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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 30 November-6 December 2018

North America

North America

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

Cuba

Mobile Internet Expected to bring Cryptocurrencies to the Public: This month marked a new development in the average Cubans’ life as mobile internet became a reality in the country and with it comes the promise of cryptocurrencies. Cuba has had some of the worst internet censorships in the world, far worse than China but eventually, the country is now being opened up for investment and innovation.

Nearly half of the 11.2 million residents in the country have mobile phones and can afford internet access. Cryptocurrencies can improve the microeconomic situation in the country but it remains to be seen how the government and people will react to it.

Canada

Cryptocurrency Mining Discussed in Canada: Canada is one of the most progressive countries when it comes to cryptocurrencies and blockchain adoption, but the recent issues regarding the mining companies are re-igniting the debate on the sector because of its power consuming nature.

There are considerable environmental issues when it comes to mining cryptocurrencies and while studies have shown that cryptocurrencies are more likely to use renewable resources, the debate still goes on.

United States of America

Bill Introduced to Save Investors from Market Manipulation: A recent bipartisan US bill tabled in the House of Representatives intends to protect cryptocurrency investors from market manipulation. The bill was proposed by Democratic congressman Darren Soto (Fl) and Republican Tedd Budd (NC).

The bill has been named Virtual Currency Consumer Protection Act and direct Commodities and Futures Trading Commission to start action against price manipulation especially pump and dump cryptocurrency schemes.

The bill also intends to help the industry by undergoing a study of crypto regulations in other countries and recommending ways to make the US more competitive for blockchain companies.

Ohio University Announces Blockchain Hub: A top private university in the capital of Ohio has a new blockchain group called the Cleveland Blockchain and Digital Futures Hub.

The Case Western Reserve University (CWRU’s president Barbara Snyder announced the project during the maiden Blockland Solutions Conference in Ohio this week. The conference aims to turn the state into a regional center for blockchain technology.

The newly formed hub will study cutting-edge tech like blockchain and Internet of Things in addition to Virtual Reality for future applications. It also seeks to develop applications of the technology in partnership with enterprises including academic institutions, tech accelerators and government itself.

Bill Gates Believes Digital Currencies will Help the Poor: Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has expressed admiration for cryptocurrencies and said that digital technology has the ability to empower the most impoverished population of the world.

This is not the first time Gates has opened up regarding cryptocurrencies. Back in 2014, he said:

“Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don’t have to be physically in the same place and, of course, for large transactions, currency can get pretty inconvenient.”

Now Gates has come forward and said that the transformation of underlying economics through digitization of money can potentially help people living in poverty across the globe. The move can be seen in South America where Dash has been adopted by many people for donation-based services.

Healthcare Alliance Looking to Blockchain for Data Integrity: US Healthcare alliance that consists of seven biggest healthcare companies is exploring the option to improve data quality within its systems according to a report in Modern Healthcare.

The primary objective of the alliance is to look for ways in which blockchain can be used to improve data quality and help lower administration costs.

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 23-29 November 2018

North America

North America

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country.

United States

Federal Reserve Bank Blames Bitcoin Futures Markets for BTC Price Decline: The Federal Reserve has officially blamed the launch of Bitcoin Futures Market for the recent decline in Bitcoin’s price according to a letter published on its website.

According to the online publication, Bitcoin Futures launch on December 17 last year converted the biggest bitcoin bull into a bearish situation. The Fed also goes on to make comparisons with falls in other assets’ prices after the launch of futures markets including the mortgage industry whose uptick was neutralised by the launch of mortgage securities. The dollar issuer then goes on to say that the Bitcoin could have kept rising past $20,000 if the futures had not been launched.

Federal Government Places Sanctions on Bitcoin Addresses: The United States has issued sanctions against several Bitcoin addresses as a first in the country. According to the government, the addresses were set up by two Iranians to help a ransomware scheme.

The sanctions were issued by the United States Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control. People in the US and partnering entities are now banned from sending BTC to these addresses.

Lettuce Outbreak Results in FDA Seeking Blockchain Solution: A recent lettuce E. Coli break has resulted in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to seek a blockchain-based solution for food tracking in a supply chain. 

According to Dr. Scott Gottlieb in a CNBC interview, the FDA had requested that a food safety expert formerly of Walmart to act as a food and veterinary medicine supply commissioner. Dr. Gottlieb continued on and said that the new addition will help the administration to introduce new tools for tracking food, with blockchain being looked at as a viable solution.

Court Overturns Security Designation of ICO by SEC: In one of the first ruling of its kind, a judge of the Southern District of California has declared that the security classification by SEC on an ICO was not justified. 

ICO Blockvest had been walking a tightrope when it came to security designation from the SEC, but never explicitly broke the rules according to the judgment. While the decision is unique and first-of-its-kind, the ICO is still not exonerated as other charges remain on the project.

USD Tether Restarts Direct USD Redemption: USDT is slowly returning back to its best as the stablecoin company has announced that the direct redemption of the silverback is set to be re-enabled after months of issues that even affected the price of USDT against USD in the open market.

Tether currently is the top stablecoin in the market with over $1.8 billion market cap and it is ranked seventh on cryptocurrency market cap tables.

Mexico

Blockchain Association Formed With Consensys as First Member: The Central American country has seen the formation of the first blockchain association with ConsenSys starting the rostrum as the founding member.

According to Forbes Mexico, the new association has members who represent the fintech facet of the industry. Several local exchanges and hedge funds have found a seat on the table including Bitso, Volabit, Lvna Capital, etc in addition to ConsensSys.

Canada

Air Canada Partnering to Develop Blockchain Travel Solutions: Air Canada, the national flag carrier of the country is now partnering with a blockchain firm for developing a distribution system based on Blockchain technology.

Winding Tree, the partnering DLT company has created an open source blockchain marketplace where agents can arrange flights at their own commission rates.

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 16-22 November 2018

North America

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here, we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country.

USA

Ponzi Scheme Figure Arrested and Extradited to the US: OneCoin’s public face Sebastian Greenwood has been arrested and extradited to the US after the company collapsed amid Ponzi scheme allegations.

Greenwood was captured by authorities in Thailand who facilitated the transfer back to his country. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a USD 400 million indictment against Mark Scott, and Greenwood is also named. He disappeared back in 2016 just before the crash of the OneCoin scam.

Crypto VC Compares Bitcoin to Post 1990s Amazon: Lou Kerner, a Bitcoin investment VC has compared Bitcoin to the post dot-com bubble Amazon. Amazon remained strong after the bubble burst of the late 1990s and is one of the most valuable companies in the world right now.

According to Kerner, the volatility is part of any long-term investment remembering how in 2013, the value was down almost 70% in one night. He said:

“Nobody likes being down like this. But this is what investing in crypto is all about.”

Kerner is overall positive regarding the future of Bitcoin.

John McAfee Partnering with Art Firm to Auction Picasso’s Works: John McAfee, the eccentric Bitcoin billionaire has now teamed up with Maecenas and ERC-20 exchange Ethershift to auction Picasso’s paintings later this year.

The initiative called Project Phoenix will plan the auction for the unnamed Picasso and made the announcement on the Maecenas website.

According to the website:

“The auctioning process will be executed using Maecenas technology. The newly created digital asset, the first of its kind, will be represented as a single ERC-721 token for the digitalized artwork. A fixed number of ERC-20 tokens will separately represent shared ownership in the physical asset.”

It is expected that the BTC payment option will be available in the proceeding because of McAfee’s involvement.

IBM and Columbia University Promoting New Blockchain Startups with Latest Courses: Two blockchain accelerator programs are being offered at Columbia University in partnership with IBM for blockchain-based firms and innovators.

According to IBM:

The goal of these programs is to help network founders develop their ideas into sustainable and scalable companies offering blockchain solutions. For those already further along in their journey, the programs are designed to help them achieve scale and build successful business networks.”

IBM is also willing to offer entrepreneurs and blockchain innovators access to expertise and resources for establishing new use cases and products.

Former SEC Commissioner Appointed in Director Role by Blockchain Company: Former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) commissioner Annette Nazarath has been unveiled as a Director by blockchain company BitFury.

With Nazarath’s extensive experience as a regulator, the company will have valuable insight into the workings of financial platforms and thus the ability to design their own system accordingly.

Colorado Regulator Closes 4 Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) for Violating Laws: The Colorado Division of Securities has announced the closure of 4 ICOs who were found to be violating securities laws of the state.

Global Pay Net, CrowdShare Mining, Cyber Smart Coin, and Credits LLC were closed down by the government. Two more ICOs are expected to meet the same fate in the near future. A total of 24 cease and desist orders have been issued by the state commissioner in total.

Canada

Lawmakers Calling for AML Regulations: Canadian lawmakers are looking to tighten cryptocurrency regulations in the country to fight Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) and other illicit activities in the country.

The Blockchain Association of Canada is against the new proposed legislation in the country and is asking the government to cooperate with the sector instead of imposing unilateral sanctions.

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 2-8 Nov 2018

North America

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here, we present to you all the latest blockchain and cryptocurrency news, continent by continent and country by country.

USA

Politician Tries to set Record Straight on Cryptocurrency Donations: US politician Brian Forde has tried to clarify misconceptions against cryptocurrency campaign donations in the country including lack of transparency.

Brian Forde has served previously as Senior Tech Advisor to President Obama and he was the one who educated the president about the new industry. He was also one of the first US politicians to collect cryptocurrency campaign donations during his run for the House of Representatives. He received reportedly $300,000 in donations through Bitcoin alone.

He clarified in an article that the misconceptions regarding cryptocurrency donations are false including the allegation that they cannot be traced. Forde cleared that cryptocurrencies have the same process as their fiat alternatives when it comes to campaign donations.

SEC Shuts down 12 ICOs in One Year: The Securities and Exchange Commission has shut down a dozen ICOs in one year alone, according to its official report at the end of the current fiscal year.

According to the federal regulator, these banned ICOs raised more than $68 million before they were finally shut down. Overall, the SEC confiscated, fined more than $3.945 billion during the same period overall from all violators.

SEC to Issue Simplified Crypto Guidelines: The SEC is working on clarifying when and how cryptocurrencies and ICOs can be regarded as securities by the regulator and treated as such according to a recent speech by Director of Corporate Finance.

Willian Hinman, the director said on record that the SEC was working to release new regulations in plain English to help new startups looking to offer their tokens in the market. The overall attitude despite these simplifications will remain hawkish.

Crypto-favorable Candidates Elected in US Gubernatorial Elections: According to the results of the mid-term elections of this week, five pro-crypto governors have been elected in the country. Three are newly elected governors while two pro-crypto ones have been re-elected.

The five governors are given extremely high ranking by the Digital Asset Trade Association that assigns rankings to politicians regarding their crypto-friendliness.

Bank of America Gets Tamper-proof DLT Patent: Bank of America, the country’s second-largest bank has secured a blockchain patent that can provide a useful barrier against hacking attempts on banking networks.

The patent reportedly prevents tampering by having redundant keys which can be removed from a tampered device for good.

Cryptocurrency Pioneer Says He Will Run Only for Promoting Cryptocurrencies: Famed cryptocurrency pioneer John McAfee has said that his run for the 2020 presidential elections is solely meant for the promotion of cryptocurrencies in the country.

McAfee will reportedly campaign from the Libertarian platform like in the 2016 elections. However, he has now come out and said that the only reason he is doing this is to promote cryptocurrencies in the country.

Canada

First Bitcoin-backed Loan Service Launched for Businesses and Consumers: A financial company named Ledn Inc has become the first organization to offer fiat loans in exchange for Bitcoin as collateral.

The move was founded by a Bitcoin investor Mauricio Di Bartolomeo who aims to fill the market gap for Canadians who are invested in cryptocurrencies but can’t obtain loans because of various reasons.

Marshall Islands

President in Hot Water over National Cryptocurrency Launch: The President of Marshall Islands Hilda Heine is in trouble after promoting the idea of a national cryptocurrency in the tiny Pacific nation. She will now have to face a vote of no confidence in the country’s legislature on 12 November 2018.

The current currency of the islands is USD despite the country gaining independence from the mainland forty years ago. President Heine incurred the wrath of IMF and the USA after her move to start the island’s own national cryptocurrency. Now she is facing backlash and possible impeachment in the parliament. If she wins this battle, she will launch the Sovereign (SOV) as early as next year.

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 26th October to 1st November 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

First Bitcoin ATM operator given Bitlicense: Coinsource, a Bitcoin ATM operator with more than 192 ATMs has become the first such company with a Bitlicense in the state.

While there are a number of Bitcoin ATMs being operated in the state already, the first Bitlicense was issued to Coinsource after a heavy vetting process which is described as the toughest in the country. When the Bitlicense was incorporated, much of the Bitcoin trading was deemed illegal in New York but slowly, companies are complying with the new regulations.

Federal Reserve ex-chair gifted Bitcoin after negative crypto comments: After condemning cryptocurrencies in a recent interview, fformer chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen received BTC 0.00316 or USD 20 as a gift from Bitcoin gifting service Biterica’s founder Raz Suprovici.

Yellen had said that Bitcoin had slow transactions, wasn’t a stable source of value wasn’t efficient at all.

Suprovici hoped she understands the process and changes her mind with this kind gesture. Yellen confirmed the transfer but said that she didn’t look into it any further.

Johnny Depp fired, Michael Keaton to play John McAfee in Hollywood film: Veteran actor Michael Keaton has replaced Johnny Depp in the cast of a new movie that will circle around the life of cryptocurrency advocate John McAfee.

The move came after McAfee himself objected to the casting of Johnny Depp. He had a few choice words to say: “The pussy couldn’t handle my drugs. Keaton will have no problem.”

The film is currently in its initial stages.

Study reveals diverging opinions on crypto campaign donations: A recent study by research firm Clovr in the US has shown that there is little consensus on cryptocurrency political donations in the country.

The survey gathered data of 1,023 US voters from a diverse set of backgrounds. Overall, 60% believed that cryptocurrencies and USD should be treated as equals while 21% opposed this view. Over 42% of the respondents said that cryptocurrencies were stable enough for campaign purposes but 35% deemed them too volatile. On the other hand, 60% believed that Bitcoin will make foreign interference more common while 62% believed cryptocurrencies could be used for illegal gains in politics. Overall, there is no consensus on the matter.

New US commodities regulator wants open mind for crypto, blockchain: A new commissioner at the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is calling for an open-minded approach towards fintech innovations including blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Rostin Benham made these comments during a recent speech at a Swaps and Derivatives Conference in Tokyo, Japan. While the SEC itself has clamped down hard on cryptocurrencies, new regulators may spell better times for the cryptocurrency scene.

Canada

Exchange announces hack, deletes website: Canadian exchange MapleChange has deleted its online presence soon after claiming its website was hacked on 28 October.

According to previous Tweets from the exchange’s handle, the exchange had only just reduced trading fees, leading to an increase in overall volume to some BTC 913 per day. This was when the hack allegedly took place.

Government to simplify cross-border services with blockchain tech: Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has announced that it is going to use blockchain technology to improve the efficiency and speed of its services.

CBSA processes 14,000 trucks, 127,400 courier shipments and 240,00 mails every day. The Border service is linking up with a DLT shipping firm called TradeLens which was a project of IBM and Maersk, the largest container company in the world.

 

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Canadian Bank to Use DLT to Simplify Complex Banking Transactions

The National Bank of Canada is aiming to use blockchain technology to simplify complex banking problems like issuing transactions according to a press release. The bank has formed a partnership with business consultants CGI and blockchain startup Skuchain to leverage smart contracts feature and replace the lengthy email-based features that are being used currently.

The blockchain solution will rely on CGI’s Trade360 trade finance software while smart contract creation system will be provided by Skuchain and based on its Brackets blockchain platform. According to the press release, the new approach will help reduce processing times and strengthen customer relationships of the bank in the future. Overall, the process is expected to become a lot less cumbersome and negotiating letters of credit will become easier.

According to Patrice Roy, Vice President of Payments, Cash Management and International Solution at the Bank of Canada:

“This will enable us to offer a simple, fast and efficient experience to our commercial clients which facilitate managing their business.”

This is not the first blockchain-based partnership announcement by the NBC. Earlier this year, the bank became one of the first banks to test JPMorgan’s Quorum blockchain platform that is focused on the creation of financial instruments. NBC spokesmen have also declared that blockchain technology will have the potential to bring major change in the financial industry in the near future.

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