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Malta’s Cabinet Approves First Draft of National Blockchain Strategy

Earlier this year, Malta’s Prime Minister, Dr. Joseph Muscat, offered some innovative ideas during his keynote speech at the CEPS Ideas Lab – including a suggestion that Europe should work to become “the Bitcoin continent.” In recent remarks at an Economic and Financial Affairs Committee conference, he vowed that his country would take the lead by becoming one of the first to truly embrace the technology. Malta’s Cabinet has now taken steps toward that goal by approving the initial draft of what is being referred to as a national strategy for blockchain promotion.

Hirosaki Japan Accepts Bitcoin Donations for Preservation of Landmark Park

According to reports on Coincheck’s blog, the city of Hirosaki has partnered with Coincheck, Inc. to begin accepting Bitcoin donations that will help in the city’s effort to preserve an important historic park. The donations will be used to maintain roughly 2,600 cherry trees, as well as a castle that was constructed several hundred years ago. The castle park complex and its famed cherry blossoms attract more than 2 million visitors each spring.

Florida Bill Would Add Digital Currency to State’s AML Law

Legislators in Florida are considering a bill that would add digital currencies like Bitcoin to the money-laundering statute. The legislation is a response to last year’s dismissal of money-laundering charges in a case that involved a man in Miami beach. The defendant allegedly sold $1,500 in Bitcoin to undercover detectives who had reportedly told him that they intended to purchase stolen credit card numbers. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler had thrown out the money-laundering charges after determining that Bitcoin could not be considered “money” as that term was defined in state law.

Ethereum Movie Venture ICO Sells Out in Just Three Weeks

Over the last several months, we’ve been regularly updating our readers on the progress of an exciting new Ethereum-financed movie enterprise. Last month, we reported on the launch of the Ethereum Movie Venture token, which began its initial coin offering (ICO) for the EMV cryptocurrency on March 20th. Ethereum Movie Venture has recently announced that its Phase 2 ICO is complete, five weeks ahead of schedule.

OKCoin Joins Bitfinex in Suspension of US Dollar Deposits

The week has gotten off to a frustrating start for some digital currency customers, as two major cryptocurrency exchanges have suspended US dollar deposits. Bitfinex announced on Monday that it would be unable to process wire transfers. Now, OKCoin has made a similar announcement, informing its customers that US dollar deposits will not be accepted. The suspension of deposits has been attributed to problems with the intermediary banks responsible for processing the wire transfers.

Indian Bitcoin Firms Request Meeting with Special Committee

The government in India announced last week that it had created a special committee to examine involving digital currency technology and propose regulatory policies to address consumer protection, money-laundering, and other concerns. Now, an alliance of digital currency firms – the Digital Asset and Blockchain Foundation of India (DABFI) has announced that it wants to be able to make the industry’s case by meeting directly with the committee.

EY and EzLab Partner to Create Wine Blockchain

EY has collaborated with EzLab to create a new blockchain-based tracking system for the wine industry in Italy. The new Wine Blockchain EY is designed to provide consumers with reliable information about the wines they purchase by allowing them to access details about a wine’s cultivation, production process, and point of sale – data that will be securely stored using blockchain technology.

Belgian Justice Minister Seeks Liquidation Solution for Seized Bitcoins

Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens is reportedly consulting with experts in an attempt to determine how the government can liquidate Bitcoins it has seized during criminal cases in recent months. Those Bitcoins are currently in the custody of the Central Office for Seizure and Confiscation (COSC) – the government office responsible for managing confiscated assets.

Ukraine and Bitfury Group Partner for eGovernance

Global blockchain firm Bitfury Group has joined with the Ukrainian government to provide the country with a blockchain platform for eGovernance. CEO Valery Vavilov revealed the partnership during an interview on Wednesday, and additional details about the undertaking were provided in a press release on the company web site on Thursday

Digital Literacy Crisis – The Education System Needs to ‘Get With The Game’

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us, and there has been a dismal effort at best to prepare both students and the current workforce for upcoming jobs. Building upon the Third Industrial Revolution that among other things, first introduced us to digital technology, the Fourth will issue in an era of robots and automation, self-driving cars, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, quantum computing, and for the sake of time, let’s just call the rest ‘smart-everything’. The speed of this innovational change is unprecedented, and will impact virtually every industry on a global scale. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will fundamentally change almost every aspect of our lives, making the need for basic digital literacy an issue that urgently needs to be addressed.

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