Digital Currency Weekly Recap 12-27-2015
Bill in Russian Duma Could Legalize Cryptocurrency
In recent months, much of the cryptocurrency-related news coming out of Russia involved that nation’s government suggesting that it might ban digital currency altogether. There were periodic allusions to possible criminal sanctions for those who used Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and repeated reminders that the ruble remains the only recognized legal tender inside the Russian Federation. A new bill introduced by the United Russia party in the Russian Duma would effectively change all that, as one of its provisions would provide for Bitcoin legalization.
Obviously, the bill can have no legal impact within the country unless and until it is approved by the Duma, but the fact that it was submitted by United Russia can be considered a positive sign for crypto advocates. United Russia is the largest political party in Russia, holds a majority of seats in the Duma, and counts Russian President Vladimir Putin among its members. That could indicate a move toward a more welcoming stance on cryptocurrencies, though the end result - if the bill passed in its current form - would still leave much to be desired.
As currently written, the bill would enable greater dissemination of crypto-related information to the public, while also removing the threat of an outright ban - at least for the time being. For now, however, both the fate of the bill and digital currency’s future within the Russian Federation remain unclear.
Factom’s Microsoft Azure Relationship Sparks 600% Increase in Price
Factom’s market price has apparently experienced the benefits of that cryptocurrency’s relationship with Microsoft Azure, as the coin’s value has risen 600% in the aftermath of Microsoft’s inclusion of Factom capabilities in the company’s Azure cloud service. The price jump is another sign of the continuing interest in blockchain technology and echoes another currency’s similar experience more than a year ago.
Then, it was Counterparty’s involvement with Overstock that sparked a dramatic increase in XPC - a price increase that was reversed when that relationship ended. That would seem to suggest that the current rally is likely to be at least partially dependent on the longevity of Factom’s relationship with the Azure project.
New GateHub Wallet Announced With Expanded Visa, Mastercard
Ripple-integrated wallet platform GateHub has announced the launch of a new multi-asset wallet that supports Ripple’s XRP, US dollars, euros, Bitcoin, gold, and silver. In the company’s most recent announcement, it also revealed that its GateHub Gateway service will launch early next year. Along with the current wallet capabilities, there are also planned expansions that will integrate a variety of other payment networks as well. Once those expansion plans are realized, GateHub’s wallet will accommodate everything from Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Ripple to Visa and Matercard.
Ukrainian Bitcoin Legalization Bill Expected in January
With the actual status of cryptocurrency still facing uncertainty in the Ukraine, digital currency proponents hope to submit a legalization bill to the Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council of Ukraine) in January of 2016. While there have been ongoing efforts to promote digital currency within the country, and a number of successes in gaining more widespread acceptance, the bill is seen as a necessary step toward obtaining more official recognition of cryptocurrency as legal tender.
The Bitcoin Foundation’s Michael Chobanian has been among those spearheading the effort to write the bill. According to him, the objectives of the legislation include securing legal tender status, ensuring reasonable regulation and taxation, and providing Ukrainian commercial enterprises the freedom they need to use digital currency in their operations. The bill would hopefully bring some measure of stability to the nation’s fledgling crypto marketplace, and diminish much of the skepticism that digital currency faces in some government circles.