the near future as the president sees the currency as a solution to Venezuela’s dangerous hyperinflation figures that are seeing thousands fleeing the country.

The Petro is also widely seen as a move by Russia to circumnavigate US sanctions on these two nations. The American government banned the trading of Petro and since then, the currency’s progress has gathered steam with Russia toying with the idea of using the cryptocurrency to pay for oil.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bitcoinnewscom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com at https://t.me/bconews

The post South America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 18th to 24th May 2018 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 18th to 24th May 2018

Africa and the Middle East

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 Africa

Public to face probes if they buy crypto from offshore exchanges: The South African Reserve Bank has issued latest guidance regarding buying and selling of cryptocurrencies in the country, according to latest instructions coming from the central bank. The bank doesn’t have a direct role in controlling cryptocurrencies in the country, but is issuing regulatory guidances on purchasing and selling of cryptocurrencies from foreign exchanges.

South African crypto investors are directed to purchase cryptocurrencies only from their discretionary allowance of  SAR 1 million or individual foreign investment of SAR 10 million per year. Companies are also banned from purchasing cryptocurrencies from the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) dispensation in the country.

The move will create further problems for cryptocurrency trading in the country but it is yet unclear how many South Africans actually use foreign exchange for buying cryptocurrencies.

First Bitcoin ATM opens in South Africa: The first Bitcoin ATM has been opened in South Africa by Northwold Spar in Johannesburg. While there have been other cryptocurrency ATMs in the country before, this one is the first fully functioning crypto ATM currently functional in the country.

George Neophytou, the GM of Northwold Spar said: “It is all awfully exciting. It will take away much the frustration of buying and selling cryptocurrency, and hopefully help make cryptocurrencies mainstream… It’s a different world there. Walking around in the streets of Germany you see signs with ‘Bitcoins accepted here’.”

Recent surveys in South Africa have shown that 25% of South Africans plan to invest in cryptocurrencies in the future and 15% said they would invest in mining equipment.

Kidnappers demand ransom in Bitcoin for abducted South African child: In a first, a 13-year old boy named Katlego Marite was abducted by kidnappers in Witbank, South Africa. The kidnappers left a note with a Bitcoin address at the scene and instructions to deposit the ransom if the parents wanted to see their child alive again.

The ransom was worth around USD 120,000 and is said to be the first known case of Bitcoin ransom in the country. It is unclear why the boy was specifically targeted. The parents had no idea what Bitcoin was and the case is currently under investigation by the police. The boy was recovered on 24 May.

Zimbabwe

Exchange sues Central Bank for banning crypto trading: In reaction to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe banning cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency exchange Golix has challenged the ban in the country’s top court citing the ban was illegal.

Golix is one of the three cryptocurrency exchanges active in the country and the lawsuit argues that the reserve bank has no authority to ban cryptocurrency since it requires legislation from the parliament to do so. The lawsuit goes on to claim that the bank has failed to manage its own currency and thus, it shouldn’t be forcing anybody else in trading.

Zimbabwe’s triple-digit inflation is believed to be caused by the currency mismanagement from the Reserve Bank and it will be interesting to see how the court responds to this request. Banks were prohibited in dealing with cryptocurrency exchange accounts although a 60-day grace period is still going on.

Ethiopia

Government signs deal with Cardano to introduce blockchain in agriculture: Ethiopia has become the latest African nation joining the blockchain revolution with the ministry of science and technology signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the CEO of Cardano Charles Hoskinson. The partnership will allow Cardano’s platform to be used for improving the domestic agriculture in the country.

While MOUs don’t have any obligatory standing, it is deemed as a positive development in the country.

Syria

WFP blockchain food vouchers reach 100,000 Syrian refugees: The World Food Programme (WFP) has announced that its cryptocurrency-enabled food vouchers have served more than 100,000 Syrian refugees currently residing in Jordan, according to Rightsinfo.

WFP is currently engaged in distributing food among the refugees who have fled a bloody civil war in the country that has been raging for six years leaving hundreds of thousands dead and tens of millions refugees.

The UN is partnering with IBM through the WFP to use Blockchain for recording transactions in a safe manner.

Robert Opp, the director of Innovation at WFP said: “Blockchain technology allows us to step up the fight against hunger. Through blockchain, we aim to cut payment costs, better protect beneficiary data, control financial risks, and respond more rapidly in the wake of emergencies… using blockchain can be a qualitative leap, not only for WFP, but for the entire humanitarian community.”

In addition to this program, WFP is also using other localized blockchain projects around the world.

Israel

BTC 1,000 seized in money laundering case: Israeli Cybercrime division has arrested a local citizen Hilmi Git on Monday for using 800 credit cards in fraudulent activities numbering over 20,000 and laundering the fraudulent money through Bitcoin.

The indictment in the Tel Aviv court read that the accused had laundered over USD 8 million in ten years through Bitcoin and that the state seized a whopping BTC 1,071 from him. This is one of the biggest Bitcoin-related criminal activities reported in the world with the BTC 2,000 arrest in Finland back in February still ranked as the biggest of them all.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bitcoinnewscom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com at https://t.me/bconews

The post Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 18th to 24th May 2018 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Deutsche Boerse Becomes Second German Stock Exchange Embracing Crypto

Deutsche Boerse, the owner of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, is evaluating whether to offer cryptocurrency products, according to Bloomberg.

If this is the case, this will be the second German stock exchange to make announcements this year regarding a move towards the adoption of cryptocurrency related products, after Boerse Stuttgart Digital Adventures announced the release of its Bison app in April.

Jeffrey Tellsler, Deutsche Boerse’s head of clients products and core markets, spoke to an industry event in London organized by the Association for Financial Markets in Europe on Wednesday suggesting that the company was “deep at work with it”. Tellsler went on to comment:

“Before we move forward with anything like Bitcoin we want to make sure we understand the underlying transaction which isn’t the easiest thing to do.”

The company’s rivals in the US, Cboe Global Markets Inc and CME Group Inc, became involved in Bitcoin futures last November, and due to regional regulation, no European company had been able to follow suit until this latest move, although he did admit that as yet Boerse Deutsche wasn’t at the same level.

Germany, along with France who is more supportive of ICOs, has been vocal within the EU in supporting blockchain technology and has joined 21 other countries in supporting initiatives with the aim of reinforcing local innovation.

Last June, Deutsche Boerse revealed a plan to move the majority of its post-trade services to a blockchain, using Hyperledger’s open-source Fabric protocol to transfer securities and move commercial bank money.

The firm is clearly moving into the crypto space arena with some urgency, following its announcement in March of a securities lending platform using R3’s Corda blockchain technology. Tellsler explained that before they could proceed, the firm needed to ensure that they understood the volatility of the Bitcoin market, and made sure clients and regulators were in line before moving forward.

In a recent Sowa Labs survey of 1,019 German crypto traders, 16.9% owned a single cryptocurrency, while 18.2% confessed to owning several. Of the respondents, 81% were male, 19% were female, and 54% were 35 years old or younger. More than 80% of respondents opened their first trading account from 2017 onward.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bitcoinnewscom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com at https://t.me/bconews

The post Deutsche Boerse Becomes Second German Stock Exchange Embracing Crypto appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

IBM Recruits in Preparation for $176 Billion Blockchain Future

IBM’s pursuit of 1,800 blockchain jobs in France is a signal of intent to expand research and development in several areas, primarily focusing on blockchain technology, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things), as detailed in an interview with chief executive Virginia Rometty on Wednesday.

IBM is one of the largest and most established research organizations in IT and computing alongside companies such as Microsoft and Google. The company currently holds the record for the most patents generated in a year as well as the last 25 consecutive years. IBM assigned 9,043 patents in comparison to Samsung Electronic which filed for 3,300 putting them in second place.

IBM has previously reported working with up to 63 blockchain clients on over 400 projects related to blockchain technology. The tech giant is confident that blockchain will streamline solutions and be a leading innovator in its field. Earlier this year CFO Jim Kavanaugh stated: “For us, blockchain is a set of technologies that allow our clients to simplify complex, end-to-end processes in a way that couldn’t have been done before.”

IBM securing the market

There have been regular headlines of IBM and collaborators looking to enter the blockchain space. IBM started a partnership with Maersk and Agility, a global logistics provider, announcing their plans to track shipping containers using blockchain technology back in February.

IBM has been pushing for the lead in the race for adopting blockchain technology working alongside various industries and supporting giants like VisaHSBC, and Walmart. Walmart’s vice president of food safety and health Frank Yiannas explained that:

“As a global advocate for enhanced food safety, Walmart looks forward to deepening our work with IBM, Tsinghua University, JD and others throughout the food supply chain. Through collaboration, standardization, and adoption of new and innovative technologies, we can effectively improve traceability and transparency and help ensure the global food system remains safe for all.”

Although cryptocurrencies have been met with some skepticism many industries are starting to understand the potential benefits of the underlying blockchain technology. Industry leaders and the European Union are pouring millions into research and exploration of blockchain projects. The EU announced plans in February to increase funding over the next two years from EUR 83 million to around EUR 340 million. IBM’s general manager of blockchain, Marie Wieck previously highlighted research predicting the value-add of the blockchain economy growing to more than USD 176 billion by 2025.

 

Image Source: Flicker hardwarehank – My new Keyboard

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bitcoinnewscom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com at https://t.me/bconews

The post IBM Recruits in Preparation for $176 Billion Blockchain Future appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.