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Brexit, Binance and Bitcoin: A New Era for Crypto in the UK?

Brexit, Binance and Bitcoin: A New Era for Crypto in the UK?

With the clock ticking on Britain’s much-debated exit from membership of the EU and all that means if a decision is finally agreed by September, where will this leave the UK in European Crypto Space? In a position of strength, or cut-off from its legislative support on the other side of the channel?

Well, no man is an island according to English metaphysical poet John Donne, but at this moment in time, it appears that the UK is digging its own hole in the sand as each week passes towards the latest agreed date of departure, when Great Britain and Northern Ireland hopefully get its rules back from the longtime European partners; the leaver’s much heralded and acclaimed  “taking back control.”

Does this even matter when it comes to cryptocurrency trading? In the UK the banks are aware of it, the Bank of England is monitoring it, and the man on the street pretty much knows about it. Bitcoin continues to be classified as private money, with VAT applied and also subject to capital gains tax, where profits and losses are involved.

However-and Britain has illustrated with great clarity to a dumbfounded Europe with its Brexit machinations-it is often slow to make decisions and enforce regulations; in fact, the UK now risks falling behind its European partners regarding cryptocurrency regulations unless it acts with more clarity and decisiveness, and guess who has taken up the leading role in this regard? The French…that must hurt.

Yes, the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) did release a recent update of its progress which is currently in the hands of the specially selected Cryptoassets Taskforce.  However, a series of final guidelines or policy guidelines are still awaited from the FSA after the release of this consultation paper as far as regulatory dynamics go. With France now happy to lead Europe on a regulatory charge, Britain could be left counting its fingers after Brexit.

There are those in the UK however who like what they see in terms of crypto’s future after Brexit. Mike Romanov chief executive of Digital Securities Exchange (DSX) feels it can continue its dominance in the financial markets and crypto could come under the UK rather than EU legislative control. Others see an opportunity too, with a dent left in the Euro cryptocurrency market as Britain goes into its own crypto shell, out of reach from the EU’s legislative grasp, opening the door for new smaller players outside of the EU to leap in and plug some holes.

This is the Bitcoin bull’s stance, Britain hopes for friendlier digital currency regulations than it has at present. Another consideration is what might happen to the price of BTC with the impact of a final departure or possible vote to remain (the usual suspects) this year. There is a general feeling that it is simply the Brexit debate which is pinning the economy down and any kind of departure from this pain will be a release for both traditional and digital financial markets. According to the Bank of England, the economy has been shedding about £800M every week since they made the verdict in 2016.

There is one man who is just happy at what he sees, and if it continues, well then long may it do so. Enter Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao who, having now set up in Jersey is in the right place at the right time; well located for Europeans and Brits alike, whatever the outcome. With the existing offshore legal and regulatory framework for cryptocurrency, it is made to measure, given that there is now more than just a hint that Brits could turn to cryptocurrency come the predicted economic fallout given a no deal Brexit this year, and for this event, Zhao sees himself in the front line.

When it comes to crypto, the front line is always the place to be.

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France Will Push EU to Adopt New Crypto Regulatory Framework

France Will Push EU to Adopt New Crypto Regulatory Framework

France is keen for her European Union neighbors to adopt a similar framework for cryptocurrency to its own newly- formed financial sector legislation.

Its new laws have been structured to keep the Finance Ministry, exchanges, and traders satisfied that there is a little bit of harmony for all, and a relief for many traders who have been expecting a tightening of cryptocurrency guidelines this year.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire clearly wants to share the joy with the rest of Europe, although at this stage it seems unlikely that the UK would come on board with Brexit and European elections looming. France has jumped to head of the Euro queue in adopting a national regulatory framework and sees this as a solution for the other 26, or possibly 27. Le Maire commented:

“I will propose to my European partners that we set up a single regulatory framework on crypto-assets inspired by the French experience.”

Le Maire is clearly confident, adding that “our model is the right one”, although it remains to be seen how this suggestion will be greeted by other EU members.

The French government’s new cryptocurrency bill will now give the opportunity for startups and platforms that want to issue new cryptocurrencies or trade existing ones to apply for a certification giving companies official state recognition. This means that the rest of Europe will now be playing catchup. The certification will be granted by French market regulator and issuers, traders, custodians, and investors will have to pay taxes on their profits.

Transparency is seen as key by the French Finance Ministry and those applying for certification under the new rules will need to be thorough in furnishing business plans, AML, KYC, and be clear about exactly who is conducting and overseeing the business. Those not choosing to seek registration could be left in a vulnerable position.

 

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French Journalist Sets Up Notre Dame Bitcoin Fund

French Journalist Sets Up Notre Dame Bitcoin Fund

Following the tragic fire that ravaged the famous Notre-Dame de Paris (Notre Dame) cathedral in Paris yesterday evening, French blockchain journalist Grégory Raymond has launched a Bitcoin fund to raise money for the reconstruction of one of the most-recognized landmarks in the French capital.

The editor of Brief.me is a known Bitcoin advocate, author of the #21 Millions podcast and also founded the Facebook group “The Bitcoin Club”.

Earlier, French president Emmanuel Macron vowed on national television to rebuild the stricken cathedral, which lost its trademark spire and roof to the fire. In nationalist support, Raymond has Tweeted out a Bitcoin address under the hashtag #bitcoinforNotreDame.

President @EmmanuelMacron has announced a subscription to rebuild #NotreDame. Hey bitcoiners, let’s prove to the french authorities #Bitcoin can be an amazing way to send funds quickly, without border and for a good cause ! #bitcoinfornotredame 1JX3k1e1acXENqoKqaAtKKEdE9C2j4WsDB pic.twitter.com/Xu1zULMqL1

— Grégory Raymond (@gregory_raymond) April 15, 2019

It remains to be seen whether or not the French government would welcome such a move, given its recent domestic disputes with the Mouvement des gilets jaunes (yellow vest movement) calling for economic justice. The movement has allied itself with cryptocurrency, including its own Gilet Jaune Coin.

For now, however, the crypto community appears to be showing solidarity with the event, with comments on the Tweet calling on “bitcoiners and shitcoiners” to unite and support the cause.

As of the time of writing, the Tweet has been shared out almost 100 times, with comments generally being positive. A quick look up on the Bitcoin blockchain shows that the wallet address 1JX3k1e1acXENqoKqaAtKKEdE9C2j4WsDB has already received four transactions amounting to BTC 0.02 (over USD 100).

 

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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.

 

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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.”

 

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HSBC Whistleblower Is Developing His Own Cryptocurrency

Hervé Falciani, the French-Italian whistleblower who helped track down tax evaders with 130,00 Swiss bank accounts in the 2008 Valencia Polytechnic University crash, is to launch a new cryptocurrency.

Falciani became renowned as the HSBC ex-employee turned whistleblower who provided several European countries classified information on thousands of Swiss bank clients who were evading taxes, most of which were managed by a subsidiary of his employers at the time, HSBC Private Bank.

He created what became known as the “Lagarde list” of HSBC account holders who allegedly used the financial institution’s services for money laundering and tax evasion, leaking the list to the current International Monetary Fund (IMF) head, Christine Lagarde, who was French finance minister at the time.

Continuing his anti-banking crusade, Falciani has now fallen back on crypto to clean up the financial space, by creating his own cryptocurrency – Tabu, which has been developed by ‘Tactical Whistleblowers’, a non-profit organization founded by Falciani.

To date, the Tabu token project has raised €1.3 million (appr. $1.47 million), however, an additional €2 million of capital is required in order to ensure adequate funding for the project’s ongoing development. Falciani’s mission is to cut corruption caused by what he sees as inefficiencies of the traditional banking documentation system, by also developing a blockchain powered registration system.

Tactical Whistleblowers, with its HQ in Valencia, is comprised of several academics with a strong background in Mathematics from the Valencia Polytechnic University.

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Ledger: Market Still Here for Hardware Wallets

Ledger: Market Still Here for Hardware Wallets

Eric Larchevêque, CEO of French hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger, has said that he is optimistic for the future of the cryptocurrency industry, as he prepares for “a whole new generation of consumers”.

However, Larchevêque claims that education is still an area of concern when it comes to storage of cryptocurrencies, and many users fall short of protecting their funds adequately. Referring to the Cryptopia hack and various other losses in 2018 which amounted to almost USD 1 billion, Ledger’s CEO believes that people still don’t know how to protect their funds.

Speaking about the current volatile situation on the streets of some of France’s major cities in protest of current government moves to regulate industry working guidelines, Larchevêque said that the media had really hyped up the Bitcoin factor:

“I think that this call to take the money out of the banks and the protester with the ‘Buy Bitcoin’ sign is something that’s been exaggerated a lot by the media… The yellow vests do not really know about Bitcoin and they do not really think that cryptocurrency will solve their problems.”

He says that France is still not at the forefront of cryptocurrency adoption but government regulations are at least moving in the right direction. As for his own company, he admits that the bear market has impacted on product sales, but due to the cyclic history of cryptocurrency the company has simply scaled down ahead of the next bull market.

Given that Black Friday sales of the Nano S in November 2018 were almost on a par with 2017, the CEO admits that “the situation is still quite good”. He adds, “There is still a need for a new generation of hardware wallet and consumers are still ready to invest and buy new products. The market is still here.”

 

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Jimmy Song Suggests Bitcoin as Tool for “Peaceful Revolution”

Jimmy Song Suggests Bitcoin as Tool for

Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song has pointed the finger towards recent Gilets Jaunes (yellow vests) protesters in Paris as an illustration of how big government mismanagement can be overcome by using the right tools, but not by violence.

Song suggests that the missing tool, not yet being utilized by the French in anti-government protests, is cryptocurrency, believing that currencies such as Bitcoin are potentially powerful weapons in staging a “peaceful revolution”. He argued in a recent interview, “If you have government and big business get together, they usually get what they want.”

But according to Song this can be overcome by using the “currency of resistance”, adding that “the biggest thing Bitcoin brings is the decentralization of monetary power”.

Song claims that the way for such groups to gain the voice of resistance, is to take the power away from, banks, corporations, and plutocrats through decentralization: “That’s the thing that a lot of people don’t recognize: Monetary power is the big force in the world.”

The outspoken crypto developer has advice for those gilet jaunes taking to the street with bottles and rocks to protest against the current Macron government: focus on Bitcoin as the first step towards decentralized money; a step toward curbing the dominance of centralized banking.

Bitcoin in the Yellow Vest / Gilet Jaune mouvement #France #YellowVests #Bitcoin #cryptocurrency #revolutionfrancaise #revolution pic.twitter.com/FMP21cSpp6

— Crypto Kether (@R3I3ntI3ss) December 1, 2018

As for the current cryptocurrency bear market, Song maintains that productivity is far more likely than in periods when the market is bullish, suggesting that when the market is surging, developers are distracted by rising Bitcoin prices and focused purely on money instead of creating useful goods and services and working towards innovation.

 

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Paris Mural Bitcoin Puzzle Solved

Paris Mural Bitcoin Puzzle Solved

French crypto artist Pascal Boyart‘s Bitcoin competition came to an end yesterday when two diligent participants cracked the code, winning USD 1,000 in BTC.

Boyart set the challenge seven days ago hiding the public keys to the BTC in his mural based on Delacroix’s original “Liberty Leading the People” in honor of yellow vest protesters standing up against government cuts in streets of Paris. The art was located at 156 rue d’Aubervilliers.

Boyart is well known in the cryptosphere thanks to a graffiti mural he painted last year that included a QR code connected to his Bitcoin wallet so people could make donations to him. His initiative reportedly earned him USD 1,000 from donors. Boyart Retweeted yesterday that two winners had stepped forward and claimed the Bitcoin after discovering the 12 hidden seed phrases hidden in the mural revealing them the private key:

Deux personnes ont percé le mystère de la fresque «#Giletsjaunes» réalisée par PBOY. Ils ont trouvé la clé privée composée de 12 mots et débloqué 0,2891 #BTC, soit environ 890€ au cours actuel :https://t.co/9yBYDwBkTB

— Cryptonaute (@cryptonaute_fr) January 14, 2019

The answer

The inscriptions that are revealed with black light:

In the fluorescent inscriptions, ATOUT, JPAVFLU, Y29uZHVpcmU=, dHJpb21waGU=, mq+cC6Ax2+8R8LAnEWgQnA ==

The first two words are encoded in Caesar cipher. With respectively a shift of 20 and 19, therefore =union citizen The next two are Base64 encoded= lead triumph

And the last two are encrypted in 128bit AES with unlock key that was communicated to those who had found the fluorescent writings. This key is: 03012009 (Genesis Bitcoin Block Date in EU order).

Once deciphered, the code is + horizon yellow = “banker usury lie people fight hope union citizen lead triumph horizon yellow”.

 

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France’s Yellow Vests Movement to Use Cryptocurrencies for Their Bank Initiative

Yellow Vests

The Gilets Jaunes, also known as The Yellow Vests may use cryptocurrencies to power their “bank run.” The banking move was announced on 7 January, aiming at the destabilization of France’s financial system by using social media accounts.

The movement has termed the bank run as a “Collectors’ Referendum.” In this latest demonstration, the public is expected to withdraw their savings from the banks and other financial institutions, at once, on 12 January. Although no mentions of the cryptocurrencies have been made yet, the demonstration can potentially benefit the cryptocurrency sector.

The bank run is indeed an act in which a lot of people withdraw their money from a particular bank. It is usually done when the public fears that the respective bank might not be able to function in the future.

In such a situation, the public may use bonds, insurances, gold or cryptocurrencies in place of the fiat currency. The decentralized structure of the blockchain technology, offering independence from banks, is certainly attractive because banks are closing up in the French small towns where the yellow vest movement draws most of its strength from. Along with that, some protestors were recently seen wearing the Yellow Vests saying “Buy Bitcoin”.

So it can be expected that the Yellow Vests may ask their supporters to turn towards cryptocurrencies. Recently, the success of blockchain-based money transfers in Venezuela has shown a way to the public across the world to opt for blockchain in a state of political turmoil.

Although the Yellow Vests may have taken the inspiration from history, it is important to note that in the past, bank runs happened due to uncertainty and rumors rather than on a voluntary basis. For example, the bank runs during the Great Depression and recently in the 2007-08 financial crises happened naturally. Hence, it would be a challenge to pull out such a grand scale bank run. Nevertheless, the cryptoverse may eye such an opportunity and show the world its true potential.

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