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Cryptocurrency Weekly News Roundup (Mon 7th – Sun 13th May)

European Cryptocurrency Exchanges Call for Regulations

The cryptocurrency space has come under a lot of regulatory fire of recent. KYC and AML policies have forced some crypto exchanges to shut down or temporarily halt operations, particularly in Japan and India.

In a bid for transparency, European crypto exchanges have called for regulations. Austrian exchange, Bitpanda and UK trading platform, eToro, expressed concerns over the rather inadequate and demanding AML & KYC regulations, which could put them out of business.

Bitpanda CEO, Eric Demuth pointed out that they would "be happy to have regulations, so [they] know where [they] stand."

600 Stolen Bitcoin Miners from Iceland May be in China

In late December and January, 600 Bitcoin mining hardware valued at around 200 million Kronur ($2 million) were stolen from data centers in Iceland. Efforts to recover the miners have been futile. However, the Icelandic police arrested two suspects in February this year with regards to the heist. One of the suspects managed to escape in mid-April to Sweden, and now faces an international arrest warrant.

The Icelandic police may have however gotten some lead because 600 bitcoin miners were seized in the northern city of Tianjin, China. Authorities were drawn by a pattern of highly irregular electricity usage coming from the region. Icelandic media outlet, RUV reported that although Iceland's police has issued an enquiry to Chinese authorities, they are yet to respond.

Oracle Entering Blockchain Space with Blockchain-based Products

The world's second largest software company, Oracle Crop., is set to launch blockchain-based products over the next two months. According to a report by Bloomberg, Thomas Kurian who is the President of software development announced that Oracle will release a platform-as-a-service product in the month of May, and decentralized ledger-based applications in the following months.

Oracle is currently working with Banco de Chile to log inter-banks transactions on a hyperledger, as well as with the government of Nigeria. The government of Nigeria is seeking to utilize blockchain tech for documenting customs and import duties.

This is coming weeks after Spanish BBVA bank became the first bank to issue a loan on blockchain. Based on the pilot project, a €75 million loan was completed in hours, instead of days.

There's no doubt that many countries and organizations are turning to blockchain tech in a bid to understand and harness its potentials.

Colorado Bill: Blockchain for Data Protection and Cyber Security

Many states and organizations are beginning to open their doors to blockchain tech. One of the recent adopters is Colorado. On May 7, the Colorado Senate passed a bill to use blockchain tech for government cyber security and record keeping.

Tennessee and Arizona are already on the list of states that support this new tech. In March, Tennessee passed a bill which recognizes the legal use of blockchain and smart contracts for electronic transactions. The next month, Arizona okayed sharing of data on blockchain by corporations, and also allowed residents to pay their taxes with cryptocurrencies.

Colorado's Bill, SB 18-086 would see the governor's office of information technology, the department of regulatory agencies, and the department of state, adopt blockchain tech to protect confidential state records from manipulation, theft, or unauthorized access.

According to the bill, blockchain tech can help mitigate some data breach threats to the government:

"In 2017, the cyber threat to the Colorado government included six to eight million attempted attacks per day [...] There are increasing threats to the theft of [...] information within government data [and to] networks. [...]

The expanded use of distributed ledger technologies, such as blockchains, may offer transformative improvements to data security, accountability, transparency and safety across dispersed state departments and jurisdictions."

Cryptocurrencies as Financial Instruments in Ukraine?

Cryptocurrencies may soon become recognized financial instruments in Ukraine. Following a Facebook post by Timur Khromaey, head of the Ukrainian National Securities and Stock Market Commission (SSMCS), the crypto market has grown to become an "integral part of economic and financial relations."

Khromaey noted that "the point of no return is in the past", and it is time to legally recognize cryptocurrencies and bring in regulations. According to him, the digital form of cryptos does not matter. What should be considered is how to fit crypto assets and operations into existing legal frameworks.

It is however ironic that this is coming from Ukraine, considering the fact that in August 2017, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), issued a statement confirming that no other currency except the national one can be used as a form of payment.

NYSE Considers Plan to Add Crypto Trading

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has hinted that customers may soon be able to buy and hold Bitcoin in swap contract deals. Emails and anonymous sources all confirmed this claim. It is expected that in the coming months, the exchange will offer future crypto trading contracts.

There is already CME and CBOE offering futures contracts. However, settlements are performed in fiat. NYSE's parent company, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) plans on BTC settlements. This will be a significant milestone that could see mass adoption of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general.

Analyst Robert Kelly explained that:

"Physical delivery of Bitcoin…means that ICE has a custody solution. That has been the big hurdle. How do you hold onto these assets? These are generally bearer instruments…and so you have to have a third-party custody person. That's the big deal, they have come up with a custody solution for institutional holders."

US First Blockchain-based Elections

History has once again been made with regards to blockchain adoption. West Virginia has successfully completed the first blockchain-supported voting in US history. ETHNews reported that voting accommodated regular voters who used ballots, as well as special voters who exercised their rights on a mobile blockchain-based platform.

The blockchain voting platform was developed by Voatz and made available to certain voters. Either ways, the potentials of blockchain has been further revealed, as Secretary of State, Mike Queen puts it:

"[The office of the Secretary believes] blockchain does provide a heightened level of security on this type of mobile voting app. We're genuinely hoping that will allow this type of a mobile app to be made available in the future – as early perhaps as our general election – to military voters."


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