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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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Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 3rd to 9th August 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.

United Kingdom

Financial regulator remains committed on international regulatory network: The UK’s Financial regulator Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is keen on setting an international standard for crypto regulation as it has just announced the establishment of a Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN).

The latest efforts evident in the form of GFIN are an effort to create a global sandbox for collaboration between different fintech entities. There are 11 collaborators working under the umbrella of GFIN right now. The sandbox effort was in response to a host of inquiries from blockchain projects for a collaboration-based regulatory effort.

Mining company listed on London Stock Exchange now active: Cryptocurrency mining company Argo Mining, the first to be listed on the London Stock Exchange is now active according to the market index.

The company, which specializes in accessible crypto mining via subscription, had previously raised over GBP 25 million (about USD 32.5 million) through a traditional Initial Public Offering (IPO) held at the London Stock Exchange.

Over 156 million shares priced at GBP 0.16 each will now be available for trading in the LSE for the mining company, thus bringing a new era in the operations of the stock exchange.

According to Executive chairman Jonathon Bixby:

“Argo’s admission to the London main market is a major step in the company’s development and will put us in a strong position to execute our long-term growth strategy. We are delighted with the strong response from investors which will enable us to grow our business in multiple jurisdictions.”

Other mining companies also look to become a part of the LSE in the near future.

Germany

Biggest blockchain meet to run directly on Dapps: Germany’s biggest Ethereum startup ETHBerlin announced that the entire event will be run with the help of decentralized apps or Dapps.

The event will be held in the Factory Berlin in two venues simultaneously starting from September this year. The move to use Dapps for all purposes is a big initiative for the crypto community as Dapps are struggling to maintain their momentum in the crypto circles right now.

The Dapps include Ethereum-based video streaming app, decentralized hotel and apartment booking platform that accepts Ether, raffles, ticketing and event management is also expected to be covered by Ethereum Dapps as well. The ETHBerlin team says:

“ETHBerlin stands strong, we think that Dapps are the future, so we’ll do whatever it takes to push adoption, and inspire you to build more of them. There is room for all… As a responsible, global community, in constant evolution, as is our ecosystem, we need to understand that it is not enough to absorb these teachings and foundations and just replicate.”

While Ethereum blockchain is facing scalability issues, its use in organizing big events is one of the reasons why it is part of a wider future success story.

Second-largest German stock exchange continuing towards crypto: Boerse Stuttgart, the second largest stock exchange in Germany, has taken yet another step forward to host coin offerings in the future. The move came following its recent announcement of a new app called Bison that was developed in partnership with fintech company Sowa Labs.

The primary aim of these efforts is to create a platform from which tokens can be issued in the future. The CEO of Boerse Stuttgart Alexander Hoptner said:

“At the trading venue tokens issued via our ICO platform can be traded on the secondary market. This is an important success factor for ICOs. At the same time, we are responding to demand from both retail and institutional investors for a regulated and reliable environment for trading cryptocurrencies.”

Russia

44% of Russians know about crypto: The Russian cryptocurrency revolution is showing remarkable growth as a recent survey of Russian citizens show 44% Russians admitting they know about Bitcoin while 13% went on to say they have a good understanding of them.

The survey done by a local Russian firm interestingly showed that 31% of the respondents who know about cryptocurrencies belonged to the middle class and lower middle-class households with incomes less than RUB 10,000 (USD 150) per family member. The higher group with RUB 25,000 mostly didn’t know about cryptocurrencies at all. Some 76% of the respondents said that they were in it to make profits.

Bitcoin remained the cryptocurrency of choice.

Ukraine

Ukraine conducts election trials on NEM blockchain: A Ukrainian election official has stated that the Election Commission is undertaking experiments on the NEM blockchain on a trial basis for the country’s future elections.

Oleksander Stelmakh, the head of the voter registry in the Central Election Commission of Ukraine, praised blockchains for their immutability and other benefits of decentralized data on social media. His communique also included news of the commission truing a series of trials to apply blockchain technology for electoral voting.

Netherlands

Half a million Dutch households hold crypto but central bank remains wary: The cryptocurrency revolution has a deep penetration in the Dutch market with over 500,000 Dutch households currently holding Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency despite skeptical behavior of the central bank.

A Dutch central bank spokesperson said that Bitcoin was still too volatile for savings and only the fiat value equivalent could be termed as real value and not the cryptocurrencies themselves. But despite these concerns, the central bank has no plans to impose a ban on Dutch cryptocurrency holders and traders.

 

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 3rd to 9th August 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.

China

Court sides with exchange despite allegations of defying government crypto ban: A Beijing court took the side of a cryptocurrency exchange despite strict local rules preventing cryptocurrency transactions and trade.

In a detailed judgment, the court upheld a decision on Bitcoin trader Li Jianfeng that he must return the proceeds of BTC 5 that he got by accident back in 2017. Li liquidated the cryptocurrencies immediately after that.

The case was complicated because cryptocurrency exchanges and transactions are under a blanket ban by the Chinese government and Li’s counsel argued that the transactions couldn’t be recognized by the court but the court still ruled that Li should return the funds.

The court’s judgment said:

“In this case, whether or not Coinnice’s establishment as a Bitcoin trading platform has violated relevant rules, does not have any impact on Li’s liability to return the profits he received with no legal basis… As such, the court denies his appeal and the decision is final.”

Alibaba working on application of blockchain technology: Alibaba, one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world, is working on application of blockchain technology and already has the largest number of blockchain-related tech patents in the world.

According to Jing Xiandong, CEO of Alibaba’s financial arm: “We are the most patented company in the world of blockchain technology.”

Overall, 43 blockchain-related patents were claimed by Alibaba in 2017 alone. That is around 11% of the total number of blockchain patents filed in the space in the world. The Ant Financial System 2.0 released by the Alibaba’s financial arm is an open platform for self-operation and decentralization. Alibaba is also involved in blockchain partnerships around the world.

Thailand

50 ICOs apply for licenses: Increasing interest is being witnessed in the Thai crypto circles as more than 50 companies have applied for ICO permits, according to latest reports from the Bangkok Post.

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has received increased interest after it announced that ICOs will have to be passed by it. ICOs normally look to raise funds through crowdfunding campaigns and SEC secretary-general Rapee Sucharitakul said that it remains to be seen how many of these new ICOs will actually be given license to operate in the country.

Japan

Crypto exchanges’ self-regulator applies for official status: Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges’ self-regulation body Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) is seeking official recognition from the government.

The union consists of 16 licensed cryptocurrency exchanges and are what they call security inspectors of Japanese exchanges themselves as part of a self-regulatory approach by them. The association has written up to 1,000 pages of self-regulatory measures.

The association filed for recognition and certification from financial regulator Financial services Authority (FSA) and said in the application that it is a “certified fund settlement business association” which will provide “guidance and recommendations to members to comply with regulations, laws and self-regulation rules”.

South Korea

Blockchain association presses for regulation efforts: The South Korean Blockchain Enterprise Promotion Association (BEPA) has pressed the government to swiftly pass blockchain and cryptocurrency regulation in the country.

Yoo Joon-sand, president of BEPA said in a press briefing:

“But instead of welcoming the people’s fervor for the technology, the government is focused on controlling it to address negative short-term side effects. This is essentially kicking away the economic opportunities that lie in front of us.”

The association is a powerful union with ex-politicians, academics and even former Prime Minister Lee Soo-Sung is part of its team.

Philippines

Government Using Blockchain Technology in Cleaning Rivers: The Philippines government is working on a blockchain system to help clean up a local river.

The Pasig River Rehabilitation Council (PRRC) which is in charge of cleanup operations in the city is looking to partner with CypherOdin, a blockchain startup with an environmental focus to help save a river that is one of the most polluted rivers in the country.

India

Government planning blockchain district in Hyderabad: The Indian government’s IT division is planning a new blockchain center in the city of Hyderabad in a partnership with multinational IT services company Tech Mahindra.

The two groups signed an MoU for future work on the center. The project is part of India’s agenda to bring new technological innovation in the country.

Australia

“Time traveler” millionaire investor plans crypto bank: Aussie cryptocurrency millionaire Fred Schebesta who claims to have traveled in time is trying to establish his own bank in the country to circumnavigate strict crypto-related restrictions in place in the Aussie system.

According to Schebesta:

“You don’t have your money. The bank has your money. Have you ever gone to the bank and asked for all your money? If everyone did a bank run on CommBank [Commonwealth Bank of Australia] right now, they wouldn’t be able to service it. That’s why I’m so big on crypto. I think eventually people will go, “Oh my god, this is so messed up”, and they’ll move to where they can hold their value. Not all of their money, but some of it.”

The eccentric millionaire says he “travels” forward in time to benefit from cryptocurrencies.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 3rd to 9th August 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.

Africa

South Africa

Government pondering over crypto tax: The South African government is considering crypto taxation and regulations in the country including trading and operations.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is studying the current trends in cryptocurrency trading and is going to propose crypto regulations. The idea has been overall well-received by the crypto community as regulation is the need of the hour in the country.

Cryptocurrencies still remain popular in South Africa despite threat of scams: Cryptocurrency trading is still pumping out great numbers despite numerous incidents of scams and frauds in the country according to latest figures.

A recent poll suggested that more than 38% of South Africans wished they had invested in cryptocurrency back last year when the price increased several folds. But loose regulations mean that South Africans are enjoying unchecked growth in the sector but that can have consequences in the form of scams and frauds. That is why the South African Revenue Service is working on a new set of regulations for the industry.

Nigeria

Blockchain to help combat corruption in Nigeria: The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) is working on a blockchain project to help eradicate corruption in its operations.

The NCS is working with ERP company Oracle’s Blockchain Cloud Service that will help the agency in the management of its own affairs in a corruption-free environment. The organization is aiming to increase its revenue collection by as much as 50% with the help of this new decentralized approach.

The technology will also reportedly help new businesses, local and international trade communities to get their affairs done in a transparent manner.

Sierra Leone and Republic of Congo

The curse of blood diamonds to be cured through blockchain: Blockchain technology by a new startup called Everledger Technology is reportedly being used to solve the chronic social issue of blood diamonds in Africa.

A blood diamond is a diamond that is mined in an illegal manner, often through bonded labor or semi-slavery status workers working in inhumane conditions. The United Nations classifies blood diamonds as illegal but the accountability process is weak due to the lack of technology and transparency in the system in addition to massive lobbying by the diamond companies.

Blockchain technology can help an industry that has been taken advantage of for centuries. Countries like Sierra Leone and Republic of Congo are the one of the worst when it comes to diamond mining.

Middle East

Israel

Blockchain entrepreneur looking to buy football club: Israeli blockchain entrepreneur Moshe Hogeg is looking to buy Beitar football club based in the Holy City of Jerusalem according to Ynet News. The man is reportedly offering USD 6.5 million to the club’s current owner Eli Tabib but Tabib has countered with an additional USD 1.1 million offer.

Hogeg made his fortune in a blockchain-based company called Sirin Labs back in 2013. He has also worked to get a blockchain phone on the market that cost USD 14,000. He also announced an ICO back in December that raised USD 157.8 million to develop a new blockchain technology phone.

Saudi Arabia

Government looking to move forward in blockchain era: After the first blockchain moot in Saudi Arabia, Translating Blockchain KSA 2018, the kingdom is appearing to incorporate new blockchain technologies in its set up and diminish dependence on oil.

Blockchain technology is seen as a pivotal technology that can alter the course of the future for the Arab country. Internet of things (IoT), blockchain and other aspects of new technology are now being given priority in the country. The capital city of Riyadh itself is looking to enhance and digitize its records for using DLT in partnership with computerized arrangements supplier Elm.

Turkey

First blockchain center established in Turkey: Turkey is seeing the development of the first blockchain center at university level. The Istanbul Blockchain and Innovation Center (Blockchain IST Center) was inaugurated at the Bahçeşehir University (BAU) this week.

It aims to be “the most important center of research and development and innovation in Turkey in which scientific studies and publications are made in blockchain technologies.”

Blockchain centers are becoming more and more common around the world and Turkey is also gearing up for a blockchain future.

 

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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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Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 27th July to 2nd August 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.

France

Spike in French blockchain interest shows Macron future: French President Emmanuel Macron’s interest in blockchain and cryptosphere seems to have paid off as a sharp spike is being witnessed in the growth of blockchain technology innovations in France.

Under the previous president Francois Hollande’s tenure, whose popularity hit as low as 4% at one time, blockchain development was stagnant but under the young, energetic leadership of President Macron, the French blockchain economy is reaching new heights.

Macron has set his sights on helping France become a fintech trendsetter. The government is also mulling on legislation for ICOs and has heavily reduced cryptocurrency tax rates as well.

United Kingdom

Coinbase gets into primary banking with new support for pound: Coinbase, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has made a change in its system that allows users to deposit and withdraw UK pound sterlings easily.

The previous system had been causing problems for users for having their UK bank linked to the exchange account. The new system will in effect be a first step towards converting the Coinbase account into an “effective primary bank account”. The exchange also used a digital gift card program recently that allowed European users to access cash in other ways than conventional fiat.

Pro football team paid in cryptocurrencies in Gibraltar: A professional football team Gibraltar United in Gibraltar, UK is paying its team in cryptocurrency as the island opens up to the idea of cryptocurrencies.

Gibraltar United’s owner Pablo Dana who is also an investor in the digital currency Quantacoin has said that he hopes it will encourage foreign players to easily set up banking and crypto accounts in Gibraltar and help stamp out corruption that is rampant in the game.

Gibraltar is aiming to lure new and old fintech companies in cryptosphere to its shores. Together with Switzerland and Malta, Gibraltar makes three most progressive places in Europe to adopt cryptocurrencies and blockchain platforms.

Denmark

Copenhagen blockchain school up and running in university: The blockchain school in Copenhagen, Denmark is marking its third year in offering latest blockchain courses for enthusiasts around the world.

The school was initially developed as a partnership between the University of Copenhagen, IT University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen Business School. It describes blockchain as “a revolutionary technology that has the potential to disrupt multiple industries”.

The primary focus of the blockchain schools has been “the design and implementation of blockchain-based systems require interdisciplinary knowledge as well as mindful consideration of broader economic and societal issues”.

The weeklong course was devised by the computer science department of the University of Copenhagen. Dr Omri Ross, Assistant Professor at the University is one of the main driving forces behind the Blockchain programs being offered in the university. Various partnerships in the program reflect the wide-scale application of the program including a recent segment by the World Wildlife Foundation.

Dr Ross explained: “While we do work on Ethereum-based Dapp development we are also collaborating with QTUM’s protocol (they are the second biggest blockchain in China) as well as the protocols of Ontology, Hyperledger, and Firmo.”

Liechtenstein

Fully European legislation compliant crypto exchange to open in Liechtenstein: The first fully compliant cryptocurrency exchange, Blocktrade.com, under latest guidelines from the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is now open for registration in the small European nation of Liechtenstein.

The latest regulations were a string of stringent policies that were the cornerstone of of Anti Money Laundering (AML) and anti-corruption steps taken by the European parliament. The exchange is offering trading in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ripple for now.

CEO of Blocktrade.com Luka Gubo said, “This is an ideal way for regulators across Europe to recognize cryptocurrencies as a new asset class and put in a regulatory framework.”

Cryptocurrency exchanges across the continent are scrambling to become compliant under the latest rules and are currently under a grace period offered by the ESMA.

 

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 27th July to 2nd August 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

Exchanges could lose SME tax relief: South Korean exchanges could lose tax relief for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

A new draft bill in the South Korean National Assembly may set the course for the abolition of the tax waiver that gave tax exemptions to small businesses from 50% to 100% on income or corporate tax in the first five years of operations.

Under the new revised laws, cryptocurrency exchanges could become financial institutions, causing them to fall under the jurisdiction of Financial Services Commission (FSC).

Philippines

Securities and exchange commission releases draft of ICO regulations: The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has released a draft of regulatory guidelines that would be consulted by the government before passing any laws.

The proposed regulation requires startups and companies file applications with the SEC entailing future function of tokens and business operation of the company. The applications will need to be made within 90 days of the commencement of the token pre-sale.

The new move is seen as a way to stop illicit ICOs operating in the country.

China

Xiong’an City set to pilot Dream City Initiative between government and ConsenSys: In a first, the Chinese city of Xiong’an will pilot a new program that will transform the city into a “dream city”. The project is a collaboration between crypto platform ConsenSys and the Chinese government and backed by President Xi Jinping himself.

Urban development in China in the last three decades has been massive and new cities have been developed just to address the increasing need for mega cities in the country. The dream city move will see the city become a leading tech hub for the country.

According to Joseph Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum and Founder of ConsenSys:

“As one of our first major projects in the People’s Republic of China, we are excited to help define the many “use cases” that could benefit from the trust infrastructure enabled by Ethereum technology.”

The move will see the first time that a foreign crypto platform has been tasked with developing infrastructure in the country.

Hong Kong

23% of Hong Kong residents willing to invest in crypto: A survey conducted by the Hong Kong Blockchain Association (HKBA) has shown that around 23% of Hong Kong residents are considering to invest in cryptocurrencies.

The survey also revealed that a majority of the population had concerns regarding the cryptocurrencies including its mechanism but was willing to give them a chance because they were new.

Vietnam

Crypto mining farm found abandoned, investors missing $35M: A Vietnamese crypto mining farm owner has reportedly absconded with over USD 35 million of investor funds.

The Sky Mining Business offered investors a chance to buy shares of the coin mining company hardware and earn profit in Bitcoin. The packages included a one-time payment between USD 100 to USD 500 as well as personal use of mining device for up to ten months.

The CEO, however, had other plans as he is AWOL right now and none of the hardware and investment can be tracked down as of now. The Vietnamese authorities are in hot pursuit.

Thailand

Movie theater to accept crypto as government opens doors: The largest Thai movie theater chain, Major Cineplex, is now accepting cryptocurrency payments.

There are 143 theaters under the Thai chain right now, the largest one being the Paragon Cineplex in Bangkok. The company also has a presence in neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia.

The move was allowed by the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that is proactive in allowing cryptocurrency use in the country.

Pakistan

Economic woes could increase crypto usage: Economic woes in the country could increase cryptocurrency adoption in the country as Localbitcoins.com traffic also experienced an uptick during the recent devaluing of the national currency.

Pakistan endured a grueling political campaign this year and the shortage of foreign currency such as US dollars could spell an increase in adoption of cryptocurrencies in the near future.

Australia

17 tons of almond exported to Germany using blockchain: The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has said that the country has successfully exported 17 tons of almonds from Sunraysia to Hamburg, Germany using a newly implemented Blockchain platform for trading.

A live trial of the blockchain technology-based system was conducted by the CBA in a first. The managing director of Industrial and Logistics at CBA said:

“Our blockchain-enabled global trade platform experiment brought to life the idea of a modern global supply chain that is agile, efficient and transparent. We believe that blockchain can help our partners reduce the burden of administration on their businesses and enable them to deliver best-in-class services to their customers.”

 

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

Exchange wins case against bank that closed its account: Brazilian cryptocurrency exchange Walltime has won a recent court battle against local fiat bank Caixa Economica Federal that chose to freeze its accounts with more than USD 200,000 in funds.

According to local Bitcoin website Portal do Bitcoin, Walltime won a preliminary injunction against its funds meaning that while the case isn’t finally decided, the exchange has now access to its funds in the interim period.

Walltime’s lawyer, Graziele Brandao said:

“Given that the nature of Walltime’s activity requires an open bank account in as many institutions as possible to facilitate 24/7 negotiations, Walltime suffered a lot of damage in that period.”

According to Brandao, the losses amount to much more than then quarter of a million dollars worth present in the bank at the time. It also lost some users because they weren’t able to withdraw and receive transactions through the bank.

The move follows a regional trend that involves banks illegally cracking down on exchanges and then exchanges winning cases in courts or temporarily getting their funds back as the case drags on.

Argentina

Government launches blockchain for public services: The government of Argentina has announced that it will have its own distributed ledger or DLT that will help provide service for various government agencies.

The blockchain will be called the Federal Blockchain of Argentina and is in development stages right now. The developers will help ensure that the platform is used to improve public processes and standardize private applications of the tech as well. There will be 15 stages of implementation overall.

OneCoin Ponzi postpones going public: The developers of OneCoin, a probable Ponzi coin scheme, have announced that they will be looking to push the release of their coin ahead in time due to issues faced by the company right now.

Back in 2017, the ROIs of the company crashed dramatically thus resulting in loss of coins and investment that had previously kept the organization afloat.

Venezuela

Government to peg local currency with Petro and reduce hyperinflation: The Venezuelan government is on yet another bold move as the embattled state decided to peg its Bolivar fiat currency to its fiat national cryptocurrency that is supposedly backed by oil. It has also decided to remove five zeros from the Bolivar that is suffering from hyperinflation.

Speaking to the nation Nicholas Maduro, the president of Venezuela said:

“The economic re-conversion will start on August 20 definitively with the circulation and issuance of the new Sovereign Bolivar.”

Venezuela’s considerable problems in the economy are well known and it will take a lot of effort and austerity from the government to solve the current issues. Petro has been seen as a viable alternative that can solve these problems and circumnavigate the heavy sanctions placed on it by the United States.

Chile

5,000 merchants now accept crypto payments in Chile: Bitcoin and cryptocurrency penetration in Chile is encouraging, as local payment company Flow and its new partnership with Cryptomkt exchange allow customers to pay for daily goods and services with cryptocurrencies.

The move is especially encouraging in the country as it comes in the backdrop of a Court of Appeals order that ruled banks banning exchanges accounts illegal. Flow is an integrated platform for the solution of transactions. It has more than 20,000 active customers and offers services in several mainstream online payment gateways including WebPay, and OnePay.

 

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The post South America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 27th July to 2nd August 2018 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

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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Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 20th to 26th July 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.

Malta

Cryptocurrency rules not yet enforced in Malta: Malta’s new cryptocurrency regulatory framework is not in effect right now.

The three cryptocurrency-centric bills were passed by the country’s parliament in June, thus setting out a number of progressive changes to the country’s cryptocurrency scene. However, the Malta Financial Services Authority has said that none of these laws are in force as of now.

The reason given is because the government is working on the development of Virtual Assets Financial Framework that will which will enable the regulation to be enforced.

It is, however, unclear when the framework will be ready for implementation.

UK

Surrey police first to confiscate and sell BTC in the UK: UK’s Surrey county police has reportedly completed the liquidation of more than BTC 296 confiscated earlier this year from money laundering suspects, according to Forbes.

Latvian national Seregjs Teresko was the first to be arrested and deported for money laundering in the country and the BTC were recovered from him. He is currently serving nine years in prison for his crimes.

However, the sale was poorly timed as at that time, the Bitcoin were valued at USD 1.5 million but since then, the currency appreciated a lot. The local AML court declared the sale legal and the police department was allowed to keep 18.8% of the funds for its operational fund while a budget bonus was also announced for the local police totaling around USD 385,000.

A spokesperson for the police said:

“Our responsibility was to ask the courts for permission to act, within the existing legal frameworks, and once given that permission, to take action… We wouldn’t speculate by holding onto any asset or property (whether Bitcoin, jewelry, vehicle or otherwise) that was seized under Proceeds of Crime Act in the hope of it changing in value.”

Germany

German Bundesliga joins English Premier League in opening doors for crypto: According to latest reports from Germany, the popular football league Bundesliga has joined the English Premier league in welcoming cryptocurrency and blockchain.

The German club Hamburg SV based in Hamburg city has signed a partnership with fintech company NAGA for the 2018/2019 season. NAGA was founded in the same city back in 2015 and continues to post impressive gains while complying with local laws.

NAGA executive director Benjamin Bilski said regarding the partnership:

“Our values and entrepreneurial attitudes are a perfect match, especially as HSV is open to new technologies, which is exactly what NAGA stands for. Because we are very familiar with statistics and technology, sophisticated and constantly new applications play a big role in our success.”

The move follows the EPL team Wolverhampton that made a local cryptocurrency exchange CoinDeal its main sponsor in a first in the continent.

Ethereum co-founder labels Berlin most important city in blockchain development: News from Germany show that Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin has said that “Berlin is the most important city in the Blockchain cosmos”.

Lubin made these comments to a local German News outlet. He said:

“Berlin has the infrastructure, Berlin has the talent, the really good programmers are here… the government needs to set up more programs to promote blockchain.”

While Lubin acknowledged that Blockchain and cryptocurrency in general was in its initial stages of development, he is pinning hopes on the popularity of cryptocurrencies to bring the world’s attention to the genre.

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan to apply blockchain technology: Azerbaijan is the host to the first big cryptocurrency conference in the country hosted in Baku. The conference will host ICOs, exchanges and blockchain companies from around the world according to latest reports from the EuroAsian country.

While the country presented a largely conservative stance on cryptocurrencies in the past, it is slowly but surely opening up to the idea of cryptocurrencies.

Nidjat Imanov, deputy-director of the Department of Tax Policy and Strategic Studies at the Ministry of Taxes stated regarding cryptocurrency taxation:

“Incomes from operations with cryptocurrencies will be taxed. Formally, this means – corporate profit tax for legal entities and personal income tax for individuals… If someone bought cryptocurrency and then sold it at a higher price, that amount must be reported as income and subjected to taxation.”

Ukraine

Cryptocurrency regulations proposed in Ukraine after growing popularity: The Ukrainian National Securities and Exchange Commission (NSMCS) has said in a statement that the regulatory body Financial Stability Council (FSC) is considering cryptocurrency legislation in the country after increasing appeal for cryptocurrency and blockchain investment.

As of right now, the Ukrainian government hasn’t proposed legalization of cryptocurrencies in the country despite increasing levels of activity in the country but legislation talks are underway for the future.

The head of the NSMCS has suggested to move forward to recognize cryptocurrencies as tokens or financial instruments before finalizing on regulation to give the government a legal footing on the matter.

Russia

Russian cryptocurrency experts see 10 times cut in wages despite high demand: A recent documentation by the government of Russia shows the cryptocurrency sphere has seen a big cut in wages of the crypto employees despite the sector being in high demand.

A study by hh.ru shows that security analysts, project managers and legal experts got RUB 100,000, a cut of 40% from last year alone. PR specialists also faced a cut of nearly 50% during the same period as well.

 

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