Digital Currency Weekly Recap 5-29-2016
Russia Contemplating National Digital Currency - or Not?
In yet another report that reminds us of the fact that we really have no idea where Russia stands on the digital currency issue, recent reports from that nation indicate that it may or may not be considering the creation of its own regulated national cryptocurrency. According to a Friday Kommersant report, the Federal Financial Monitoring Service asserts that the idea has been discussed by the country’s Central Bank, the Russian Ministry of Finance, and various national banking interests, though no actual bill has been drafted for introduction before the Duma.
The President’s Press Secretary, however, informed a group of journalists that no discussions involving the creation of a national digital currency have been had within the Kremlin. While that may be technically true, the monitoring service’s claims are detailed enough to suggest that others in the government and financial world have been seriously addressing the topic. Apparently, the proposed plan under discussion would create a Russian digital currency and immediately ban the use of any other cryptocurrency within the Federation.
It's worth remembering that the Ministry of Finance has been a key advocate for banning Bitcoin and other similar currencies over the last several months. That would make its reported inclusion in these alleged discussions at least somewhat plausible. In addition, this new reported front in the Ministry’s war on cryptocurrency seems more than a little coincidental, given the recent rejection of its proposed legislative ban on digital currencies.
Spanish Authorities Arrest 30, Accuse Them of Cryptocurrency Money-Laundering
In what will surely provide even more fodder for anti-cryptocurrency cranks, Spanish police this week announced the arrest of thirty people accused of using Bitcoin mining centers to launder money received from the illegal distribution of pay-tv programming content. The nationwide crackdown involved arrests in four cities across Spain: Cordoba, Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia, and included the seizure of six separate Bitcoin mining centers.
The criminal enterprise first captured authorities’ attention through a tax office investigation into criminal efforts to decode the aforementioned pay-tv content and illegally sell it. That led investigators through a trail of laundering avenues, including banking investments, cars, and mining centers. To top it all off, those mining centers were reportedly using illegally-obtained electricity for their operations. To date, police have seized Bitcoin worth a total of 31,320 euros, physical cash, vehicles, and even one aircraft.
Agentic Group Partners with Bermuda for Crypto Incubator
Global blockchain and cryptocurrency consortium Agentic Group LLC recently announced that it is partnering with the government of Bermuda to create a digital currency incubator and startup facility in that island nation. Agentic will work in collaboration with the Bermuda Monetary Authority to increase public awareness of digital currency technology and its benefits throughout the region. In a tweet early in the week, Agentic Group referred to the creation of what it called a “Bitmuda Crypto Zone.”
New Santander App Uses Ripple Blockchain for International Payments
Santander recently announced that it is testing a new app that utilizes Ripple blockchain technology to facilitate international payments. The app enables users to connect to Apple Pay to make TouchID-confirmed payments in amounts ranging between £10 and £10,000, using dollars, the sterling, and the euro. Bank staff are currently responsible for the app testing, with transactions currently taking roughly a full day to process. The company’s current expectations are that the general public should have access to the product before the end of the year.
New Sweatcoin App Rewards Fitness Efforts with Cryptocurrency
And now for something completely different...
A new British app designed to run on Apple devices has the lofty goal of rewarding users’ fitness efforts with a digital currency award that they can use in the app’s shop to purchase a variety of different items. The app and currency are called Sweatcoin, and are just the latest example of a news societal focus on rewarding sound fitness decisions with tangible gifts or monetary discounts. The app is limited to UK users at the present time, and provides them with one Sweatcoin for every 1,000 steps they take. 50 of those coins are enough to purchase a Wii console bundle on the company’s shop, so there should be plenty of incentive for Brits to get their feet moving.