Welcome to our weekly news roundup. Let’s take you through some of the headline-making news from the Blockchain and crypto world this week.
As per a press release, Austrian Blockchain Center is set to come up in Vienna to facilitate research. The center will be looking into the avenues of leveraging Blockchain’s record-keeping capabilities, in a range of applications, including corporate accounting and auditing as well as cross-border capital market transactions.
In another news, the member states of the G20 international forum have agreed and signed a joint declaration that includes, among other things, the agreement to lay down regulations for cryptocurrencies, in a move that was in line with the new standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on national television that Petro’s price has been increased from 3,600 sovereign Bolivars to 9,000. The announcement was made in the same breath as the 150 percent wage hike for workers in the country. Interestingly, the wallet for Petro still hasn’t been made available, but the Venezuelan government is still trading the currency nonetheless.
Singapore has updated its ICO regulations. It was revealed in a report titled “A Guide to Digital Token Offerings” by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. As per the new rules, all token sales must be made alongside an offer plus a prospectus based on the current terms of the Securities and Futures Act (SFA). Offers which are below $5 million or private sales to less than 50 persons may be excluded from attaching the prospectus. The new regulations also expect ICO platform operators and other intermediaries like exchange platforms, financial advisers, etc. to follow specific rules like having proper licensing requirements. It also specifies that the issuers and intermediaries both must adhere to the anti-money laundering (AML) laws.
In news from the United States, the Department of Homeland Security has released a proposal inviting interested parties to comment as well as design applications for blockchain forensic analytics for emerging cryptocurrencies. DHS is interested in investigating blockchain transactions, including those which were used for privacy coins, as indicated by pre-solicitation notice published on 30th November.
Another news from New York reveals that the Department of Financial Services of New York (NYDFS) has authorized a blockchain-based digital platform offered by a local bank. According to reports, the system will use blockchain technology to facilitate their clients to use “transfer ‘Signets’ to make payments with no transaction fees, at any time of the day, year-round.”
Also in the US, Republican Congressman Warren Davidson, who has been an ardent fan of Bitcoin and Blockchain technologies, is now planning to introduce a federal bill that will regulate Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and Cryptocurrencies. The bill would create an “asset class” for tokens, which would prevent them from being classified as securities, but would also allow the federal government to regulate initial coin offerings more effectively.
Chinese crypto Billionaire Li Xiaolai has announced his plans to develop a new stable coin which would find its use on the Honk-Kong based blockchain fund Grande Shores Technology. Another news from China has brought to fore the fact that many miners in China are now short selling Bitcoins as a means of ‘insurance’ or hedge against falling digital asset prices. It is hard to believe that one Bitcoin (BTC) was worth over $17,000 in December last year, given its current market value of around $3,400 (at the time of writing)! This steep price drop has considerably affected individuals and organizations who are involved in the mining of cryptocurrencies.
In the Middle East, Abu Dhabi is in the news as the international financial free zone within Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has completed the first phase of its blockchain-based Know Your Customer (KYC) utility project. Regulatory body of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) in collaboration with audit firm KPMG have published a review, which provides the details of the successful conclusion of the first phase of the project to provide key takeaways for members of the financial industry.
According to a report by the Financial Times, seven countries from the European Union have signed a declaration which calls for assistance in promoting the use of Distributed Ledger Technology’s (DLT) in the region. The resolution was reportedly initiated by Malta, a country known for taking a very positive stance towards the use of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. It was then signed by six other member states of France, Italy, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, and Greece, in a meeting of EU transport ministers in Brussels.
Calastone, the United Kingdom-based fund network, has announced that it will move its entire network to the Blockchain in 2019!
Taiwan-based tech giant ASUS has said that its graphics cards (GPUs) can be used for mining cryptocurrency in partnership with the mining app Quantum Cloud. It has the potential to provide casual gamers with a chance to earn money while doing what they do best- gaming!
Jersey City-based company IPC System which provides and services voice communication systems for financial companies has announced its partnership with R3 Enterprise Blockchain Software Consortium.
Healthcare giants Aetna and Ascension are partnering for a Blockchain healthcare trial. Along with the other prominent members of the Synaptic Health Alliance, the two will try to figure out how to use the latest technology for improving data quality as well as lowering administrative costs.
Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, is all set to launch its Blockchain network called the Binance Chain. According to a tweet by the company, the crypto world can expect it soon, but no date is specifically mentioned. The blockchain network, which will have its roots on Binance’s expertise in fintech, will also serve as the fore for new cryptocurrencies. It will also be used to launch ICO (Initial Coin Offerings) tokens of various kinds.
Cryptocurrency exchanges Ethfinex and Bitfinex (which support trading for all of the six of the significant stablecoins in the market) have now added USD Coin, TrueUSD, Paxos Standard Token, and Gemini USD- thus giving stiff competition to Tether.
Oracle has announced its collaboration with OriginTrail, the European-based IT firm known for traceability solutions. The collaboration with OriginTrail would bring Oracle’s enterprise-grade technology closer to specific supply chain purpose. It will also enable the company to extract more value out of data being exchanged in the multi-organizational environment.
The Bitcoin donation platform GiveTrack is finally launched on the BitGive mainnet. While the beta version of this platform had been launched last year itself, its mainnet edition, GiveTrack 1.0 was recently made available to the public. The platform aims to make the process of donation more transparent.
Minerword, the Brazil-based mining company which is under the scanner for allegations that it is a Ponzi scheme, has said in a recent statement that the company does not have enough digital currency or Bitcoin to compensate its investors.
The Swiss bank, Gazprombank, has collaborated with a fintech startup company, Avaloq and a crypto firm, Metaco, to provide their clients with various crypto services. Gazprombank, which manages total assets worth CHF 3.1 billion which is approximately 3.12 billion USD has collaborated with these two companies, “to implement their integrated crypto asset solution” aimed at banks and wealth managers. The system is to be used “for the management of client portfolios across all asset classes, including cryptocurrencies.”
Tim Draper has revealed that he is optimistic about his $250,000 prediction. The ‘Nostredame’ of the crypto world has shrugged off the recent bearish trend of the market as a ‘fluctuation” by a few market manipulators. “The recent slump in the market is nothing to worry about, and it is quite common in the trade business cycles,” believes Tim.