As Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology continue to experience increased consumer and investor interest, mainstream media outlets have focused their attention on the industry as well. News giant Reuters has apparently also taken note of that increased attention, and will now report on stories about the blockchain and digital currency in one of two new coverage sections launched by the company on Monday.
If you’ve ever wondered how digital currency can ever really hope to achieve its promise of providing real financial empowerment to the people of the world through true democratization of money, you’re not alone. Most crypto-skeptics and even some enthusiasts have long wondered how decentralized currencies can ever manage to meet that goal. In a recent interview with CEOCFO Magazine published on Monday, DNotes Founder Alan Yong offers his take on the problems confronting Bitcoin and most other digital currencies, as well as his ideas about how DNotes can meet those challenges.
For citizens of the United States and most other Western democracies, the idea of triple-digit inflation, a crashing currency, and a lack of basic goods is almost impossible to comprehend. That’s the reality for millions in Venezuela, however, where nearly two decades of socialist rule has brought a nation with the world’s largest oil reserves to the brink of economic collapse. As Venezuela continues to be mired in a seemingly endless crisis, ordinary Venezuelans are becoming even more interested in cryptocurrency.
Iran’s National Center for Cyberspace (NCC) has reportedly completed its draft proposal for regulating cryptocurrencies. According to that country’s Financial Tribune website, the document has been in the works since 2013 and is now ready to be considered by Iran’s High Council on Cyberspace. NCC regulation deputy Saeid Mahdavioon has said that the proposal should be finalized within the next two months.
A bipartisan group of Senators introduced a new bill late last month that would require travelers to declare their digital currency holdings at all ports of entry into the United States. Senate bill S.1241 – the “Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017” – was introduced by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, and was co-sponsored by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, John Cornyn, and Diane Feinstein.
It’s become a recurring theme in many political circles: whenever terrorism is discussed, it’s usually just a matter of time before Bitcoin is dragged into the discussion. That pattern repeated itself again this week in the Australian House of Representatives, when opposition leader Bill Shorten decided to include commentary on the world’s most well-known digital currency while talking about terrorism, terror financing, and encryption technology.
Yesterday, Bitcoin set a new all-time price high, passing the $3,000 mark. Today, the world’s most well-known digital currency sharply retreated from that record high, as trading volumes on the major cryptocurrency exchanges surged. Amid that heavy traffic, global Bitcoin exchange Coinbase experienced yet another major outage that temporarily left its customers without access to exchange services.
Bitcoin’s price managed to cross the $3,000 barrier for a brief period on Sunday afternoon, according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index. The coin set a new all-time high of $3,012.05, though the price quickly retreated to the high 2900s. At press time, the currency’s price on Coinbase stands at just below that milestone: $2,998.87.
San-Francisco based cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has announced that it is lowering its withdrawal fee from the roughly $7 flat fee (.0025 XBT) proposed several days ago to a flat fee of about $3 per withdrawal (.0001 XBT). The company cited customer preference in its decision, and has suggested that it will conduct batch withdrawals to help control costs.
More than a month ago, the New Hampshire legislature passed House Bill 436 and sent it to Governor Chris Sununu for his signature. The Governor signed the bill into law late last week, effectively ensuring that those who use cryptocurrency in New Hampshire will no longer be subject to the state’s money transmitter regulations. That exemption will become effective on August 1, 2017.
Those following the ongoing Internal Revenue Service court battle with Coinbase will recall that several members of Congress sent a letter in late May requesting details from the IRS about its efforts to investigate the Coinbase Bitcoin exchange and obtain the company’s user account information. The agency was given until June 7 to provide a response to those questions. Though IRS compliance with that oversight request has yet to be confirmed, there is news that a second group of elected representatives is now attempting to get answers about how the agency plans to deal with digital currency tax concerns.
When mainstream news outlets talk about digital currency these days, much of the emphasis is on the cryptocurrency markets and the surging values of digital currencies like Bitcoin. According to Reuters, however, what’s good for digital currency investors has apparently also been good for computer graphic card maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). In fact, increased activity in the cryptocurrency markets has contributed to rising stock prices and increased demand for the company’s chips as AMD shares rose by more than 7 percent in Tuesday’s trading.
Recent reports suggest that the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) may be considering a move to enact a regulatory framework for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Chinese cryptocurrency news source cnLedger posted the news on Friday, noting that Chinese central bank Digital Currency Research Institute head Yao Quian addressed the issue while discussing digital currencies and related technologies. As cnLedger reported,
With demand for Bitcoin and other digital currencies continuing to increase, it seems as though each day brings news of some new milestone in the cryptocurrency universe. Bitcoin exchange Coinbase could soon achieve its own milestone in the coming weeks, as the company is reportedly in negotiations with investors to raise capital that could result in the exchange eventually being valued at a billion dollars or more.
In remarks delivered at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum recently, Russian Central Bank Deputy Governor Olga Skorobogatova suggested that the world will eventually see nations create their own digital currencies. She also seemed to confirm that the tests required to prove the viability of such currencies had already been completed using platforms like the Hyperledger and Masterchain.
After more than three months of uncertainty, cryptocurrency traders with holdings on China’s three largest Bitcoin exchanges received welcome news this week when they learned that they will soon be able to once again withdraw their digital currency. That news ends the suspension of withdrawal activity that began in February amid central bank concerns about the exchanges’ compliance with AML/KYC requirements.
Chinese Bitcoin exchange Huobi will make Ethereum (ETH) trading available to its customers, effective May 31 2017. According to reports, the move was prompted by numerous requests from traders. At this point, however, it is unclear whether customers will be able to trade and withdraw the digital currency from the exchange, or whether the change will simply allow them to purchase and hold Ethereum.
Bitcoin exchange BITPoint Japan has announced plans to continue its efforts to increase access to payments for consumers and retailers alike. After helping Peach Aviation in the airline’s quest to begin accepting Bitcoin payments from passengers by the end of 2017, BITPoint’s next Bitcoin plans reportedly involve a partnership that could provide hundreds of thousands of retailers with the ability to accept the digital currency in their stores.
Blockchain copyright firm Blockai has announced that it has raised $950,000 in investment money. The company has also rebranded by changing its name to Binded – a clear reference to the firm’s new focus on providing legally-binding copyright records for those who use its blockchain copyright service. That service is designed to provide artists and other content creators with a blockchain-based copyright system to help safeguard their intellectual property rights.
According to a report in the Times of India, MPs at Thursday’s Parliamentary Standing Committee of Finance meeting had serious questions about Bitcoin’s potential use as a vehicle for terror financing and criminal activities. While many of their questions had been raised by individual members in recent months, this meeting saw concerns raised by politicians representing a diverse range of political views.