Category Archives: Europe

Auto Added by WPeMatico

How Blockchain Can Help Fight Climate Change

How Blockchain Can Help Fight Climate Change

Blockchain is often misunderstood to be an energy-inefficient technology, with the Bitcoin mining process frequently criticized for its energy usage and perceived wastefulness. But in actuality, the technology behind the cryptocurrency allows for the decentralization of systemic processes which can help maximize energy efficiency as the world looks for sustainable solutions in the fight against climate change.

Decentralizing the power grid

As the number of small renewable energy installations like rooftop solar panels grow, electricity grids can become strained as they were designed to facilitate energy from large, centralized sources rather than from many smaller origins. One way in which blockchain has already proved its value, in this case, is through facilitating peer-to-peer energy transactions which allow energy users to pay each other directly for excess energy in their local area.

Community energy sharing projects have quickly found success across the globe, with notable projects taking off in New York and Australia. In Brooklyn, the LO3 Energy microgrid project was hailed as a success by the local residents. “To be able to provide energy, for emergency services, or someone in need, that’s how a neighborhood comes together,” said one participant, Noah Elgart.

However, the move towards decentralized energy markets cuts out the main market players as they stand today, namely retailers, metering point operators and the major energy supplies corporations themselves. Creating pressure groups, these actors have a high stake in the energy sector remaining in a centralized form. Perhaps partly in lieu of their influence, peer-to-peer energy sharing in Europe is still limited to regulated pilots or privately-owned microgrids — a long way from people having the freedom to sell their unused energy supply from their independent renewable energy source.

Blockchain energy tracking

An enormous benefit of blockchain energy tracking is its ability to prevent double counting as the data collected is immutable and transparent. For the technology to work, it would only need to rely on a properly calibrated and installed smart energy meter to transmit the data.

For electricity to be allowed legal classification as renewable in Europe, the supplier must receive a Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificate which is issued per MWh. Small energy producers who generate less than this amount are unable to receive the certificate or sell their energy as renewable. Blockchain energy tracking has been discussed as a potential way for these smaller suppliers to verify energy output and quantify their supplies, allowing consumers greater access to more choice of renewable energy suppliers.

A changing landscape

Whether blockchain adoption in the energy industry will really take off is still a question but as the case studies have shown so far, its potential is enormous. Concerns of the impending impacts of climate change are already driving progress in the energy sector and blockchain is proving it can transform the way data is stored and exchanged. As it stands, blockchain appears to be a leading technology that can enable the transition to a renewable, decentralized energy grid that empowers consumers to make climate-conscious energy decisions.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter: @bitcoinnewscom

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

Want to advertise or get published on BitcoinNews.com? – View our Media Kit PDF here.

Image Courtesy: Bitcoin News

The post How Blockchain Can Help Fight Climate Change appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Russia Adopts Digital Rights Law as “Basis” for Digital Economy Development

The Russian parliament Duma has voted on a new digital rights legislation to be enacted in October this year. The latest changes to the Russian civil codex went through the third and final Duma reading on Tuesday.

The law adds a new article, 141.1, of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation along with establishing the concept of “digital rights” in Russian legislation. It also determines the mechanism of digital rights’ application and transfer and sheds light on the rules for digital transactions such as contracts.

The Chairman of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, stated in a press release:

“[The digital rights law] forms the basis for the development of the digital economy. This is a new area for our rights; thus it is important for us to consolidate the basic concepts.”

In another interview on the changes in the legal landscape after the implementation of this legislation, a senior partner at a Moscow-based legal firm, Aleksandr Zhuravlev, said that although there is still some room for improvement, the country’s approach is arguably better than many others.

“Of course the current project has flaws […] that could lead to ambiguity in some areas: determining the legal nature of cryptocurrencies and mining, as well as several other aspects (digital financial asset inheritance, etc.), Zhuravlev said. “However, it’s worth noting that Russia has not gone down the route of China or India, which have selected a prohibitive approach to digital assets.”

The decision will now lead an exhaustive debate on the description and handling of digital currencies pertaining civil property rights, although the related legislative proceedings and the draft bill on crypto titled ‘On Digital Financial Assets’ has already seen many delays and missed deadlines.

In July 2018, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, had already expressed his desire to enact cryptocurrency regulation, and the current legislation is one significant step towards achieving that goal.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter: @bitcoinnewscom

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

Want to advertise or get published on BitcoinNews.com? – View our Media Kit PDF here.

Image Courtesy: bitcoinnews.com

The post Russia Adopts Digital Rights Law as “Basis” for Digital Economy Development appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

France May Tighten Digital Asset Regulations

France May Tighten Digital Asset Regulations

French regulators slightly uneased by the rate of development and use of cryptocurrencies have called for increased regulations. First reported by The Tokenist, financial regulators recognize the role the blockchain could play in finance once integrated, however, feel that the function of anonymity of some cryptocurrencies calls for concern.

In a move to provide more oversight on the industry, the French National Assembly’s Finance Committee published a report urging for refinement of current laws governing the blockchain industry.

Author of the report, Eric Woerth, who also chairs the finance committee has strong opposition towards cryptocurrency mining in France — discouraging the enterprise — citing environmental impact. This is due to the fact that cryptocurrency mining takes a toll on the environment as it is not energy efficient.

Woerth has also called for a systematic regulatory framework towards privacy coins which allows users transact without a trace of transaction history between parties. In his opinion, many aspects of the cryptocurrency industry “remain hidden, non-transparent and opaque”.

Apparently, the report was not all grim, as the committee finds that the integration of blockchain into the financial system can streamline processes to provide more efficient service delivery. Noting that while typical banking operations and services can involve as many as forty intermediaries – individuals, insurers, banks, customs, maritime operators, and so on, the interactions between the systems can better be managed on the blockchain.

“… [We] can legally favor the blockchain and condemn at the same time the release of crypto-assets deliberately aimed at maintaining [the] anonymity of their holders and thus serve as a ‘cache’ for traffic of all kinds… [and] build a fair and proportionate regulation.”

Last year, the French were warming up to cryptocurrency regulations as it was recognized as a revolutionary financial innovation, and was preparing in the event of an international regulation to which it saw as inevitable. However, with Woerth’s report, it may be a little harsher than reality once full legislation is in effect, considering digital assets and blockchain go hand-in-hand.

Germany is taking an alternate route to inclusion with the recognition of blockchain-based securities as legitimate forms of financial instruments. More so, as with a few other jurisdictions, it requested for input from players in the blockchain industry, it may be angling itself to becoming a pro-digital asset jurisdiction, taking a leading role in the EU.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter: @BitcoinNewsCom

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

Want to advertise or get published on BitcoinNews.com? – View our Media Kit PDF here.

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

 

The post France May Tighten Digital Asset Regulations appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Hodlers Buying Turkish Homes for as Little as 9 Bitcoins

Hodlers Buying Turkish Homes for as Little as 9 Bitcoins

Cryptocurrency shows no signs of dropping off as a means of payment in the real estate sector despite a lower Bitcoin price and the Turkish real estate market is the most recent location to offer buyers a digital means of settlement for their new home.

A house in Turkey can now be purchased for a little as 9 BTC (about USD 35,000) each, which has this writer thinking about a life in the sun. One of the platforms encouraging Turks and foreign investors to look to real estate purchasing with their Bitcoin is Antalya Homes with offices right across Turkey.

In fact, Turkey, with its unique position dividing two continents, became one of Europe’s most popular property investment locations in 2018 with some 40,000 properties having been sold to foreigners throughout last year.

Houses can now be purchased in a number of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC) Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Litecoin (LTC), Tether (USDT) and Stellar (XLM). Bayram Tekce, Chairman of Antalya Homes points out the befits of paying digitally:

“Payment with cryptocurrency enables a more reliable and faster transaction performance such as money transfer between bank accounts without any exchange loss. By making investments particularly in countries like Turkey, where housing is becoming increasingly valuable, investors can shift their investment to a less risky and safer area, and multiply their savings.”

To make it easier for clients the company has created a “Pay with Bitcoin” feature on the website, and to date, nine real estate purchases have been made using the facility.

Also in Europe, the first real estate transaction on blockchain was successfully completed in Switzerland last year. The feat was achieved by Blockimmo Ltd, a blockchain property transaction platform, in collaboration with two other companies.

The blockchain-backed real estate transaction, worth CHF 3 million (Swiss francs approximately USD 2.98 million), was conducted by Elea Labs Ltd, Swiss Crypto Tokens Ltd and Blockimmo, for a deal consisting of a restaurant and 18 apartments.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter: @bitcoinnewscom

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

Want to advertise or get published on BitcoinNews.com? – View our Media Kit PDF here.

Image Courtesy: bitcoinnews.com

The post Hodlers Buying Turkish Homes for as Little as 9 Bitcoins appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 3rd to 9th March, 2019

Europe

Europe

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.

Switzerland

First Real Estate Deal on Blockchain Recorded in Switzerland: Switzerland completed its first ever blockchain-backed real estate transaction. Blockimmo Ltd collaborated with Swiss Crypto Tokens Ltd and Elea Labs Ltd to achieve this feat.

The said deal consisted of a restaurant and 18 apartments and is estimated to be worth CHF 3 million (USD 2.98 million). Ethereum (ETH) blockchain was used in order to tokenize the property. To account for the price fluctuations, the CryptoFranc (XCHF) was used, which is pegged to the Swiss franc.

Russia

Russian Railways Plans to Integrate Blockchain Technology Into Its System: Russia is planning to integrate blockchain technology into its railway system. The system will be used to determine exempts in the railway transport system, states Rambler News Service (RNS).

The Russian Railways and Russian National Pension Fund will sign a contract to provide travel discounts and bring transparency to the railway transport system monitoring.

Anton Drozdov, head of the Pension Fund, hoped that the deal will be finalized by the end of the on-going year. He believed that blockchain will help eliminate fraud and forgery in the use of discounted transport services.

Crypto Plans for Offshore Development Revealed by Russian Deputy Minister: Ships and digital assets will be affected by a new package of measures for the improvement of Russian offshore companies, stated Ilya Torosov, Russian deputy minister of economic development. Local news outlet TASS reported the news.

Last year, the Ministry of Economic Development developed the Special Administrative Regions (SAR) as part of its “Russian offshore companies” project. Now, it is planning to facilitate digital assets and other business in general by introducing tax exemptions.

France

Anonymous Digital Currencies Must Be Banned, Suggests Eric Woerth: A ban on anonymous cryptocurrencies (privacy coins) is suggested by Eric Woerth (head of the Finance Committee of France’s National Assembly). He stated his opinion in a recent report on blockchain technology and digital assets.

The virtual currencies which ensure “greater anonymity to users” must be banned, noted Woerth in a forward to the report. Along with that, he also discussed crypto-related problems such as money laundering, fraud, energy consumption, and tax evasion

Malta

Banks in Malta Hesitant to Entertain Crypto Businesses: Banks in Malta are not facilitating cryptocurrency businesses, reported Times of Malta. Various startups are facing problems with account opening in local banks. According to banks, blockchain sector is outside their risk appetite.

Time of Malta collected the said information from Malta-based blockchain related businesses in the pervious week. Banks are awaiting more lucidity from Malta’s Financial Service Authority (MFSA) regarding the status of cryptocurrencies, noted the report.

The United Kingdom

Majority of the UK Consumers Do Not Know About Cryptocurrencies: Majority of UK consumers (73%) are unable to define what a digital asset is or are ignorant about it, noted the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Moreover, those having sufficient knowledge about cryptocurrencies are men (aged between 20-44). As per the survey, only 3% of polled (2,132) British consumers ever bought digital currency. Half of them spent less than GBP 200 (USD 263) from their disposable income. However, Bitcoin (BTC) stood out as the most well-known cryptocurrency followed by Ethereum (ETH).

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter: @BitcoinNewsCom

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

Want to advertise or get published on BitcoinNews.com? – View our Media Kit PDF here.

Image Courtesy:BitcoinNews.com

The post Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 3rd to 9th March, 2019 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Germany’s Stance on Security Tokens Could Be a Green Light for Europe

In a surprise move, the German Ministry of Finance has called for recognition of blockchain-based securities as a legitimate form of financial instrument.

Friday’s announcement suggested that German law needed to recognize these types of securities, and legislation should be brought into place to support the changes. The new paper published by the ministry last week stated that “the currently mandatory documentary embodiment of securities (paper form) should no longer apply without restriction.”

The German government wants to start with electronic bonds and then later address digital shares. Such securities would in future be registered by a single government agency as yet to be established. This, in the view of the ministry, would ensure no risk of tampering or manipulation. In terms of utility tokens, the paper outlined:

“As a rule, utility tokens do not constitute securities, investments or other financial instruments under the German Securities Trading Act and in most cases will not be electronic bonds in the future,” although “it could be determined by law that a public offer of utility tokens may only take place if the provider has previously published an information sheet.”

There is also a draft bill on Security Token Offerings (STOs) passing through the German Parliament, although in the opinion of Christian Democratic Union (CDU) member Senator Thomas Heilmann, who maintains that although it is an interesting technology “many people don’t understand it,” showing there is still a fintech gap in Germany’s ruling house.

The feeling is that Germany could steal a march on other European nations with this legislation, if passed and become the leader in tokenized finance in Europe, further creating a precedent for EU-wide regulations on security tokens moving forward.

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter: @BitcoinNewsCom

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

Want to advertise or get published on BitcoinNews.com? – View our Media Kit PDF here.

Image Courtesy: bitcoinnews.com

The post Germany’s Stance on Security Tokens Could Be a Green Light for Europe appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Switzerland Records First Real Estate Deal on Blockchain

Switzerland Records First Real Estate Deal on Blockchain

The first real estate transaction on blockchain has been successfully completed in Switzerland. The feat was achieved by Blockimmo Ltd, a blockchain property transaction platform, in collaboration with two other companies.

The blockchain-backed real estate transaction, worth CHF 3 million (Swiss francs approximately USD 2.98 million), was conducted by Elea Labs Ltd, Swiss Crypto Tokens Ltd and Blockimmo, for a deal consisting of a restaurant and 18 apartments.

In the form of tokens, the property’s real asset value is now digitally represented on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain. In order to avoid risks related to price fluctuations, the CryptoFranc (XCHF), the Swiss stablecoin pegged to the Swiss franc was used to support the transaction.

CEO of Switzerland-based Elea Labs, Martin Schnider, stated that in order to ensure that Property DNA (each building’s unique identity) is assigned, Elea Labs provided the real estate data of the property, with transparent digital due diligence to be provided by Property DNA.

The end product is enhanced efficiency of the process along with a reduction in cost.

Blockimmo regarded the development as the first step towards further tokenization of properties. It is expected that property tokens will be listed on a regulated exchange by the end of the ongoing year.

Along with Blockimmo, US-based blockchain-supported real estate platform RealBlocks has successfully completed a seed funding round. Reportedly, a decentralized platform tokenizing shares of private equity funds has been developed by the firm.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter: @bitcoinnewscom

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

Want to advertise or get published on BitcoinNews.com? – View our Media Kit PDF here.

Image Courtesy: pexels.com

The post Switzerland Records First Real Estate Deal on Blockchain appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

President Macron Claims Blockchain Can Boost French Agriculture

President Macron Claims Blockchain Can Boost French Agriculture

Speaking at the 56th International Agricultural Fair in Paris, French president Emmanuel Macron has spoken of the benefits that can be brought to the industry by the utilization of blockchain technologies.

President Macron has asserted that both the agricultural industry in France as well as the food industry, in general, will gain through the integration of blockchain:

“Let’s do this in Europe, [be at the] the vanguard of agricultural data by developing tools that will track every product from raw material production to packaging and processing.”

The French president urged the EU to embrace the use of blockchain in order to tap into the potential which exists in both of these markets. Last year, the French government announced a partnership with IBM regarding its Pathways to Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) education system. This included the development of new skills in data science, cloud computing, internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain. The push forward on blockchain would see new graduates and experienced technical professionals filling the new vacancies created by the new government-led drive.

President Macron suggests that the successful use of blockchain in both the agricultural and food industries could see a trickle-down effect in other areas, arguing, “The innovation is there and it must be used in the agricultural world as doing so would both bring shared excellence and offer benefits to consumers.”

UNICEF France, who has already started accepting cryptocurrency donations for a number of its programs, is equally positive. Executive Director Sebastien Lyon commented: “Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology for charitable purposes offer a new opportunity to appeal to the generosity of the public and continue to develop our actions with children in our country of intervention.”

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter: @bitcoinnewscom

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

Want to advertise or get published on BitcoinNews.com? – View our Media Kit PDF here.

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

The post President Macron Claims Blockchain Can Boost French Agriculture appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 23rd February to 2nd March 2019

Europe

Europe

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.

Russia

President Vladimir Putin Sets July 1 Deadline for Crypto Regulations: The President of Russia Vladimir Putin has instructed the Federal Assembly to set a deadline of 1 July to come up with the regulatory framework for digital asset regulation in the country. The move comes after months of indecisive attitude of the local financial watchdogs when it comes to cryptocurrency regulation.

Until now, only a working draft has been prepared with several shortcomings that have been criticized by many leading cryptopreneurs and enthusiasts.

Malta

IMF Suggest That Malta’s Current AML and CFT Regulations Are Insufficient: The international monetary watchdog International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently stated that there are some shortcomings when it comes to Malta’s Financing of Terrorism (CFT) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) regulations. The Times of Malta reported the news after IMF released a comprehensive report on the country’s regulatory and supervisory framework including an assessment of its financial system.

The IMF recommended a multi-faceted approach for these deficiencies in the CFT/AML regulations. Screenings of beneficiary owner information and monitoring of risk-sensitive accounts including digital assets like cryptocurrencies should be among the top priorities of the government according to the IMF.

Malta has some of the most progressive laws when it comes to cryptocurrencies but due to the transnational nature of these new assets, contemporary financial authorities are wary of the threat it brings.

Germany

Derivatives Exchange Considering Crypto Futures Contracts: German derivatives market Eurex has been rumoured to soon start new futures contracts according to local news. The exchange is supposedly considering Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple for these said contracts.

While no official comments have been made by the exchange itself regarding the bold move, news outlets reported that the exchange’s management is working behind the scenes with marketing experts and others regarding these futures contracts.

Ukraine

Government Completes Pilot for e-Hyrvnia Currency: The government of Ukraine with the help of the country’s Central bank has announced the successful culmination of a pilot program for a national digital currency project.

The news was broken by the Head of Payments Network of the National Bank of Ukraine Aleksandr Yablunivsky. The pilot project itself was launched in December 2018. However, Yablunivsky rejected the notion that the new currency was a cryptocurrency. He claims it is just a project to reduce the reliance on cash in the local market.

European Union

Regulatory Head Seeks More Control of the Cryptocurrency Markets: Steven Maijoor, the current head of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has said that he supports further regulation of cryptocurrency assets in the Union.

According to Maijoor:

“Where crypto assets do not qualify as financial instruments, we are concerned that the absence of applicable financial rules leaves consumers exposed to substantial risks,”

It is yet unclear what Maijoor is proposing as part of a further regulatory package. The EU currently has one of the toughest cryptocurrency regulation in the world and it is believed that the central working committee will propose further tightening of regulations like Anti Money Laundering to include cryptocurrency transactions from one asset to another and not just crypto-fiat transactions. Cryptocurrencies have overall become a major headache for European countries who are torn between supporting the new asset class and ensuring governments’ control over it.

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter: @BitcoinNewsCom

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

Want to advertise or get published on BitcoinNews.com? – View our Media Kit PDF here.

Image Courtesy:BitcoinNews.com

The post Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 23rd February to 2nd March 2019 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

IMF Suggets That Malta Has Insufficient AML and CFT Regulation

Malta

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recommended immediate action on some critical gaps in Malta’s supervision for combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML). Times of Malta reported the news on 28 February 2019.

The IMF issued a comprehensive report (Financial System Stability Assessment Report) summarizing the quality of regulatory and supervisory framework in Malta, an assessment of its financial system and its ability to overcome the financial crisis.

IMF maintained that in order to address AML/CFT deficiencies, a multipronged approach is required. Moreover, financial stability can be affected by financial integrity risks. An efficient AML/CFT system is needed to safeguard the financial sector and broader economy against potential terrorist financing or money laundering threats.

Screening processes for beneficiary owner information are required according to the report. Moreover, monitoring risk-sensitive accounts such as digital assets, IIP-related funds, and e-gaming is the need of the hour.

In order to supervise blockchain related service providers, employment of more resources was recommended by the IMF.  The report stated that the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) needs to upgrade its operational capacity to face the challenges of monitoring the increasing number of licensed financial institutions in an evolving regulatory setup.

Due to its crypto friendly and blockchain supportive environment, Malta is renowned all over the world. However, the IMF has raised concerns over possible AML compliance violations. In January, IMF maintained that due to the rapid growth of Malta’s financial sector, MFSA is under “considerable strain”. The IMF may have become wary of the success of Malta in the cryptocurrency field and might look to tighten its control in order to slow down the crypto adoption process.

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter: @BitcoinNewsCom

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

Want to advertise or get published on BitcoinNews.com? – View our Media Kit PDF here.

Image Courtesy: