Category Archives: Israel cryptocurrency news

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Israel Tech Institute Accuses Professor of IP Rights Violation

Israel

A civil suit has been filed by the Technion Israel Institute of Technology against one of its faculty members, accusing him of establishing a zero knowledge proof technology company for which he used institute’s resources, reported Calcalist (local media outlet) on 22 April 2019.

Prof Eli Ben-Sasson was accused of violating the institute’s intellectual property rules. The suit has been filed with the Haifa District Court. According to the lawsuit, a company called Starkware was founded by Ben-Sasson in collaboration with a doctoral student, studying at the Technion. Ben-Sasson allegedly used intellectual property which was developed using “grants received at Technion”.

Starkware is aiming at improving the scalability of blockchains by utilizing zero knowledge proof technology. The Technion has claimed that Ben-Sasson created the zero-knowledge protocol STARK using millions of shekels granted to him by the institute.

Moreover, Ben-Sasson tried to commercialize the knowledge by establishing Starkware in order to dispossess the institute of its intellectual property rights, maintained the lawsuit. Therefore, the Technion has requested the court to transfer half of the Ben Sasson’s shares in Starkware to the institute.

According to the reports, Starkware has defended itself by stating that the company has no intention to use an invention belonging to the institution. Moreover, Starkware Industries utilized its own funds to hire workers and developed the required software and intellectual property. Hence, the Technion has no right to the company’s or Prof. Sasson’s shares.

In October 2018, USD 30 million was raised by Starkware in a financing round. Reportedly, it secured funds from companies such as Sequoia, Semantic Ventures, Intel Capital, Atomico and Multicoin Capital. Moreover, a seed funding round of USD 6 million was completed in May in which NEO’s Da Hongfei, Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin and Bitmain reportedly participated.

 

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Central Bank of Israel Asks for DLT Info

Israel

The Bank of Israel has issued a formal request on its website pertaining to information on decentralized ledger technologies (DLT).

The request is not from the Bank of Israel alone but includes other financial entities such as Security Authority, Tax Authority and the Ministry of Finance and Justice. Other regulatory bodies such as Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority are also included in the list.

The ‘Regulatory Coordination of Virtual Assets’ document seeks information on DLTs since “the regulators of the Israeli financial system believe that there is room to renew and strengthen cooperation and coordination among all regulators and the public”.

The document clearly states it seeks information on hindrances faced by the local industry in the development of the technology. This includes companies directly using the technology, fundraising, dealing and trading of virtual assets.

The document also seeks out information on the risks involved in the usage of virtual assets and how that could be an opportunity for the finance industry to improve on. The document also inquires as to how the technology can be used to prevent money laundering and financing of terror-related activities.

The bank of Israel has already committed resources to the study of digital currencies, with a statement by the study group recommending that the adoption of cryptocurrencies at the state level will not have significant gains. The latest document requesting information shows a good sign from the government. A different perspective on the technology (from actual developers and users) just might give the government the right reason to adopt it.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has also shown his distaste for cryptocurrencies, calling them Ponzi schemes and that “he would never invest” in such digital currencies.

 

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Bank of Israel Decides Against Digital Currency

The Bank of Israel has decided against issuing a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) after a study group recommended the same measure. The move comes after extensive efforts by the national regulator to study cryptocurrencies and DLT.

The study was performed by a joint team set up by the governor of the Bank of Israel to examine the issue of CBDCs. It has only recently completed its report and submitted it to the bank.

According to the report: “The team does not recommend that the Bank of Israel issue digital currency in the near future. It is necessary to continue examining the field and to follow developments around the world before there are proper grounds for a decision to recommend issuing digital currency.”

The opinion comes as little surprise, given that CBDCs are being widely discredited around the world by financial watchdogs and central banks because of their perceived incompatibility with the fiat cash-based system.

Bank of Japan also raised doubts about the operation of CBDCs and their potential place in the current system. The European Union also announced earlier this year that the conditions were not suitable for CBDCs in the environment the continuing popularity of hard cash and lack of serious risk assessment.

While other banks like People’s Bank of China (PBoC) and Venezuelan Central Bank are seen as in favor of CBDCs, no major country except Venezuela has announced the development of a CBDC. Canadian and Swedish Central Banks are also reportedly looking into the technology with interest.

 

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