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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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Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 12-18 October 2018

Europe

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

Germany

Court Rules That Cryptocurrency Trading Requires No License: A German court in Berlin announced that trading digital assets in the country requires no license. The judgement was made earlier this week on October 16 and was widely welcomed by the crypto community.

The move comes amid confusion among several European authorities on how to deal with cryptocurrencies and Germany’s progressive approach may influence them to loosen their stance.

United Kingdom

Environmental Foundation Using Blockchain to Foil “Greenwashing” Claims by Companies: A new blockchain tool is being utilized by a UK foundation to foil attempts of greenwashing by companies in the country. Greenwashing is typically termed as fraudulent claims of high sustainability ethics that are raising eyebrows of the environmental organizations.

Greenwashing is a common tactic being used by oil companies and other carbon emitting businesses through a mixture of phony ads and propaganda. The UK-based Responsible Finance and Investment Foundation (RFI) will use the blockchain system to investigate the claims of these companies.

Expert Expects 2 Years for Appropriate Crypto Regulation: A UK legal expert has come out and said that solidifying regulations in the United Kingdom may take up to two years to accomplish. 

James Kaufmann, the legal director at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC), a reputed professional and legal services company believes that the two-year estimate is a best-case scenario and it may even drag on longer than that.

The UK government has assembled a cryptocurrency task force to come up with regulations and they are giving a late 2019 timeframe at the moment.

Malta

Two-thirds Fail in Cryptocurrency License Exam Despite Attempts to Ease the Process: Almost two-thirds of applicants appearing in cryptocurrency agent certification exam have failed the test despite last minute changes made to ease the process by the examiners.

The Virtual Financial Assets Act from November last year mandated an exam and a training course for all those who want to work as cryptocurrency agents in the country. The agents can offer a wide range of services including ICO liaison with the government, cryptocurrency vendors and much more.

However, the poor performance at the test has raised eyebrows regarding the ability of the enthusiasts to be in compliance with the law. The testing institute, however, has declined to comment on the matter.

Spain

Nostrum Coffee Chain to Accept Cryptocurrencies: Spain’s Nostrum coffee chain has announced a partnership with Cyclebit payment gateway to start cryptocurrency acceptance across the chain.

Nostrum has started dealing in Bitcoin and has 130 shops across the country.

Russia

Church Turns to Mining, Illegally: A church is Siberia has been brought to court for draining too much power from the local grid to mine cryptocurrencies.

While cryptocurrency mining itself is not illegal, the church used its depreciated power rates to mine cryptocurrencies and even raised extra funds for the purpose.

Netherlands

Government Promoting Blockchain Economy: The Dutch government is leading in blockchain innovation in Europe especially with projects that directly benefit the public. The country is rapidly breaking down barriers on both cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption.

According to Emanuele Francioni, the tech-lead of Dusk Foundation, a nonprofit organization said:

“The Netherlands hosts one of the most passionate blockchain scenes in the world,” he suggests, adding that, “Most of the early experimentation by the government was done with multinationals through consortia, often in the permissioned [private] space…we are starting to see the first permissionless [public] initiatives getting more public traction, which is a very exciting area that should get a lot more attention.”

The number of cryptocurrency investors is also increasing in the country as the number has increased four times since last year despite massive Bitcoin price tanks in recent times.

Ukraine

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 12-18 October 2018

Asia and Australia

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

Japan

Taxation Committee to Help Simplify Cryptocurrency Tax Returns: Japanese taxation policy committee is debating on how to simplify cryptocurrency tax returns in the country to facilitate local traders.

Officials from the committee acting in an advisory capacity to the government for regulations said that there was a need to stimulate a thorough approach towards reporting cryptocurrency gains.

Japanese traders are required by law to report annual gains more than 200,000 Yen ($1780).

South Korea

Financial Regulator Maintains Tough Stance on Cryptocurrencies: The top financial regulator of South Korea has maintained its negative stance on cryptocurrencies and ICOs. Financial Service Commission (FSC) has said earlier this week that the power of blockchain is immense but it may not be necessarily coupled with cryptocurrencies.

Choi Jong-koo, the Chairman of the FSC reflected this thinking and said:

But I think we should not equate the cryptocurrency trading business with the blockchain industry.”

ICOs were especially banned in the country a year ago by the FSC and the agency is now looking to reintroduce them with heavy regulations.

Taiwan

Politician Receives First-Ever Cryptocurrency Campaign Donation: A Taiwanese politician has become the first one to receive campaign donations in Bitcoin according to Taiwan News.

Hsiao Hsin-Chen made history after several anonymous sources contributed to his campaign with BTC. More than 10,000 Taiwan Dollars ($325) was donated to his campaign earlier this week which apparently broke the rules as imposed by local Taiwanese rules and regulations. The politician is seeking to promote cryptocurrencies and other blockchain innovations.

Hong Kong

Securities Regulator Working on New Cryptocurrency Rules: A Hong Kong regulator is working on new cryptocurrency regulation in the Chinese special district to protect investors from fraud.

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is expected to introduce new cryptocurrency regulations according to chairman Carlson Tong Ka-Shing. He has also said that a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies like mainland China may not be the right solution. The SFC is also deliberating on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and their regulatory measures.

China

Government Looking to Hire Cryptocurrency Experts: Mainland China is looking to add four cryptocurrency specialists to make a framework for facilitation of transactions.

The latest hirings will be done in the Digital Money Institute of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC). Two of them will be engineers and two experts in economic law and finance.

Cryptocurrencies are banned in Mainland China but this approach could soon see the uplifting of the blanket ban in the most populous country in the world.

Trade Tariffs Could Hit Chinese Mining Hardware: New trade tariffs imposed by the US government will affect chipmakers in China’s mining hardware manufacturing industry as the trade war intensifies between the two biggest economies in the world.

Bitmain, the biggest mining company will be affected the most by the new tariffs as the new Antminer will now be classified as electrical machinery apparatus and be subjected to a 2.6% tariff increase.

Iran

US Financial Authority Condemns Iran for the Use of Cryptocurrencies: US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has condemned Iran for using cryptocurrencies to avoid US sanctions. 

The US reimposed sanctions on Iran after the government backtracked on the nuclear deal signed a few years ago but Iran now it seems has found a way to circumnavigate situation through cryptocurrencies, thus inviting the wrath of the government.

Australia

Securities Regulator to Shutting Down Scam ICOs: Australian securities regulator Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has reportedly shut down several Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Recently, a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) was also stopped for a cryptocurrency investment scheme.

According to ASIC commissioner John Prince:

“If you raise money from the public, you have important legal obligations. It is the legal substance of your offer — not what it is called —that matters,” 

ASIC is tightening control after ICO scams were revealed in recent times in the country.

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 12-18 October 2018

Africa and the Middle East

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

Nigeria

Cryptocurrency Exchanges Increasing Security Layers to Prevent Fraud: Nigerian cryptocurrency exchanges are working to improve their security features following multiple exchange hacks in recent months.

While Nigerian exchanges have escaped largely unhurt, they are working to improve the security of their funds. Exchanges including Luno have added additional security layers for unsuspecting customers, many of whom are not knowledgeable about cryptocurrency hacking activities.

Zambia

Central Bank Says Bitcoin Is Not a Legal Tender: The Central Bank of Zambia has toughened its stance on cryptocurrencies and declared that they are not legal tender and those investing in it will have to bear the entire responsibility in the case of a market failure.

But, at the same time, the Bank has also said that it neither has the power or legal backing to enforce a complete shutdown against cryptocurrencies in the country and would need legislation from the government to enable any future actions. The warning comes at a time when many Africans are looking towards cryptocurrencies as a safe haven against inflation and other fiat-related issues.

Rwanda

Government Tracking Tantalum Metal Mining With Blockchain: The Rwandan government has announced a new blockchain-based project to help track Tantalum mining operations in the country. Tantalum mining is crucial for the electronics industry but the operations are often dogged by claims of mistreatment of workers and labour violations.

Rwanda itself is one of the biggest exporters of the rare earth metals in the world and is now looking towards blockchain technology to regulate the industry. The system was developed by Circulor, a London-based DLT startup and the blockchain used for the purpose was Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain system.

Kenya

Blockchain Being Used for Fair Distribution of Housing: Kenya is using the transparency of the DLT to help create a fair distribution of housing projects and prevent misuse of funds. The move comes after the East African country was rocked by government corruption scandals in the public projects.

The new housing project with more than 500,000 units being proposed by the government has raised eyebrows regarding transparency as a recent Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) indicated that the bribe culture is getting worse in the country. Blockchain Technology is being eagerly pursued by the government to help end this epidemic in the country.

Turkey

Text-based Crypto Service Launched: Turkey saw the launch of the first SMS-based cryptocurrency service for Bitcoin Cash by Cointext. As the popularity of Bitcoin grows, Turkey and other countries are getting more and more innovative with ways of using cryptocurrencies, both online and offline.

Offline Bitcoin transfer facilities allow users to bypass exchanges and create a P2P trading environment that is crucial for the future of cryptocurrency development in the world.

United Arab Emirates

Government Planning New ICO Rules: The Emirates government is working on new ICO rules in the country following dangerous security lapses by cryptocurrency companies in the near past. According to Reuters, by 2019, the government will allow firms to raise capital through ICOs instead of IPOs.

The Emirati regulators, however, are working to bring ICOs under their control by that time and have designated cryptocurrencies as securities. According to Obaid Saif Al-Zaabi of the securities watchdog, the regulations will be in place by the first half of 2019 thus opening gateways for everybody to use this option for raising capital.

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 5th to 11th October 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

Mastercard patents multi crypto blockchain: US financial services giant Mastercard has recently won rights to a blockchain partitioning method that enables it to store different cryptocurrencies on a single blockchain ecosystem. 

Mastercard’s patent describes subnets, blockchain division that manages each format independently. Each block created would be hashed with a code that would be applied to all transactions, creating a blockchain that supports different, previously incompatible crypto chains with far fewer resource requirements.

US customs claim crypto-fiat conversions traceable: In a hearing in the US Senate, a US customs official detailed that it is possible to trace fiat-crypto and vice versa transactions using investigative methods.

The official said further that through this, they are “able to disrupt the criminals and dismantle the [transnational criminal organizations]”. He further claimed that there has been a degree of success in tracing drug sales down to the criminals involved.

5 top universities follow Yale by making crypto investments: MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth and UNC have made investments into cryptocurrencies following Yale’s lead. The latter made investments from its endowment fund in Paradigm and Andreessen Horowitz, two crypto funds.

With Yale’s choices copied by many universities and institutional investors, it is expected that other universities across the United States will follow suit and invest in crypto.

1Broker allowed to return user funds: 1Broker exchange has recently opened up again, but in a limited capacity, allowing users to withdraw their funds.

The popular crypto exchange came into the view of US officials after an undercover FBI agent was able to acquire Bitcoin with no KYC or AML checks.

The exchange was subsequently shut down on 27 September, through FBI and SEC coordination. Some 50,000 users were left hanging as they could not withdraw their funds.

SEC files subpoena against alleged “pump and dump” ICO: According to the SEC, a subpoena was filed on 5 October at a District Court in California against Saint James Holdings and Investment Company. A penny stock firm Cherubim was committing USD 100 million to launch an ICO for the St James Trust when the order was made. 

ICOs are currently banned in the United States.

Giant inflatable rat with Bitcoin graffiti placed in front of Federal Reserve Branch on Wall Street: In a gutsy prank, ex-hedge fund manager Nelson Siers has placed an inflatable rat character with Bitcoin graffiti in front of the Federal Reserve Branch building located on Wall Street, New York.

The rat will remain there for a few days before it is finally taken down. The move mocks the Federal Reserve Bank, one of the most powerful national banks in the world with assets up to USD 5 trillion back in 2017. It is the Goliath of the fiat world and the rat was placed to mock its existence and promote cryptocurrencies.

The bank is sometimes blamed for the financial crisis of 2008, thought to be a stimulant for the creation of Bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency.

Canada

QuadrigaCX continues to face Canadian bank’s bullying: QuadrigaCX, the largest Canadian crypto exchange, saw its USD 28 million funds being frozen by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in JulyThe battle continues on in the Ontario Supreme Court of Justice, with CIBC asking the court to take control of the funds and decide the real beneficiary of the money. 

QuadrigaCX is asking the court to unfreeze its funds as it is legal since it has already credited its customers with Quadriga Bucks. The unexplained freezing of funds shows a friction between the traditional banking and commerce and the rapidly emerging blockchain sector in a tussle to either retain control or disrupt the market.

 

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Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 5th to 11th October 2018

Europe

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.

European Union

Watchdog to look into ICOs for appropriate regulation: The EU’s top securities watchdog has set up a new process for verifying ICOs in the region. The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is following USA’s lead on this matter by individually examining each ICO based on its inner workings.

United Kingdom

Royal land registry plans bockchain for business: Partnering up with R3, Her Majesty’s Land Registry (HM Land Registry) is gearing up for the use of DLTs to increase ease of use and speed up its transactions and record keeping.

With holdings worth GBP 4 trillion, HM Land Registry represents 85% of England and Wales by area. Established in 1842, it handles GBP 1 trillion worth of mortgages in the UK.

The UK government is actively looking into blockchain solutions and recently has granted the national telecom regulatory body Ofcoma GBP 700,000 for research into blockchain for managing the country’s landline numbers.

France

700 French savers scammed in crypto exchange phone scam: As many as 700 French savers fell prey to a fraudulent cryptocurrency exchange scheme, according to Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF).

A whopping EUR 31 million was conned from the unsuspecting members of the public who knew nothing about the blockchain technology and its workings. While France remains open to cryptocurrency projects, incidents like these may force the government to take a tougher stance on the matter.

Norway

Norwegian financial regulator announces new crypto regulationsThe Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) of Norway is enforcing new rules and regulations to ensure crypto exchanges operating within its territory are compliant with local money laundering rules.

The new rules apply to individuals and organizations that hold private keys on behalf of their customers. Private crypto investors who do their own trading or assist others without access to the keys do not come under the new regulations.

Startup offering token rewards for ocean cleanup: A Norwegian startup is using blockchain-based rewards to help people clean up beaches and ocean water. Wilhelm Myer, the CEO of Nordic Ocean Watch, is working on the idea to engage the public for removing plastic waste from the oceans and beaches with tokens allocated as reward for their efforts.

The first overseas collection point has been stationed in the Bali Island in Indonesia, in time for the Our Ocean Conference that will take place from 29-30 October 2018. Myer aims to increase awareness regarding this crucial struggle against water pollution on this forum and highlight the working model of his project.

Slovenia

Non-profit hub hopes to become leading platform for European blockchain stakeholders: The European Blockchain Hub has launched recently as a non-profit organization in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. The founders have partnered with 13 different organizations for promotion of blockchain industry. The partners come from a range of industries, such as research, education, regulation and includes some prominent names such the Blockchain Alliance Europe and the Slovenian government itself.

A spokesperson informed that the hub will promote “European values and principles of good corporate governance”, including support for blockchain adoption and startups.

The European Blockchain Hub will be headquartered in Slovenia’s biggest shopping district, BTC City. The district is the Silicon Valley of Slovenia, with large tech companies and even driverless cars.

Lithuania

FICS probe reveals Euro banks traded large sums of cryptos: Investigating financial activities that happened over a period of two years, Lithuania’s Financial Crime Investigation Services has revealed that major European banks have been facilitating crypto-fiat dealings.

With increased interests in crypto and fundraising from ICOs, the FCIS is concerned with money laundering being done under the garb of crypto transactions through e-wallets located overseas.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 5th to 11th October 2018

Africa and the Middle East

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.

African Union

Crypto regulation rising in many AU countries: Cryptocurrency regulation is being pursued more and more rigorously by the African governments in recent times as they set to curtail the powers of decentralization and borderless options advocated by cryptocurrencies.

Zimbabwe is an interesting case study as the official policy flip-flopped between deregulating and over-regulating the industry. Kenya is also considering placing more regulations on the industry. Other countries like Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda and Ghana have shown openness in cryptocurrency adoption but they are also planning regulation in the near future.

South Africa

Crypto investors urged to be responsible: With the increase in the number of cryptocurrency investors in South Africa, the investor community is being urged to be responsible by international family office Stonehage Fleming.

Eran Brill, Director of Stonehage’s Investment Management division in South Africa has urged all the investors to give their beneficiaries a full picture of their holdings because in the event of their death, they will have a hard time accessing these assets. He also outlined several ways in which this can be achieved without comprising the security of the wallets and exchange accounts.

Nigeria

Firm launches anti-fraud blockchain: A london-based firm has launched an anti-fraudulent blockchain network partnership with KAD ICT Hub based in Kaduna in Nigeria.

The main purposes of the partnership are microfinance and financial inclusion for tens of millions of Nigerians who do not have access to basic banking services. The move is part of a bigger initiative called Africa Blockchain Lab that was opened back in August 2018.

The anti-fraud network uses Confirm’s AMLT network to investigate suspicious cryptocurrency addresses. The anti-fraud option is important for Africa because many investors and public are inexperienced in cryptocurrency and financial matters.

Zimbabwe

WhatsApp trading hitting record levels: While governments are taking hard measures against cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency trading in African countries like Zimbabwe are hitting new highs thanks to unconventional means of trading like the popular messaging app WhatsApp.

Zimbabwe is one of the unfortunate countries suffering from hyperinflation and many citizens are turning to cryptocurrencies to help circumnavigate the rampant inflation in the country. A recent insight into the cryptocurrency trading scene based on WhatsApp reveals trading agents using groups and private chats to connect sellers and buyers of Bitcoin. They charge a 5% commission for each trade for their services.

WhatsApp circles saw increased trading after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe banned two of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country: Golix and Styx24.

Israel

Government may lower crypto taxes: The Israeli government may just lower cryptocurrency taxation in the country by 50% after months of hostility towards cryptocurrencies.

The announcement was made by the deputy director general for Israel Tax Authority Roland Am-Shalem and it said that it will not insist in calculating FIFO for taxation of cryptocurrencies.

This is finally some good news for cryptocurrency traders in Israel who have suffered due to lack of official recognition of cryptocurrencies in recent times.

United Arab Emirates

Government announces securities status for crypto, plans ICO legalization by 2019: The UAE government is working to legalize initial coin offerings (ICOs) by 2019 and has declared cryptocurrencies to be a form of securities. The latest pro-crypto move is to increase blockchain-related investment in the country and attract DLT-based businesses.

According to the country’s Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), Obaid Said Al-Zaabi, head of the top regulator said:

“The board of the Emirates Securities & Commodities Authority has approved considering ICOs as securities. As per our plan, we should have regulations on the ground in the first half of 2019.”

However, the utility-security conundrum of cryptocurrencies has not been addressed fully as of yet.

 

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 5th to 11th October 2018

Asia and Australia

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.

South Korea

South Korea to decide on ICO legality in November: The legality of initial coin offerings (ICOs) will be decided in November this year, according to a government source in the South Korean Ministry of Government Coordination.

The chief of the office Hong Nam-Ki provided valuable insight regarding government’s position on ICOs. While he was coy about what the government would eventually decide, he said survey results will be received from blockchain companies by the end of October and then the government will deliberate on whether to allow them or not.

The Korean Blockchain Association is making a strong case for removing the ban on ICOs in the country while advocating for them in a National Library seminar in the capital. Its chairman, Chin Dae-je, said that allowing new ICOs will bring in new jobs and benefit the economy.

Bithumb acquired by Singapore group: One of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea, Bithumb, has been acquired by a Singapore-based medical group in a USD 354 million deal. Bithumb suffered a major exchange hack back in June this year with more than KRW 35 billion (USD 40 million) lost and has been in rebuilding phase ever since.

Interestingly, the new stakeholder is a plastic surgeon named Kim Byung Gun and he has purchased a 51% majority stake in the exchange. Despite the recent hack, Bithumb’s daily trading volume is still the sixth largest in the world behind Binance, OKEx, Huobi, Bitfinex and Upbit.

Japan

New science minister has pro-blockchain history: The latest addition in the Japanese cabinet, Science Minister Takua Hirai, has a well-known pro-blockchain stance. His experience will prove to be crucial in the promotion of the cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption in the country.

Earlier this year, Hirai was a senior advisor to a study group which had been set up to lay down rules for the adoption of ICOs and offer proposals for the Financial Services Agency (FSA). He also orchestrated a bill back in 2017 that legalized cryptocurrencies in the country. While agencies like FSA have tightened crypto rules, the crypto community can look forward to the new appointment with optimism.

China

Government claims blockchain standards will guide industry: The China Electronics Standardization Institute (CESI), a government institute, has announced a new project that will determine helpful blockchain-related standards in the country to increase efficient utilization of DLT.

While the organization is aimed at standardizing the industry, three separate models will be issued for smart contracts, privacy and deposits. The standards are expected to be released in 2019.

Taiwan (Chinese Taipei)

Congressman proposes extension of AML laws to include crypto: A Taiwanese lawmaker is hoping to introduce new legislation in the Congress to include cryptocurrencies in the anti-money laundering framework in the country.

Congressman Jason Hsu has proposed an amendment to the current Money Laundering Control Act to have cryptocurrencies face the same legal course as fiat currencies. It is also expected to add new rules that are crypto-specific in nature. The bill is very similar to the one proposed and adopted by the European Union earlier this year.

Singapore

Financial regulator to address crypto-related complaints against banks: The Singaporean financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has said that it is willing to support cryptocurrency projects including exchanges that are having problems with bank accounts in the country.

Some crypto firms complained about the banking system’s bias towards cryptocurrencies that has resulted in several account closures and suspensions. MAS is now working with the crypto projects to address the lingering issue.

Thailand

Government exploring blockchain application in agriculture, finance, IP: The Thai Ministry of Commerce is exploring the option of using blockchain technology for the betterment of three industries, namely agriculture, finance and IP.

Pimchanok Vonkorpon from the Trade and Strategy Office in an interview with the Bangkok Post said that the government is making an effort to use DLT for boosting credibility and efficiency of the country’s various industries.

Australia

Government testing smart money for disability insurance: A federal research branch called the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) is partnering with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank) for a proof-of-concept blockchain for disability insurance.

Together, the two organizations will use the blockchain to create smart money, as they call it, for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). As of now, a prototype has been developed by the participants of the scheme.

 

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South America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 5th to 11th October 2018

South 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.

Brazil

Iranian authority declares Brazil country most prone to Coinhive cyber attacks: The Iranian Cybersecurity Authority (CERTCC) has declared that Brazil is the top country among reported attacks involving the CoinHive software.

According to the agency, more than 81,000 attacks were reported by Coinhive in 2017 alone. India came in second with 29,000 followed by Indonesia and Iran itself. This data is not yet endorsed by any other organization.

Coinhive itself is a mining software for Monero cryptocurrency. It has an API that allows you to allocated CPU and other computing resources to mine Monero’s XMR cryptocurrency.

Hackers usually break into a computer to try and install the software in it, remotely mining XMR without the owner’s knowledge. It also comes up bundled with other software packs in some cases.

Blockchain institutions expanding operations: Brazilian blockchain academy and other blockchain institutions are expanding their learning operations across the country and are now increasingly partnering with universities.

Recently, the academy partnered with leading blockchain initiatives like Consensys and expanded to Portugal. In addition, University of Sao Paulo is establishing a postgraduate course in Law and Information Technology which addresses Bitcoin and the decentralized economy. Other institutions like Faculdade Getúlio Vargas (FGV) have signed partnerships with Ripple to expand academic and institutional knowledge of blockchain technology.

New federal deputy of Sao Paulo is pro-crypto: Newly-elected Federal Deputy of State of Sao Paulo Eduardo Bolsonaro has declared that he is in favor of cryptocurrencies and even recorded a video on the subject.

Son of presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, Bolsonaro Jr is expected to bring a positive change in his state regarding cryptocurrencies and may also be able to influence his father on this matter if he is elected president. The move comes after an increasing number of Brazilian MPs and other members of government have come forward and declared themselves pro-cryptocurrency advocates.

Argentina

Crypto ATMs increasing to help people combat inflation: Cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular in Argentina as a means to combat rampant currency devaluation and inflation in the country. Keeping this in mind, two Bitcoin ATM companies, Athena Bitcoin and Odyssey Group, have decided to unveil more than 30 new ATMs in the country as early as the end of 2019.

Cryptocurrencies are set to become more and more popular with countries around the world where inflation is becoming a persistent problem. Argentina has been suffering from inflationary problems a while now as the peso needs constant monetary injections from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stay afloat. Currency devaluations present a golden opportunity for popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to excel as they don’t have inherent inflationary measures.

Chile

New project tabled in Parliament for blockchain adoption: The Chilean lower house of parliament has been presented with a new project regarding blockchain adoption in the country, according to local media outlet Fortin Mapocho.

The resolution was created back in August but wasn’t presented in front of parliament until 5 October. The bill aims to implement blockchain technology in different public offices across the country. The project is currently being endorsed by two MPs Miguel Angel Calisto and Giorgio Jackson. They claim to have the support of eight other MPs as well.

 

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 28 September-4 October 2018

North America

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

USA

Congress Requests SEC to Clarify Crypto Security Laws: The US Congress has sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission to clarify on their cryptocurrency guidelines to support the crucial innovation across the sector.

Congress believes that the cryptocurrency sector is important for the future of the United States economy and many startups are fleeing the country due to SEC’s policies. However, there is no consensus on cryptocurrency regulation in the Senate right now.

Cryptocurrency Pioneers Attack SEC in Joint Letter: A group of top cryptocurrency pioneers are attacking the overreaching efforts of the US Securities and Exchange Commission on cryptocurrencies. They believe that the efforts 0f the SEC will be detrimental for the overall industry in the country.

The letter follows a growing mistrust in the cryptocurrency community towards the SEC which is impeding the progress of this innovative sector.

Ex-President Bill Clinton Supports Cryptocurrencies and Praises Blockchain Technology: Bill Clinton has come out and praised blockchain technology at Ripple’s Swell conference in San Francisco. 

Ripple is currently out on a strong PR campaign and comments like these from Clinton will help their cause. They were also advocated by the actor and investor Ashton Kutcher, and Snoop Dogg earlier this year.

New York Attorney General Believes Many Cryptocurrency Exchanges Operating with “integrity”: New York’s tough cryptocurrency laws could be in for a change. The Office of the Attorney General of New York has said that cryptocurrency exchanges are reaching early stages of maturation and many of them are now offering services with a high degree of integrity.

OAG recently completed extensive surveys of major cryptocurrency exchanges and was reportedly satisfied with many of them.

Bipartisan Bill for Consensus-based Definition of Blockchain: A bipartisan bill introduced in the US House of Representatives is seeking to create a consensus-based definition of blockchain technology.

The Blockchain Promotion Act of 2018 was sponsored by Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Congressman Brett Guthrie who are members of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee as well as Technology and Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection.

Court Rules CFTC has Jurisdiction over Cryptocurrencies: In a recent case in District Court of Massachusetts, Judge Rya W. Zobel has decided that the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will have jurisdiction over cryptocurrencies. 

The court ruled against a local coin project called The Big Coin and declared that it was not a commodity. The court used a very broad definition of the commodities to declare cryptocurrencies as such, as it says that all goods, services, and interests for which there are contracts for future or present delivery are commodities.

Canada

Firm Accepting Cryptocurrencies for Legal Services: Canadian firm Mcleod Law is now accepting cryptocurrencies for legal services in the country. The law firm became one of the first in The Great White North to accept Bitcoin from its clients.

Mcleod announced this week that the alternative option is for clients who have invested into cryptocurrencies. The firm is using Coinsquare cryptocurrency exchange for its services.

Election in Quebec to Define Future of Cryptocurrency Mining Projects: Canada’s Quebec region is undergoing elections and their results could affect the future of cryptocurrency mining projects in the state.

There are a considerable number of Bitcoin miners present in the region who faced a backlash from the government after their electricity requirements were found to be too much. The next government will likely seal the fate of these miners operating in the French-speaking area.

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