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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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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 21st to 27th September 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

Government spent $5 million on blockchain espionage: The US government’s obsession with cryptocurrencies and blockchain led to it spending almost USD 5.7 million with blockchain analytics firms so far and is keen to do more.

The revelation was made by a digital currency publication called Diar. Blockchain analytics firms are supposedly paid for Bitcoin espionage, criminal prosecution, taxes and even enforcing crypto regulations. The IRS alone spent USD 2.19 million in the process.

Google announces partial lifting of crypto ads ban: In a major move, Google has announced a partial lifting of the controversial cryptocurrency ads ban on its platform. The ban had been placed earlier this year by the tech company and had only been in force for a few months since June this year.

The recent announcement from Google suggests that cryptocurrency-related ads from registered exchanges will be allowed to air on the Google Adsense network, especially the ones involving US and Japanese companies.

The statement from the company said: “Advertisers will need to be certified with Google for the specific country in which their ads will serve. Advertisers will be able to apply for certification once the policy launches in October.”

Other tech companies like Facebook have also announced a lifting of cryptocurrency bans placed earlier this year. The announcement is considered positive for the overall crypto community.

US Congressmen and crypto companies discussing legislation: Washington saw a new round of talks between US congressmen and fintech companies in the cryptocurrency genre to devise future regulations for the industry. ICOs remained the primary focus of the meeting.

The industry representatives met with the lawmakers to discuss the points of Congressman Warren Davidson’s bill which could pass through the House of Representatives later this year. Representatives of crypto companies include Andreessen Horowitz, Circle, CME Group, Coin Center, CoinList, Harbor, Intercontinental Exchange, Kraken, Nasdaq, Ripple, Union Square Ventures and other individuals.

There is still growing uncertainty regarding the final shape of the cryptocurrency regulation in the country.

Growth over time may propel SEC to approve ETFs: The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) attitude towards cryptocurrencies may change over time as the industry grows over time, according to Asjylyn Loder of the Wall Street Journal.

Almost ten ETFs including one from the Winklevoss twins have been rejected by the SEC to date and many more have been deferred over time. However, the mood is likely to change as cryptocurrencies will get to showcase their strengths and adaptability in the near future.

Congressman to introduce pro-crypto bills: Representative Tom Emmer is presenting three bills titled ‘Resolution Supporting Digital Currencies and Blockchain Technology’, the ‘Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act’, and the ‘Safe Harbor for Taxpayers with Forked Assets Act’, in the House of Representatives.

The congressman is among the pro-crypto voices in the capitol and is working among a group of politicians trying to introduce helpful legislation in the country. Another congressman Warren Davidson had already tabled a bill for sensible cryptocurrency regulation before and is debating the issue with industry professionals.

Canada

Canada better prepared for crypto adaptation than US: The head of a registered cryptocurrency investment firm in Canada has said that the country is in fact better prepared for cryptocurrency policy and adaptation than USA.

CEO of First Block Capital Sean Clark has also called for the country to become a blockchain hub in the world and lead the way in its innovation efforts. He cited the positive government attitude, promotion of educational awareness as prime factors in the rapid progress of Canada in the sector.

 

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 4th to 10th 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.

USA

New York cryptocurrency probe continues: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s resignation might have brought a slight relief for cryptocurrency exchanges but the department says that the probe will continue in the near future. Schneiderman resigned within three hours after reports emerged of physical abuse to four women but this won’t stop any investigation into the operations of cryptocurrency exchanges, 13 of whom are under investigation.

The Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative was launched by Schneiderman on 17 April, just a few weeks before his time abruptly came to an end. The office had sent letters to 13 exchanges including (1) Coinbase, Inc. (GDAX); (2) Gemini Trust Company; (3) bitFlyer USA, Inc.; (4) iFinex Inc. (Bitfinex); (5) Bitstamp USA Inc.; (6) Payward, Inc. (Kraken); (7) Bittrex, Inc.; (8) Circle Internet Financial Limited (Poloniex LLC); (9) Binance Limited; (10) Elite Way Developments LLP (Tidex.com); (11) Gate Technology Incorporated (Gate.io); (12) itBit Trust Company; and (13) Huobi Global Limited (Huobi.Pro).

The New York BitLicense is widely seen as one of the harshest cryptocurrency laws in existence that outlaws all Bitcoin dealers and exchanges and requires extensive legal costs to acquire. Only four companies have been granted permission under the law and the rest of these exchanges face continuing troubles.

Texas securities board issues cease-and-desist letters to crypto exchanges: The Texas Securities Board (TSSB) has served two cease-and-desist letters to cryptocurrency exchanges because it believes they are scams. The Exchanges BTCRUSH and Forex EA & Bitcoin Investment LLC have been involved in promising returns of up to 4.1% daily and 1000% per 21 days profit and that caught the attention of the TSSB as a possible scam.

While the companies disguise themselves as mining companies, they are far from such because mining profits aren’t this much at all which reinforces the belief by the state board that these are not real mining companies.

Violating this order can result in USD 5,000 fine and two years in state prison. The exchanges have the option to request a hearing within 31 days.

Wisconsin seeks approval for Bitcoin campaign donations: The Wisconsin state Ethics Commission has asked the state legislators to decide on whether campaign contributions made in cryptocurrency can be allowed by the state or not, according to a report by Washington Times.

The Senate and assembly action committees have asked to provide clarity regarding the new currencies and whether candidates may be able to accept cryptocurrencies or not. US states are still mostly seen as skeptical towards cryptocurrency donations to campaigns. Wisconsin Libertarian party Chairman Phil Anderson has asked to allow cryptocurrencies due to their popularity and conversion to fiat at the time of receipt is also being discussed.

Kentucky Derby opens for crypto for the first time: The famous Kentucky horse race event will accept cryptocurrency wagers according to wide reports from the media. The horse race takes place in Louisville, Kentucky every year and is part of a two-week festival in the small state which is world famous for its gambling and other activities like the Grand National in the UK and Melbourne Cup in Australia.

Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin are being cited as top cryptocurrencies being fared in wagers this year as punters rush to get a bet on their favorite horse rider. 

US Racing’s operations director Tim Maxwell said: “…both the legality and associated risk management of accepting cryptocurrency needs further clarification before we see widespread adoption in the gaming and racing industry as a whole.”

Oracle to roll out blockchain products: California-based ERP giant Oracle has announced that it is ready to roll out blockchain-based platform-as-a-service products for clients around the world according to a news piece from Bloomberg.

The company had over USD 37.3 billion in sales last year and this could be a big news for blockchain-based businesses as enhanced security and functionality would mean more investment in the sector especially in the Oracle’s space.

Millennials prefer Bitcoin over other investments and trading options: A recent survey has discovered that millennials in the US are starting to prefer investment in Bitcoin over other traditional ventures including stocks. More than 27% will prefer investing USD 1,000 in Bitcoin rather than in stocks, according to the survey.

Millennials who came of age around the 2008 financial crisis had a hard time and they blame the big banks and corporations for the whole mess so it is no surprise that they see Bitcoin’s transparency and profit-making capability as a viable alternative.

Canada

Blockchain startup flees from US to Canada: CBlocks, a Miami-based cryptocurrency company has announced that it is moving to Canada due to regulatory troubles and uncertainty in the United States. The firm had been trying to clear legal hurdles in the US for a while but has eventually decided to move to its northern neighbour, signalling a potential exodus from the US.

Austen Bunsen, one of the co-founders of the company said: “They can’t agree as to whether we’re a money services business or not.”

Getting a precise answer to this question is tricky as the Securities and Exchange Commission of the US has been reluctant to classify blockchain businesses as either.

Canadian bank says crypto is the future: Canadian bank ATB Alphabeta has voiced its support for cryptocurrencies and blockchain by saying they are the future. Many such businesses have to continue to rely on banks due to a variety of reasons and in countries like India, banks have refused to entertain them. This is one of the rare instances where a bank has actually credited cryptocurrencies as  the future in the fintech space.

While the bank has acknowledged that Bitcoin is currently taboo in banking circles due to its unorthodox approach, anonymity and other features, ATB is ready to become progressive and become Canada’s leader in the business.

 

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