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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 3rd to 9th August 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

Rich Dad, Poor Dad author believes crypto is the future as fiat will crash: Popular author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad Robert Kiyosaki has said that there is a fiat crisis in the making and cryptocurrency will soon become the sole solution to a US dollar bubble that will cause a big financial crisis.

The book, written in 1997, outlines the importance of financial literacy and independence through assets investment, real estate investment and entrepreneurship. The critically-acclaimed author now believes that the US dollar is on its last legs when it comes to long-term financial scenario and its after-effects will be bigger than the 2000 dot.com crash and the real estate crash of 2008. Cryptocurrencies offer a respite because of their higher transparency.

SEC postpones decision on Bitcoin ETFs causing massive price tank: Cryptocurrency prices took a major hit when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) postponed any announcements on Bitcoin ETFs till 30 September this year.

The most popular cryptocurrency in the world dropped from a three-month high of USD 8,400 to USD 6,200 in a matter of two days when the SEC announced a 92-page rejection letter for the Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF that uses Bitcoin in reserves of cash. The announcement showed that the future of Bitcoin ETFs is rather bleak in the country thus resulting in a selling spree by the investors who had obviously bet on other outcomes.

Texas mining facility starts US expansion drive by Bitmain: Bitmain, the largest Bitcoin ASIC manufacturer, has announced further US expansion drive with Texas selected as the next location for its mining facility.

Rockdale, Texas will benefit from FDI of over USD 500 million in the next seven years from Bitmain with plans of launching mining operations as early as 2019. The investment will also create job opportunities for 400 more people in the Texas blockchain data center as well.

Goldman Sachs custodial expected in near future: Rumors regarding some of the largest Wall Street banks and their experiments with cryptocurrencies are abuzz as an unconfirmed story regarding Goldman Sachs states that the group is considering crypto custody for the benefit of its clients.

The change in approach by the bank which was anti-crypto a while ago shows the effects of change of leadership with new head David Solomon. His target is to evolve the business and adapt to the environment, something that is not normally associated with a large, conventional fiat bank.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte is first to declare crypto holdings: US congressman from Virginia’s sixth congressional district Bob Goodlatte is the first to declare crypto holdings.

Goodlatte, who currently is the chair of House Judiciary committee, made this disclosure back on 10 May but was only investigated recently. The congressman holds USD 50,000 worth of BTC in addition to having smaller BCH and ETH holdings of USD 1,000 and USD 15,000 each.

The reason for the disclosure was a result of Congressional Blockchain Legal Advisory’s request to all employees of the executive branch to declare cryptocurrency holdings.

US military servicemen to vote with blockchain app: US overseas military personnel will have the option to vote for their candidate in various elections with the help of a new blockchain app.

The move comes after the US government is making amends for crippling attacks allegedly done by Russian hackers on the election network in the country. With the help of blockchain technology, the election office of the US hopes to increase transparency and security in the process.

Canada

Mining project threatening Canada’s carbon-neutral electricity generation: Canada may have to forgo its carbon-neutral power generation policy in the face of countless numbers of mining companies setting up shop in the country.

Cryptocurrency mining is an extremely resource intensive process and often relies on low electricity prices. The abundance of local hydro power generating units meant that Canada felt confident while inviting mining companies but once the situation went out of control, the government sought other means of electricity generation that could include processes with higher emissions.

Electricity providers like HydroQuebec are fighting back and rationing the electricity usage of miners.

Mexico

Central bank issuing new rules for crypto exchanges: The Bank of Mexico is setting new rules for cryptocurrency exchanges and traders in the country according to a two-page document released by the governing bank.

The new regulation asks financial institutions to stop using regular bank accounts for cryptocurrency exchanges. The move comes in the backdrop of a few serious cyber attacks in cryptocurrency exchanges in the country including a latest one that resulted in 500,00 users being hacked.

 

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The post North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 3rd to 9th August 2018 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 27th July to 2nd August 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

Morpheus Titania Bitcoin dealer case shows lengths of US law enforcement: Arizona Bitcoin dealer Mario Costanzo working under an alias Morpheus Titania has been sentenced to 41 months in prison for five counts of money laundering and drug trafficking showing the reach of the US law enforcement when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

The case is in stark contrast to the belief that law enforcement has limited means to tackle cryptocurrency related crimes and endeavors. Costanzo’s problems with the law started back in 2015 with a felony conviction for Marijuana possession, a substance illegal in the state. His home was also raided back in April 2017 but no incriminating evidence was found except for three boxes of bullets. An eventual undercover operation led to his damnation and arrest.

Walton College in Arkansas announces blockchain courses: The University of Arkansas is the latest educational institute in USA to offer blockchain educational courses at its Sam M Walton College of Business.

The university is aiming to study the rapidly penetrating technology and is aiming to prepare its students for a decentralized future. Walton College Dean Matt Waller said:

“We will develop and establish research partnerships by conducting collaborative industry-university research, we will promote and enable dissemination of knowledge about blockchains, and we will accelerate industry adoption of blockchain technology.”

The university joins the likes of Stanford, NY University, Berkeley, and other educational centers across USA in provision of blockchain technology education.

Wall Street research organization Fundstrat to accept Bitcoin: Interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies is increasing in Wall Street as a leading independent research organization FundStrat announced that it is going to accept Bitcoin from global clients.

The recent trends from Wall Street show that is that it is very receptive to cryptocurrencies but still figuring out how best to adopt it. Banks like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and others are still considering cryptocurrencies.

Wells Fargo poll shows skepticism still retained by US investors for crypto: Financial services giant Wells Fargo has conducted its own poll that shows that a 72% majority still has a skeptical opinion regarding Bitcoin and don’t wish to buy it. About 75%, on the other hand, believe that cryptocurrencies are very risky.

The poll consisted of 1,912 adults in the US who had more USD 10,000 or more invested in stocks, bonds or mutual funds. Some 26% of the respondents were intrigued by cryptocurrencies but won’t be buying soon and only 2% owned Bitcoin themselves and 0.5% hoped to buy some in the near future.

Morgan Creek Capital CEO says Bitcoin will reach $25,000 by the end of 2018: Morgan Creek Capital CEO Mark W Yusko has said that Bitcoin will probably reach USD 25,000 by the year’s end and as much as USD 500,000 by 2024 and USD 1 million eventually.

While insane price forecasts by people are not based on any data, it reminds people that great future lies ahead for cryptocurrencies according to many top investors in the world.

Trade war could be real reason behind Bitcoin rally: According to CEO of ADVEN Clem Chambers, the devaluation of the Chinese yen and the trade war between the US and China is the reason behind the latest price rally of Bitcoin.

Chambers also compared Bitcoin to gold that people hoard when fiat currencies are down. He also said that Bitcoin is like gold but a lot better in many ways because of its instant transfer capability.

SEC Commissioner says ETF rejection hurts investors, stifles innovation: A Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) commissioner Hester Pierce who voted in favor of ETFs has come out and said that the restrictions on ETFs will hurt innovation and investors in the space.

The ETF case was heard by the SEC that eventually rejected the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust Fund’s ETF in a 92-page document. Pierce who supported the ETFs said:

“The Commission’s action today deprives investors of this choice. I reject the role of gatekeeper of innovation—a role very different from (and, indeed, inconsistent with) our mission of protecting investors, fostering capital formation, and facilitating fair, orderly, and efficient markets. Accordingly, I dissent.”

The divide in SEC is evident but anti-Bitcoin forces seem to be dominant right now.

Mexico

Government to conduct first procurement procedure on blockchain: The Mexican government has announced that a project first started in a Mexican hackathon has now been implemented via a blockchain network.

The move will be a first in the country and will hope to bring transparency in the public sector.

Canada

Bank of Canada restarts debate on implementation of central bank crypto: A new paper published by the Bank of Canada bring forth a positive argument for the implementation of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

The author Mohammad R Davoodalhosseini believes that introduction of a CBDC “can lead to an increase of up to 0.64% in consumption for Canada and up to 1.6% for the US, compared with their respective economies if only cash is used”.

 

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 20th to 26th July 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

CFTC Chair says lack of regulations stifling US blockchain development: At a recent United States Congressional hearing, the chairman of Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has said that the need for blockchain development is apparent but that lack of regulations are hampering the current development.

The committee’s agenda for the public hearing was regarding CFTC and Christopher Giancarlo, the Chairman of CFTC, said that his organization couldn’t participate in Proof of Concept (PoC) or beta tests for new blockchain innovations because of no laws protecting the space.

Overall, Giancarlo was of the view that the US may fall behind in the crucial technology of the future and how it was the regulators’ job to come up with the right regulations in the space.

Winklevoss twins ‘Bitcoin Billionaires’ book to come out in 2019: Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the twins from the infamous Facebook litigation case that settled for USD 65 million, are the feature of a new book called ‘Bitcoin Billionaires’, the rights for which have been bought by Little Brown’s publishing director. A possible Hollywood film may also be in the cards as well, according to latest reports.

The Winklevoss twins have tasted immense success with the Bitcoin market as they are the co-founders of the cryptocurrency trading platform Gemini and started hodling Bitcoin back when it was just USD 6. They were the first registered Bitcoin billionaires in the world and hence the name of the book.

The book primarily revolves around their dealings with the SEC, Bitcoin and the establishment creating issues for them. It also shows a new aspect of their relationship with Facebook.

CNBC’s Brian Kelly says Bitcoin is not going away: While the mainstream media is always abuzz with allegations that cryptocurrencies are a Ponzi scheme or too risky of an investment, Brian Kelly of CNBC has chipped in and said that the Bitcoin market is not going anywhere and it will remain bullish for a long time.

The renowned news presenter said that the signs are looking good for the premier cryptocurrency in the world and the recent price surge could be the start of a long-awaited run for the crypto market that has seen its value plummet by almost a third since the start of the calendar year. Kelly also talked in length about Bitcoin’s past, present and future struggles with the SEC, including the famous 2013 case involving Bitcoin billionaires, the Winklevoss twins.

He said: “Institutions are starting to get serious. I can tell you from the calls I am getting. People who looked at [BTC] in December did not like the price. They are coming back now and saying, “Alright this thing is not going away. We need to understand what it is”.”

Ex-JP Morgan banker says avoiding financial crisis may depend on blockchain: An ex-JP Morgan banking executive has said that blockchain technology could hold the key to avoiding another financial crisis.

Pang Huodong, the ex-VP of North American investment firm and bank JP Morgan, said at the Asian Blockchain Institute (of which he is an honorary member) that blockchain technology could have the key for installing faith back into the financial market after the horrendous crash of 2008.

He said: “[When I began to work at JPMorgan in 2007,] 13 people managed [the bank’s] USD 40+ billion [assets]… when the 2008 financial crisis was at its worst, [the] average daily loss was USD 300 million. It is only gradually that I understood that blockchain technology may be the key to avoiding the next global financial crisis.”

He also said that blockchain systems could not only reduce the chances of a financial crisis but also improve the costs associated.

SEC to decide on Bitcoin ETFs by 21 September 2018: The US’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has decided on a date of 21 September 2018 to arrive on a decision regarding Bitcoin Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).

The New York Stock Exchange previously applied to list Direxion Bitcoin-related funds back in January this year. The SEC generally takes a decision within 180 days but has postponed the judgement for 60 days as it is allowed to do so.

If Bitcoin ETFs are approved, a major rally for the biggest cryptocurrency could be on the cards in September.

Johnny Depp may portray Bitcoin billionaire Matthew Mellon in new biopic: Johnny Depp is reportedly considering the role of Matthew Mellon, the late Bitcoin billionaire in a new film that highlights the life of the crypto pioneer.

The film will reportedly cover the family background of Mellon as well as he is the descendant of the founder of the Mellon bank, the largest bank outside Wall Street in the US.

US politician to go ahead with crypto donations despite regulatory hurdles: The Chairman of Wisconsin state libertarian party and candidate for Governor Phir Anderson has announced that he is accepting cryptocurrencies in campaign donations despite expected backlash from competitors and officials.

While Anderson says the law is clear on this as the Federal Election Commission says anything of value can be given as donation, he is required to liquidate the funds into US dollars before using it. However, the Wisconsin Ethics Commission (WEC) was approached by his party to provide formal guidance on the matter as well.

Coinbase turning political with new Public Action Committee (PAC): The US Federal Election Commission revealed that Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, has formed a Public Action Committee to lobby for its interests in the crypto community.

The news is unexpected as it is the first such case of a crypto exchange forming a PAC and getting into politics and lobbying. Coinbase will now try to influence the US congressmen on cryptocurrency regulation especially its own application on becoming a securities trader. A sum of USD 78,000 has already been spent on Brian Forde, the congressional candidate and former advisor to ex-President Barack Obama.

Canada

58% of Canadians hodling Bitcoin: A recent study by the Bank of Canada has suggested that more than 58% of Canadian investors are hodling cryptocurrencies to sell it later on.

The study was published on 23 July 2018 but is based on Bitcoin practices in 2017. The Bitcoin Omnibus Survey (BTCOS) was also conducted in 2016 and that time, it was found that the primary function of Bitcoin by Canadians was online transactions only.

Some 12% of Canadians surveyed also said that they were involved in it due to friends and family being involved while 7% said that they were investing in it because of it being a new technology.

Canada is becoming more attractive to blockchain and cryptocurrency startups from around the world due to helpful regulation.

Hydro-Quebec announces vision for crypto mining: Quebec, Canada’s electricity-rich province, may be fast becoming the hub of cryptocurrency mining in the region but due to ever-increasing demand for electricity by miners, the electric company Hydro-Quebec tried to address some of the concerns raised by the crypto community.

A total of 500 MW of surplus electricity has been set out by the power company for mining purposes and the company will be able to shut the miners down for 300 hours a year maximum to account for peak times of the year.

Most of the concerns were raised by non-mining companies who actually said that the mining companies were becoming a concern for them due to their electricity-hungry operations.

 

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 5th to 12th July 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

Facebook creates blockchain director post: Facebook has joined in the blockchain bandwagon by creating a Blockchain Director position that will work on future blockchain applications. The new position will be headed by Evan Chang and a series of development will be undertaken that will be a precursor to blockchain technology integration by the most popular social media channel. Another post, a VP of product blockchain was also recently created by Facebook and Kevin Neil was appointed on the position, formerly Instagram’s VP of product.

The trend follows latest developments in the mammoth Facebook social media empire that usually involve hiring people with powerful skillsets to blockchain positions. It shows that Facebook is at last taking the technology seriously. It seems only a matter of time before Facebook starts implementing blockchain technology within its ecosystem.

YouTube sued for negligence in BitConnect scheme: BitConnect, one of the biggest ponzi schemes to emerge from the crypto community, is cause for a big legal battle. Youtube is also now being sued for millions of dollars considering it ran 70,000 hours of advertisements on BitConnect which netted in thousands of victims.

The founder of the Silver Miller law firm that launched action against BitConnect said:

“The platform allowed BitConnect to reach hundreds of thousands of potential investors, all while YouTube was aware that BitConnect was a scam. As the old saying goes: Sometimes when you lie down with dogs, you get fleas.”

BitConnect offered unrealistic interest rates of around 40% per month with additional 0.25% rates applicable for people who invested more than USD 10,000. BitConnect has so far announced that it will repay all its loans with BCC but that was termed a malicious move as they did so after the announcement by which the coin had lost 99% of its value.

First home sold for Bitcoin in North East United States: The US state of Delaware saw the sale of a luxury home for around BTC 208. This is not just the first home sold in Delaware but the entire North Eastern United States.

The luxury home is on a 4.2-acre plot in Newark, Delaware and more of a mansion than a regular house complete with its own pool, wine cellar and theater. According to the agent who sold the house:

“I sold the Bitcoin house! Not only the first property offering Bitcoin payment support in Delaware, but the entire North East region and one of the only properties in the world. As I continue to scale a growing real estate practice across three, soon five states. I look forward to further disrupting an industry stuck in the 20th century.”

The move shows Bitcoin’s capability of becoming a payment alternative especially when huge sums of money are involved.

Bermuda

Revised banking act to prioritize blockchain startups: Bermudan officials are adopting laws that are in favor of blockchain and fintech companies. The banking act closely follows the ICO bill recently passed by the Bermudan government to help ICOs.

The new banking legislation will create a new class of banks that will work to cater to the needs of blockchain and fintech companies. As of now, the conventional banking setup in Bermuda had been hesitant to get involved in the blockchain space just like everywhere else around the world. The banks also found legal loopholes to create justification for this practice of non-compliance so the new legislation was justified for the progress of cryptocurrencies in this world.

Finance Minister David Burt voted to amend these laws as he was in favor of making Bermuda one of the global blockchain hotspots. He also noted that the lack of banking services for the industry were making things problematic and the change was warranted for crucial development. Burt also helped push the previous ICO regulations that allowed the ministry of finance to approve each ICO that aimed to launch from its shores.

He also created a local blockchain task force to ensure a hospitable environment for the cryptocurrency scene to flourish in Bermuda. An MoU was also signed between Bermuda government and Binance for future cooperation that involved USD 10 million in university blockchain development and USD 5 million investment in local companies.

Canada

Hydro-Quebec issuing new rules for crypto mining on its electricity: Hydro-Quebec and its affected power supply routines have once again made the headlines as the company has issued new guidelines for cryptocurrency mining in the state.

Under the new rules, 500 MW of power will be reserved for cryptocurrency miners with a minimum rate of 1 Canadian penny for the miners. In addition, the company will also be able to shut off electricity for a maximum of 30 hours to the crypto community to adjust the load of customers in a possible shortage situation. The total power generation of Hydro-Quebec is 36,912 MW so only a small percentage is being allotted for miners that will fall way below their expectations from the state.

 

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 22nd to 28th June 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

Facebook goes back on crypto ad ban: Social media giant Facebook has announced that it is overturning an earlier decision to ban cryptocurrency ads on the social media network.

According to the company, new guidelines for ICOs and other coin projects will be adopted as they were adopted by other platforms including Twitter, Google and other major social media platform owners. Facebook will now check to see whether a coin project is registered and licensed before allowing it to run crypto related ads.

According to the extensive blog post: “In the last few months, we’ve looked at the best way to refine this policy — to allow some ads while also working to ensure that they’re safe… So starting June 26, we’ll be updating our policy to allow ads that promote cryptocurrency and related content from pre-approved advertisers. But we’ll continue to prohibit ads that promote binary options and initial coin offerings.”

Big money coming from ICOs is likely to be a reason behind the overturning of the earlier decision.

Floria to appoint cryptocurrency chief: Jimmy Patronis, the chief financial officer of the state of Florida, has said that a cryptocurrency chief will be appointed.

The GDP of Florida is around USD 1 trillion and establishment of a cryptocurrency chief will help protect the citizens from potential scams.

“We cannot allow the cryptocurrency industry to expand in Florida unfettered and unchecked with the potential for so many, including our large population of seniors, to be exploited. By taking an active, comprehensive and balanced approach, our state will provide an appropriate level of scrutiny for emerging digital asset technologies. It is absolutely essential that Florida create safeguards to protect our consumers from fraud,” said Patronis.

Crypto-related frauds have caused a lot of problems in the past and now the state is looking to right the wrongs by ensuring government oversight.

Texas saves money through Ethereum blockchain: Texas Public Utilities Commission is going to release a blockchain-based system to buy electricity and is hoping to save public money through it.

A native token called Grid+ token, based on the Ethereum blockchain, is being considered. Through this token, Texans can access wholesale energy markets and be smart about their energy purchases including solar.

Bahamas

Government set on launching state crypto: Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Bahamas Kevin Peter has announced at the Bahamas Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference that government will soon be launching a state-backed cryptocurrency in the country.

“The production of a modern fully digital payment service is the way forward for this era of governance. A digital Bahamian currency is especially important for the many Family Islands as they have seen many commercial banks downsize and pull out of their communities, leaving them without banking services. As an island nation, where transportation can be an inconvenience for many, especially the elderly, and costly, we must offer financial services digitally and securely,” said Peter.

Bahamas currency is directly tied to the US dollar, so a state-backed cryptocurrency could be a bold move by the tiny Caribbean nation.

Canada

Investment organization to propose regulations on crypto: Canadian Investment Industry Regulatory Organization (IIROC) has said that it is going to pursue a regulatory response to blockchain applications within the capital markets ecosystem.

The news came from a June 25 notice issued by the financial monitor that is a non-profit self-regulatory body that serves public interest and promotes level playing field in the financial capital markets.

As part of its vision, it stated: “The potential application of blockchain technology is poised to dramatically alter the very ecosystem that underpins the capital markets. Digital assets such as cryptocurrencies… have already begun to impact the capital markets in significant ways, as potential direct or indirect investments, or in the form of initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, etc.”

The IIROC will focus on new regulatory advice in the near future and will present the draft to the government’s bodies later on.

Bitcoin mining eating up Canada’s electricity: Hydro-Quebec, one of Canada’s electricity providers has tripled prices for Bitcoin mining operations in the area as it embarks on a desperate attempt to stop companies aiming to set up mining operations in the country.

According to Hydro-Quebec’s official Jonathan Cote, more than 300 applications had been tabled with the company asking for an impossible 15,000 MW of power which is equal to almost 1/3 of the total installed capacity of the state.

“It’s really unprecedented. We have not seen any industry come here and so suddenly ask for so much power. People started really knocking at our door about this maybe last fall or winter. Within six months, we had all these requests… we have not seen any industry come here and so suddenly ask for so much power,” said Cote.

 

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