The Chamber of Digital Commerce’s Smart Contracts Symposium this week included a panel that focused its attention on blockchain smart contracts and the difficulties regulators could face as they try to exercise their oversight power. The panel included two representatives from U.S. regulatory agencies: the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The representatives acknowledged that both agencies have been closely monitoring the rise of distributed ledger technology.
This week saw the launch of yet another blockchain consortium, as the Korea Financial Investment Association successfully completed the launch of a consortium that will include five blockchain firms and twenty-one financial investment firms. The group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to seal the deal.
BTC Inc. announced this week that it will be holding its first-ever Distributed: Markets blockchain conference at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 27. The one-day event is expected to include more than four dozen speakers from around the world, and will offer five keynote presentations and fifteen other sessions that will focus attention on distributed ledger technology’s role in various sectors of the economy like payments, insurance, capital markets, and digital assets. According BTC Inc., the goal of the event will be to facilitate interaction between stakeholders to help develop the framework necessary for greater adoption of this technology. Program Director Tyler Evans described BTC’s objective for the conference:
One of Japan’s largest banking interests, Mizuho, has successfully tested a cryptocurrency that it created in collaboration with IBM Japan as a means to achieve lower money transfer costs. According to a report published by the Nikkei Asian Review, the new digital currency was being tested from July to September, 2016, via an app designed to calculate dinner party participants’ share of the dinner tab.
A new report released this week by blockchain startup Digital Asset Holdings claims that the company has created a blockchain-based platform that will preserve trade confidentiality. If those claims are correct, the platform could help to remove one of the major obstacles to more widespread adoption of blockchain technology by the financial industry. The announcement comes on the heels of Digital Asset CEO Blythe Masters’ recent remarks about sensitive data:
Many people paint a mental picture in their heads of crony capitalism as a room full of old rich guys, smoking cigars, watching the ticker, and counting piles of money freshly squeezed from peasant folk. In reality, crony capitalism is more about the government wielding their monopoly of unquestionable force to choose which private businesses are winners, and which ones are losers. Some might compare crony capitalism to fascist style control over the private sector. Mega corporations and unions have very deep pockets and can buy favors such as subsidies or favorable regulation that can give them an almost monopolistic advantage over small businesses. Governments should instead be championing small businesses and all the real economic benefits they bring to the country, because without a fair and level playing field, many of these small enterprises will fail.
Cryptocurrency can play a role in ending this cycle, helping free markets thrive once again.
The United States Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) will be hosting a public meeting on December 9, 2016, to explore and promote options for improving the online marketplace. That meeting is scheduled to be held in the Madison Auditorium at the United States Patent and Trademark Office from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM, and will focus on digital rights for copyrighted works, digital registry interoperability, and new technologies like the blockchain. Interested parties can view a live webcast online.
The Nikkei Asian Review reported earlier this week that three of the largest banks in Japan had been testing domestic money transfer speeds on the blockchain. Their tests demonstrated that the blockchain transfer speeds are comparable to those seen on existing bank transfer systems. Though the banks have not yet been identified, they reportedly spent much of this past year testing their proof of concept in a research forum that also included Tokyo’s bitFlyer Bitcoin exchange and Deloitte Tohmatsu. Those tests ended in September.
Within the industry, there is a divide in opinion as to whether or not it is a good idea to use web wallets. The lack of trust toward governments and financial institutions, as well as losses suffered due to some unscrupulous exchange operators and other scams, has left a bitter mark on a lot of people. This group believes that everyone should hold onto their own cryptocurrencies. What many of them fail to consider are the obstacles mass adoption faces if the only option people have is to store their funds on a downloaded desktop or mobile wallet.
Downloading a wallet, whether it is for bitcoin or another digital currency, has been a tough sell with the mainstream public. Whether it is because they erroneously feel you need a great deal of technology knowledge, distrust and fear downloading anything, or they simply suffer from sheer cryptocurrency bewilderment, it is clear there needs to be some sort of bridge that makes it both easier to get started and has a degree of familiarity people can relate to.
On Thursday, BitLendingClub confirmed that it will be terminating its P2P Bitcoin lending platform in 2017. The announcement was made in a blog post confirming the details of an earlier email that had sparked a flurry of rumors throughout the day. BitLendingClub cited regulatory pressure as the reason for the planned shutdown, but assured its users that the platform will continue to provide “minimal functionality” for existing users so that current loans can be repaid and funds can be withdrawn. Restrictions on functionality are expected to begin as early as next week.
After nearly a year of development, the Australian Digital Currency & Commerce Association (ADCCA) has launched its Australian Digital Currency Industry Code of Conduct. The association’s CEO, Nicholas Giurietto, has indicated that the Code of Conduct was developed to provide best practice standards that can help to guide digital currency companies as they try to comply with Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing regulations. In addition, it will provide consumers with the confidence that comes from knowing that companies are using best industry practices.
A federal judge in the Northern District of California issued a ruling today that granted the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the authority to demand digital currency user information from the Coinbase exchange. The IRS request for court approval of the so-called “John Doe” summons was presented to the court earlier in November by the Department of Justice to meet statutory guidelines that require court approval for any summons that fails to identify that targeted person or persons by name. The summons seeks information about Coinbase’s US customers who executed digital currency transactions between 2013 and 2015.
R3 has released the source code for its Corda blockchain prototype, in a post on the Github code-sharing website. The company also launched a new website called Corda.net that provides developers and others access to Corda-related resources like the Corda forum, documentation, and links to the Corda download page on Github. Last month, R3 had committed to making Corda open source by November 30, 2016. Today’s release was right on schedule.
Digvijaya Singh: Terrorists Use Bitcoin; Demonetization Won’t Work
Meanwhile, Indian Finance Minister Calls for More Digital Money
Uquid Facilitates Altcoin Use on Visa Network
House Ag Committee Calls on CFTC to Focus on Digital Currency Regulations Now
Hiroshi Nakaso, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Japan, reveals directed efforts to include Fintech and blockchain technology into the Japanese banking system. Nakaso also shot down rumors that Japan had plans to repeal current currency in exchange for a digital version.
The various applications of blockchain have been the driving force behind the growing interest in the digital currency industry, and its stature in terms of attracting investment and talent. While we have seen many innovations in blockchain use over the last few years, a new one seems to appear every month, and this is no exception. By using a combination of a tamper proof seal equipped with a near field communication chip loaded with identification data about a package, and registering that data onto a blockchain for immutable verification, Chronicled have created a system that tracks and verifies valuable cargo in one operation. Cryptoseal offers visible proof of tampering along with digital verification the parcels integrity.
Blockchain is the technology of the moment, not a week goes by without a new way of harnessing the abilities of blockchain appearing, which is great for the industry. However, with a growing number of projects all using different blockchains, some bespoke private solutions, some tailored public ones, some piggybacking onto existing blockchain networks, there is a danger of increased fragmentation that could cause issues long term. That is the problem that a new paper published by Parity Technologies Ltd.’s Gavin Wood is looking to solve, with the new Polkadot network that will allow transaction data exchange between different blockchains.
It’s Officially a Trend… Sovereign Digital Currencies
IRS Trying to Gain Access to Coinbase User Records
Cryptocurrency and the Wall
WINGS, a DAO management, creation and partnering platform has joined with Airbitz, a mobile bitcoin wallet. This will provide ease of management, and security to crowd funding and other ventures involving the blockchain.
If there is one area where the fiat system has always struggled, it is cross border remittance. Relatively high costs, slow and heavily bureaucratic, the remittance system has been a hindrance to the growing army of global workers who rely on cross border payments. From freelance designers and programmers to web design and writing, these things are done by people all over the world, for client’s in every continent. To streamline this process between Korea and China, and possibly transform remittance forever, Shinhan Bank is launching a new remittance service that uses Bitcoin as the intermediary funding.