Category Archives: CEO

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Russian Bear Poised to Pounce at Fintech Crossroads

Recent statistics published by the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain (RACIB) shows that Russian investors appear to be at a crossroads in the fintech space.

The future of Russian cryptocurrency adoption is very much dependent on what lies ahead, particularly with regard to the Kremlin’s past stance which has never been favorable towards allowing the public to become active participants, despite government murmurings suggesting the adoption of CBDC or ‘cryptoruble’.

RACIB statistics indicate the degree to which the cryptocurrency space has been affected by scandals and corruption and a lack of clear government leadership. The resulting status quo sees half of the ICO funds raised in 2017, which amounted to USD 300 million, going to pyramid schemes, according to Bitcoin News.

While the West is predominantly concerned with finding the right balance as it discusses cryptocurrency regulation on an almost daily basis, the major eastern powers such as China and Russia look towards prohibition, over-regulation or limiting digital currencies for government use only, despite blockchain’s rise and rise in commercial enterprises.

In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) continue to debate the securities versus utility issue in order make final decisions over adoption, whereas in blockchain-friendly Europe, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has become a point of focus as more companies line up for conducting business using everything that fintech may have to offer.

As Bitcoin News reportedly recently, Russia is in no way short of fintech expertise and blockchain technical know-how with a major CEO presence now working in Moscow, but the cryptocurrency industry been apprehensive due to the government’s lack of direction regarding digital currency.

This could change if the Russian State Duma’s Committee for Legislative Work supports the first reading of an initiative that will add the basic norms of digital economy to the Russian Federation Civil Code. Such a move though would not automatically allow digital currency to become a legitimate means of payment, as this would require a separate law, although the initiative plans examine smart contract application.

A change in direction may be on the way after President Vladimir Putin’s recent push for blockchain technology to be part of his new “digital economy” program, saying that the country can’t be “late in the race” for blockchain dominance.

A recent Moscow cryptocurrency summit was attended by 200 speakers and over 3,000 participants, showing that the impetus for change is there in the new technology race. It remains to be seen how the Kremlin progresses and contributes towards Russia ’s technological advancement.

 

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Regulations, Hacking Push Blockchain Provider To The Wall

Ethereum wallet and blockchain provider Parity has been forced to shut down its PICOPS platform from 24 May following new EU data protection rules and guidelines.

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy,” states the EU’s GDPR portal.

However, according to MSN, the new law is causing certain problems, with LocalBitcoins disabling multiple accounts due to the new rulings. The GDPR laws are demanding, with a significant checklist of requirements, including those that relate to data processing principles and the limitation of storage. The significant challenges to blockchain mainly concern the immutability of transactions, replication, and encryption, including data processors and data controllers.

Swiss law firm PwC Legal recommends that platforms now scrutinize their blockchain-based solutions with regard to GDPR compliance to obtain a clear view of the legal risks they may encounter. It also explains why blockchain’s most significant feature; immutability, could be undermined by the new EU ruling:

“Transactions on a blockchain are immutable. It is not possible to delete information from a blockchain. This may contradict the GDPR’s right to erase / duty to delete personal data when a lawful ground for processing ceases to exist.”

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin commented on the news, calling it a sad development, particularly as PICOPS had facilitated many ICOs on the Ethereum ecosystem. Commenting on Twitter, he said, “A potentially very useful service in the Ethereum ecosystem discontinued due to GDPR issues.”

Jackson Palmer, the creator of Dogecoin, also criticized GDPR laws, despite saying that he thought it was “a step in the right direction from a data privacy perspective”.

“While I greatly respect the movement towards better data privacy and security laws, GDPR compliance is a large and unrealistic burden that small side-projects are simply under-equipped to manage (especially if being maintained by a single developer in their spare time),” commented Palmer.

Jutta Steiner, the CEO of Parity was critical of GDPR, arguing: “From a practitioner’s perspective, it sounds to me that it was drafted by trying to implement a certain perspective of how the world should be without taking into account how technology actually works.”

However, the company has commented that it will continue to work with regulators in order to ensure that the new rules don’t impact negatively on the industry. These are hard times for Parity, following its hacking last year, losing more than USD 300 millions worth of Ether.

 

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