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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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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 8th to 14th 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

Walmart using blockchain to control electricity usage: US retailer Walmart has announced that it has filed a patent application to control electricity usage by integrating cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

The system envisages a fixed amount of cryptocurrency for electricity usage in a house and this cryptocurrency can be used to purchase electricity from a utility company. The system will allow the citizens to control electricity expenditures and thus help the average user to save money.

SEC reluctant to declare crypto as securities due to decentralized operation: The US Securities and Exchange Commission is reluctant to allow cryptocurrencies to be regulated as securities because of their decentralized mode of existence and transfer, according to SEC chief Jay Clayton.

The move echoes similar negative views advocated by SEC and other US regulators against cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are the subject of much debate in the US fintech space and regulatory bodies alike with polarizing opinions hampering the development of the new currencies in the country.

Ex-Trump chief strategist and alt-right blogger Steve Bannon praises crypto: Steve Bannon, ex- Trump White House chief strategist and editor of alt-right blog Breitbart News has advocated the use of cryptocurrencies and said that he has invested a “good stake” in Bitcoin because of its disruptive populist nature.

Bannon, like other anti-establishment Republicans, sees cryptocurrencies as a defining measure of rebelling against the key government institutions that in their view are negatively affecting the US economy.

But the antics of a controversial figure like Bannon will likely to have little impact on the overall cryptocurrency space as his extremist views on almost all positions are an open secret.

Latest US bill tabled to investigate illegal crypto use: Congressman Juan Vargas from California is going to introduce a new bill in the US House of Representatives to tackle illicit use of cryptocurrencies.

The House Committee on Financial Services will debate on the new legislation and if passed, the Comptroller General of the United States will be empowered to investigate illegal cryptocurrency use in the country.

Connecticut joins US blockchain working group: Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut has joined other states in signing on a law that will use a blockchain working group. The working group will study the new tech and see how it can be used to facilitate and enable legislation.

The new group will aim to:

“(1) Identify the economic growth and development opportunities presented by blockchain technology; (2) assess the existing blockchain industry in the state; (3) review workforce needs and academic programs required to build blockchain expertise across all relevant industries; and (4) make legislative recommendations that will help promote innovation and economic growth by reducing barriers to and expediting the expansion of the state’s blockchain industry.”

The move follows other similar ventures by state government across the US to use blockchain technology in improving governance.

US regulators subpoena Coinbase, Kraken and Bitstamp: US Commodities and Future Trading Commission (CFTC) has subpoenaed major coin exchanges including Coinbase, Kraken, Bitstamp and ItBit in a wide-ranging probe involving Bitcoin price manipulation.

The investigation believes that the distorted prices in the futures market point to an abuse by these exchanges. It follows the launch of Bitcoin futures on CME Group’s CME Exchange. The futures are regulated directly by the government and any manipulation in these sectors is under its jurisdiction.

The exchanges weren’t available for comment at the time.

Canada

New draft law requires exchanges to report large crypto transactions to government: A new law is going to be enforced by the government concerning cryptocurrencies to fulfill the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) requirements for Anti Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing prevention.

Among the latest regulations is a new condition that requires cryptocurrency exchanges to report all sizable Bitcoin transactions. There is a growing trend in Canada to get into the cryptocurrency space but there is also a widespread concern that cryptocurrencies could be misused.

 

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 1st to 7th 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

Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea-US Summit possibly sponsored by Potcoin: Cryptocurrency platform PotCoin has announced that it is planning to sponsor the trip of Dennis Rodman to this month’s crucial US-North Korea moot in Singapore according to a PotCoin spokesperson.

While the news may seem incredulous, PotCoin has already sponsored him before in a previous trip to the secret country back in 2017 where only a handful of Americans are allowed to enter each year. According to Dennis Rodman, he is willing to go to Singapore to provide moral support for Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.

Financial regulator says crypto will proliferate to every economy: A commissioner at US Commodities and Future Trading Commission (CFTC) has said that cryptocurrencies are likely to proliferate to economies around the world.

Rostin Benham, the said commissioner called cryptocurrencies a “modern miracle” and “cryptocurrencies will proliferate to every economy and every part of the planet”.

The CFTC declared Bitcoin a commodity as early as 2015 and has since then played a positive role in the regulatory efforts towards cryptocurrencies. Many small economies could also become dependent on cryptocurrencies to exist because of problems in central banking.

John McAfee to run for president based on pro-crypto platform: John McAfee, a leading cryptocurrency protagonist has said announced that he will be running for president in the 2020 US presidential election based on a pro-crypto platform.

In a tweet this week, the outspoken crypto enthusiast said:

“In spite of past refusals, I have decided to again run for POTUS in 2020. If asked again by the Libertarian party, I will run with them. If not, I will create my own party. I believe this will best serve the crypto community by providing the ultimate campaign platform for us.”

It is natural for crypto enthusiasts to run from the Libertarian platform because cryptocurrency is based on a free market model. The responding Twitterati generally held a positive view for him in response.

Steve Wozniak prefers Bitcoin to all other crypto: Apple co-founder and innovator Steve Wozniak has said that he is excited about Bitcoin more than any other cryptocurrency and hopes that it becomes a global cryptocurrency of the future.

Wozniak made these comments during a CNBC interview on 4 June at the Money 20/20 conference in Amsterdam. He also predicted a massive hike in price for Bitcoin in the future.

Google set to ban all cryptocurrency ads from this month: Google is going to ban all cryptocurrency related adverts from its vast ad network by the end of June 2018 according to a financial products policy releasde by the tech giant.

Google initially wanted to ban all ICOs only but the ban will now encompass all cryptocurrency products including legal cryptocurrency exchanges, wallets and crypto trading and futures services. This massive ban is seen as a negative development for the future of the cryptoverse.

New York legislators deliberating over crypto task force: New York is looking to follow the footsteps of places like the United Kingdom by setting up a cryptocurrency task force according to the latest bill presented in the state legislature.

New York’s already tough laws for cryptocurrency startups mean that it is difficult for startups to get registered in the financial capital of the world as it battles several issues of its own. The task force will eventually submit its finding to the working committee in the near future after completing extensive studies.

The bill also states a requirement to review the current situation and reads: “laws and regulations on digital currency used by other states, the federal government, foreign countries, and foreign political and economic unions to regulate the marketplace.”

A nine-member team will be established for this purpose and will work directly under the governor for the investigation.

Canada

Quebec halts crypto mining projects and deliberates over increased power fees: The Canadian state of Quebec has announced that it is halting new mining operations in its area according to latest news reports from Reuters.

The decision comes after a cryptocurrency mining boom in the province because of lower power tariffs. But the increased mining operations resulted in the state electricity consumption increased dramatically and caused concern among government quarters. The Quebec government also announced that it is limiting power to all existing crypto miners as well as planning to increase electricity prices for mining operations.

 

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The post North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 1st to 7th June 2018 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 25th to 31st 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

US crypto market becoming more competitive: The US cryptocurrency market is becoming more and more competitive, with recent moves by some to increase regulatory clarity and compliance with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Coinbase has initiated negotiations with the SEC to become a fully-licensed brokerage firm. The move will allow the exchange to have increased number of assets in its portfolio and thus achieve the regulatory approval that no other exchange has achieved before. Similarly, other exchanges are catching up and even ICOs are working hard to get approved by the SEC.

Tech tycoon McAfee launches own currency: British-American tech tycoon John McAfee has announced the launch of a currency on his own name that is set for a release within a few weeks. The crypto-backed fiat coin is named McAfee coin and the move is a series of pro-crypto moves by the billionaire self-proclaimed “crypto dad”.

It is yet unclear how his own coin will be received by the investors because personal coins have never been a big hit in the crypto space because of reliance on blockchain and consensus rather than personality-driven show coins.

Nasdaq considering crypto exchange: According to latest reports from New York by FX Empire, Nasdaq has announced that it will consider operating a cryptocurrency exchange in the near future. Bitcoin, Litecoin and Stellar are likely to become the main attractions of the new exchange as Nasdaq has put its weight firmly behind these three top coins.

These three cryptocurrencies were singled out because they “may be able to withstand future market turmoil if it transpires”. The news is nothing new as many stock exchanges around the world are considering opening a cryptocurrency trading desk like the ones in Canada and Japan.

According to CEO and President of Nasdaq, Adena T Friedman: “Certainly, Nasdaq would consider becoming a crypto exchange over time… I believe that digital currencies will continue to persist it’s just a matter of how long it will take for that space to mature.”

Nasdaq’s entry into the cryptocurrency market will lend more legitimacy to the cryptocurrency market in conventional financial circles.

Marshall Islands

Marshall Islands breaks away from US Dollar: The Marshall Islands has launched its own cryptocurrency and officially broken away from the US dollar, according to a news piece on The Verge.

Even with the move, it is difficult to see how the freely-associated tiny nation will adopt its cryptocurrency to continue trade and international obligations in the current system where countries simply don’t accept cryptocurrencies officially.  The currency is called The Sovereign (SOV) and in all probability, the 53,000-strong population in the city will continue using the USD in the near future.

According to David Paul, the minister-in-assistance to the President of the Marshall Islands: “As a country, we reserve the right to issue a currency in whatever form it is, whether in digital or fiat form.”

President Hilda Heine said, “This is a historic moment for our people, finally issuing and using our own currency, alongside the USD. It is another step of manifesting our national liberty.”

Canada

Exchanges push for regulatory clarity: Top Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges and startups are urging lawmakers and officials to provide greater clarity to the running of cryptocurrency startups to make things easier for them, according to Canadian media sources.

A number of local crypto startups and figures are lobbying for enhanced clarity regarding cryptocurrencies. John Weinberg of Shyft, a company developing ID verification systems based on Blockchain was of the opinion: “Until you have regulators come out and say, ‘This is what you have to do,’ as an exchange, you’re kind of guessing and hoping for the best, which is a big problem.”

Cole Diamond, the CEO of Coinsquare crypto exchange said, “We want to be regulated because ultimately we want to be able to provide certainty to our customers that we’re not some fly-by-night trading platform, that they can trust us.”

Regulatory clarity is essential because of frequent self-contradictory approaches used by governments to regulate cryptocurrency and Canada is no exception.

 

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 18th to 24th 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.

United States

Department of Justice opens investigations into Bitcoin price manipulations: The US Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into the currency manipulation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The DOJ’s notable concern was that the volatility of the market comes with a suspected potential for investors and traders to influence price in their favor. In addition to price manipulation, DOJ is also looking at fraudulent activity due to lack of regulation.

Former Obama advisor attacked with anti-Bitcoin adverts: Ex-Obama advisor Brian Forde is being attacked for accepting donations in Bitcoin by Dave Min, a rival Democrat competing for a seat in the House of Representatives. The move comes despite the Federal Election Commission ruling that allowed donations to be received in Bitcoin.

The ad targeted Forde for being associated with hackers and malicious activities. In response, Forde said:

“These comments about my supporters are sensationalist, wildly inaccurate, and in line with my opponent’s lack of understanding of the technology… If they were speculating, they wouldn’t have donated to my campaign in Bitcoin. They didn’t HODL, they donated to my campaign in Bitcoin because they believe in the technology.”

Bitcoin Pizza transaction now worth $80 million: The Laszlo Hanyecz story is a legend in Bitcoin world as the person purchased two large pizzas in 2010 with BTC 10,000. Now, after eight years, the Bitcoins are worth USD 80 million and increasing every year.

The legendary story is seen as a missed opportunity for HODL and the first instance in which a major company accepted payment in Bitcoin. Hanyecz had mined the Bitcoins on his personal computer. On 23 May or Bitcoin Pizza Day, the crypto world looks back at how far it has come from BTC 10,000 for two large pizza eras.

Walmart integrating blockchain to Help with Sales: American retail giant Walmart has filed a patent for an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a sales platform that uses blockchain technology. The platform was designed by Donald R High, Michael D Atchley, and Chandrashekar Natarajan.

This is a big milestone for the future development of blockchain startups as Walmart is one of the biggest companies in the world with 11,700 stores in 28 countries. The application allows users to re-sell products from Walmart using blockchain as proof of authenticity.

Federal Trade Commission holds workshop for ICO Scams: The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will host a cryptocurrency workshop to address the considerable challenges that ICOs pose for investor security because of the possibility of scams. The conference called Decrypting Cryptocurrency Scams will comprise law enforcement, research organizations and consumer groups in the space.

The conference will allow the FTC to make new protections for consumers in the future by getting their feedback.

Warren Buffet taunted for his anti-Bitcoin views: Warren Buffet’s anti-Bitcoin views are universally disliked in the cryptocurrency space and Genesis Mining, a mining company purchased a billboard sign right outside his office to taunt him on his views on Bitcoin.

It reads: “Warren: you said you were wrong about Google and Amazon. Maybe you’re wrong about Bitcoin?”

Buffet’s dislike for new tech is obvious but he is the third richest man in the world due to his successful investments in conventional enterprises including banking and stocks.

Only 5 companies holding BitLicense in New York: New York’s notorious BitLicense has resulted in only five cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the city. The grand total only got to five recently when the New York Department of Financial Services gave a new license to Genesis Global Trading Inc.

Stringent BitLicense policies include AML, KYC, anti-fraud and cyber security measures but it is widely seen as a roadblock for further development of cryptocurrencies.

Canada

Unlicensed crypto trader jailed: An unlicensed Canadian crypto trader was jailed in the US after admitting undercover federal agents that he was trading in Bitcoin.

Louis Ong, a trader from Vancouver has received a 20-day sentence in the US after running an unlicensed cryptocurrency trading platform. Ong also had to forfeit over USD 1.1 million worth of Bitcoin to the investigators and was given three years of supervised release.

Ong claims that it wasn’t his intention to break the law and most of the trading he did was on legal channels.

Sweeping operation launched by US and Canada: US and Canadian governments launched investigations into 70 suspect ICOs and cryptocurrency scams in a wide-ranging operation called ‘Crypto Sweep’.

The operation by the combined North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) was termed only as “the tip of the iceberg” by the association by the president Joseph Borg.

Marshall Islands

Government breaks away from US Dollar and launches crypto: The Marshall Islands are looking to break away from the US Dollar and launch their own cryptocurrency called Sovereign.

The tiny Pacific nation is in free association with the US but is now looking for greater economic independence. The government has already signed the move into a new law.

 

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 11th to 17th 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

Crypto markets likely to surge with Wall Street interest: Crypto markets may be up for a boost amid interest from Wall Street according to BKCM digital asset former founder and CNBC contributor Brian Kelly. Kelly maintains the opinion that the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Goldman Sachs’s entry into the crypto space will increase popularity of crypto markets.

But, it was also reported that NYSE won’t be launching a futures market but instead a regular cryptocurrency trading desk or app where customers can trade in cryptocurrencies like stocks.

According to NY Times:

“The parent company of the New York Stock Exchange has been working on an online trading platform that would allow large investors to buy and hold Bitcoin, according to emails and documents viewed by The New York Times.”

Elon Musk challenges Warren Buffet’s take on crypto: Warren Buffet’s anti-cryptocurrency views are famous around the globe and constantly draw flak from pro-blockchain figures. Recently, Elon Musk was involved in a social media exchange with his rival that led to a light-hearted jab.

Elon Musk said in response to Buffet’s rigid ideas on cryptocurrency in a tweet: “ok ok, just for the sake of argument, what do you wish for Candy? Cryptocandy?”

The reference was a light jab at Buffet’s investment in See’s Candy. Musk hasn’t taken to much of a strong stance on cryptocurrencies but the tweet shows he is ready to defend the currency and the tech.

Mutual fund VP says blockchain to drive companies into next industrial revolution: Mutual fund Federated Investors’ VP and portfolio manager Steve Chivarone has ranked blockchain as one of the top five techs that will usher the world into the next industrial revolution.

Chivarone went beyond that and said blockchain could become an “economic driver” along with robotics, AI and IOT.

He said, “When you think about it from an enterprise perspective, it has the ability to replace reconciliation, which is expensive and requires back-office and time and paperwork with more instantaneous verification […] that will allow cost to be cut and that savings [sic] to be passed along.”

Microsoft and Amazon adapting to blockchain: Two of the biggest companies in the world, Microsoft and Amazon, are now trying multiples approaches to get into the blockchain space as part of their transition into decentralized economy and cashless society.

Microsoft had been one of the pioneers in the business it has already toyed with Bitcoin payments in the Xbox and Windows store but is now looking at its technology for the future rather than just monetary value.

Similarly, Amazon has been under pressure to start accepting cryptocurrency payments. While that is not possible right now, Amazon has announced that it is looking into blockchain-related proposals for its Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The involvement of both these tech giants is seen as a boost by the crypto community.

Californian candidate running on pro-crypto platform: Californian politician Brian Forde is running on a pro-crypto platform for Congress. The candidate is aiming to become the representative of the 45th District seat in Washington and is promising to bridge the gap between the government and the crypto community.

Speaking at an Ethereum summit in Queens he said:

“What I want to do is create transparency for the voice of the citizen, so that if I do make a decision that’s not consistent with what all the votes said, then I’ve got to explain myself.”

New York looking to become blockchain hub: The New York Economic Development Corporation (NYEDC) has announced that it is taking initiatives to make the city a Blockchain hub in the country. With Blockchain Week underway in the city, several plans for the future of cryptocurrencies have been proposed. The development of a Blockchain Center is one of the initiatives and its purpose is to educate and raise awareness of the groundbreaking technology.

New York’s notorious BitLicense requirements are seen as anti-crypto policy and that may well change following this move by the administration.

NYC Blockchain Week underway: The first Blockchain Week is underway. The inaugural edition is taking place in partnership between NYDEC and CoinDesk.

Over 8,000 attendees are likely to participate in the conference and speakers include Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis President James Bullard and CEO FedEx Corp Fredrick Smith according to co-sponsors Coindesk.

After parties will include a bash hosted by Ripple featuring Snoop Dogg.

Canada

Bank of Canada says blockchain effective for securities settlements: Canada’s central bank and Toronto Stock Exchange has said that blockchain technology is an effective method for automating securities exchange in real time.

British Columbia regulator warns against investing in crypto: British Columbia securities regulator has voiced the same concerns as his Ontario counterpart by coming out against investment in cryptocurrencies because of the risk of financial scams.

The official channel of the commission states that residents should take extreme caution in deciding whether or not to buy cryptocurrencies.

 

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