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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 12-18 October 2018

North America

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

USA

Department of Justice to Auction 660 BTC: The US Department of Justice is selling 660 BTC ($4.2 million) that were accumulated from various criminal proceedings.

The US Marshals Service (USMS) that works under the umbrella of the Justice Department, posted a notice on its website regarding the auction. A USD 200,000 refundable deposit is needed to enter the bidding process which will be done via sealed bids by 31 October 2018.

The sealed option was undertaken so that bidders cannot see each others’ bids and adjust their own price. 6 sets of 100 BTC will initially be up for auction followed by one set of 60 BTC.

Toyota Using DLT for Ad Buying in the USA: World’s largest car manufacturer Toyota is working with a blockchain advertisement firm to reduce fraudulent activities on digital ads. 

Lucidity, the blockchain company in question is offering enhanced solutions to the car company for its advertising campaigns for the $15 billion US market. With the help of the system, Toyota can now flag sites and apps with high impression and click discrepancies, thus saving up valuable funds.

Crypto Donations from Alumni being Debated: An increased number of cryptocurrency donations are being made to universities prompting debate on their standing in the educational centers. The universities themselves are, however, reluctant to accept them.

According to Nicolas Cary, the co-founder of Blockchain website, he had a tough time having his 14.5 BTC donation accepted in the university.

He said:

“I had to do a little bit of convincing for them to accept it. They wanted to dig in about how it works and what the process would be. We had a lot of conversations.’’

The problem for many institutions is that many simply don’t have a process for such donations. Even Ivy league colleges like Yale and Harvard have been slow in adopting frameworks for cryptocurrency donations.

USD Tether Struggles While Gemini and other Stablecoins Surge Above Parity: The USD stable coins are showing mixed behaviour as by far the principle stable coin USD Tether lowered while Gemini, USDC and PAX surged above parity.

Insolvency issues are reportedly dogging the further adoption of USD Tether, thus causing benefit to its smaller competitors.

Former Commodities Regulator Says ICOs Should be treated like Securities: A former chairman of the US Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has reiterated that ICOs should be considered as securities. 

Gary Gensler, the former chairman of the CFTC made these comments while acknowledging the uniqueness of cryptocurrencies. He made the case that except top cryptocurrencies, all other ICOs should be treated securities to help protect investors.

Joint Investigation Finds SEC Moves Damaging to US Blockchain Startups: A Joint Investigation conducted by Yahoo Finance and Decrypt Media has found that the moves by the SEC are negatively affecting cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption and development in the country.

The attitude of the SEC involves exerting pressure on companies with subpoenas and fines and it has led to many companies moving away from the US to crypto-friendlier shores.

Canada

Marijuana Legalization Brings DLT to the Center: Canada legalized recreational marijuana in the country and blockchain companies are racing to get a share of the pie.

Cannabis has historically been connected with cryptocurrencies and blockchain and now that it has been legalized, more investment and innovation is expected in the sector. Various blockchain-based cannabis companies have announced moves into the now legalized multi-billion dollar industry.

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North America Cryptocurrency News Roundup 17-24 August 2018

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country. Next up is North America.

USA

CNBC’s Brian Kelly Sees Bitcoin ETF Approval by 2019: Mainstream news channel CNBC’s popular program Fast Money host Brian Kelly has predicted that Bitcoin will jump considerably in the future following ETF approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, he doesn’t see that happening till August 2019.

Currently, the SEC has ruled against ETFs for the near future but possible reviews are likely expected in the future and further legal tussles which will result in slow approval overall.

SEC Rejects Nine Bitcoin ETFs and Stays Decision on Five Others: The much-awaited Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decision mostly ended in a negative note as nine Bitcoin ETFs were rejected by the commission and five others are now pending further review.

The nine ETFs rejected included five from Direxion, two from Proshares and two from GraniteShares. But, as a silver lining, the SEC stayed its decision on five ETFs fuelling hopes that the commission might be willing to approve it after greater scrutiny.

$800,000 Announced for Scientific Blockchain Project: The US government announced a healthy $818,433 grant for a new blockchain project called Open Science Chain (OSC). The OSC is a new platform that allows researchers to verify the data of scientific experiments.

The project is being led by Subhashini Sivagnanam, a software architect and researcher currently working at the San Diego Supercomputing Center. The funds were awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop the project. NSF is granting a sizeable number of funds to blockchain development programs this year.

US Border Agents Try Blockchain for Free Trade Compliance: US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that they are testing a new blockchain program that will help enforce the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Central American Free Trade Agreement.

The new decentralized program will be used to verify the original source of the products entering the United States through its borders and also help in authenticating them.

Universities Weigh in on Blockchain Applications: US universities are considering blockchain technology for a broad range of applications because of its tremendous potential. The applications under consideration will help government, private companies, and NGOs in achieving their objectives efficiently.

Some of the academics speaking in favor of widespread blockchain adoption include Robert Dahlstrom —  a Professor of Marketing at Miami University, David Noble — the Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UConn, and  Lawrence Trautman — a Professor at Western Carolina University.

US Congressman Invites Crypto CEOs to Washington to Discuss Future Regulation: US congressman from Ohio Warren Davidson has invited top cryptocurrency representatives from the industry to visit Washington for further discussions on ICO and crypto legislation.

More than 32 CEOs and founders were contacted by the congressman’s office to schedule a meeting in the coming months. Davidson sits on the House Committee for Financial Services and his role could play a crucial role in furthering the cryptocurrency scene in the country.

Court Orders Hacker to Pay Bail in Bitcoin: In a new precedent, a US magistrate Judge Corley has ordered an accused embezzler Martin Marsich to pay an equivalent of $750,000 in bitcoin as bail.

The new precedent was set after the accused was presented before the court for hacking US video games company Electronic Arts’ (EA) servers and selling video games illegally online through black market websites. He is accused of hacking more than 25,000 accounts.

Mexico

Bank of Mexico May Set up Cryptocurrency Payment Infrastructure: Mexican state bank, Bank of Mexico has announced that it is considering developing a cryptocurrency payment infrastructure in the near future. The system will be used to process electronic payments quickly and effectively.

The bank announced the landmark decision during a public consultation process that was aimed at researching ways to use fintech innovations for its benefit.

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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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