US Congress Adds Two Blockchain Proposals to the Consumer Protection Safety Act

The U.S House of Representatives has approved two blockchain-affiliated Acts through its Committee on Energy and Commerce; this marks the furthest a blockchain bill has come in the 116th Congress. The two Acts which will now be debated on the House as part of the larger Consumer Technology Act include the Blockchain Innovation Act and a section of the Digital Taxonomy Act.

Blockchain joins the list of emerging tech that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Commerce (DoC) will be tasked with consumer threat identification if the bill goes through. Rep Darren Soto (D-Fla) who is one of the bill’s sponsors noted that blockchain tech is excellent and could go a long way with the right regulatory support,

“I believe our government needs to support that growth, establish light-touch regulations to ensure certainty, protect innovation, stop fraud and enable its appropriate use for government, business and consumers.”

As it stands, the unregulated nature of blockchain has provided adequate grounds for scammers to engage in fraudulent activity and get away with the same in a blink. This was one of the issues cited by the bill’s sponsors and, in particular Congressman Jerry McEnery (D-CA); he highlighted that the incorporation of parts of the Digital Taxonomy Act would play a major role in protecting consumers from the scammers.

Better Late than Never!

Although a little late to the party, the U.S is gradually catching up with pioneers like Japan which enacted regulatory frameworks for the blockchain and crypto industry as early as April 2017. Politicians in the country have also started to accept donations in Bitcoin; Rep Soto, who sponsored this bill told the Chamber PAC that his campaign would be accepting BTC donations. The Democrat Congressman is not the only one that has gone this road; former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and MN-06 Rep Tom Emmer are the other candidates that have since accepted Bitcoin.

Read Original/a>
Author: Edwin Munyui

Crypto Exchanges Are On a Hiring Spree in Anticipation of Heightened BTC Halving Interest

The commerce department announced this week that the US economy shrank 4.8% in the first three months of the year, the steepest decline since the last recession. The same is the case for Europe that covers 19 countries, its economy shrank by 3.8% in Q1 of 2020, the biggest fall since 1995 when eurozone statistics first began.

Meanwhile, another 3.8 million people lost their jobs in the US last week but the pace of layoffs is slowing. Overall, an unprecedented 30 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the six weeks.

The US unemployment is on course to reach the levels unseen since the Great Depression as with a backlog of claims, these figures are undercounting the number of people out of work.

In March, the jobless rate rose to 4.4%. JP Morgan predicted that unemployment could reach 20%.

Exchanges focused on expansion

In the crypto market, however, crypto exchanges are on a hiring spree. Kraken that was planning to hire 250 staffers, will be recruiting 350.

Binance recently shared that its staff has grown to over 1,000 expand its workforce 25% in the first quarter. They are hiring for more people to support its recently launched mining operation, Binance Pool.

Coinbase has posted dozens of openings while crypto exchange OKEx plans to hire more staff in May to expand its workforce of over 1000 employees.

“There’s a greater awareness of crypto as an asset class among the general public,” said Nic Carter, co-founder of Coin Metrics about this trend that just added five full-time employees as well.

But the crypto sector has had its share of exodus too with ConsenSys cutting workers. Crypto-carrers.com also saw a decline in new positions, from 300 last year to 84 in April this year.

This could be because exchanges, which make the bulk of its money from trading fees, are benefiting immensely from the heightened volatility in not April but also from the March crash.

Halving in Effect

With halving less than 12 days away now, the speculation in the market is particularly heightened as we saw spot exchanges leading the current rally.

During the last two halvings as well, the bitcoin price exploded. In the wake of the 2012 halving, BTC price jumped from $12 to $1,000 and following the 2016 halving, the price had a 1,000% spike.

So, this workforce expansion could be crypto exchanges anticipating a flood of speculators and investors who don’t wanna miss out on the halving. Lex Sokolin of ConsenSys told Bloomberg,

“It is really nuts to me that there’s such speculation, since everyone already knows it is going to happen, and should be pricing it in as past information.”

“What we can learn is that the crypto markets are still irrational and short-term oriented, and that companies are betting on the speculation of others to drive their own staffing decisions.”

For now, Bitcoin’s price is trading just under $9,000 preparing for the miner inflow to be cut down in half.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

OneCoin Won’t Be Investigated by NZ Authorities but May Have Shut ePayments Systems Down

While New Zealand’s Commerce Commission has announced that it won’t investigate OneCoin, the ePayments Systems shutdown may be related to it.

The first warning against OneCoin was issued by the Financial Markets Authority back in 2018. In 2019, NZ police filed a report detailing fraud related to OneCoin at the Commerce Commission. The organization has since reported it has decided not to pursue an investigation, claiming that:

“The scheme was no longer operational in New Zealand and there was likely to be little prospect of obtaining compensation for participants.”

The Samoan Religious Community Promoted OneCoin in NZ

Among the promoters of OneCoin includes the Samoan religious community, which promoted it in NZ. Since January 2020, 3 Samoan religious organizations have been placed under investigation for money laundering.

It remains unclear who will be held accountable for the loss of millions of dollars.

Is OneCoin Behind the ePayments Systems Shutdown?

ePayments Systems, the largest digital payment company in the UK, has been shut down by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on February 11th.

It’s believed that over £100 million in client funds were lost. Rumors of malpractice include OneCoin’s complicity in fraud because Robert Courtneidge – one of the former directors at ePayments Systems – worked for the law firm Locke Lord as a Global Head of Cards and Payments. Locke Lord also had, as a client, Ruja Ignatova, OneCoin’s founder.

Two months before Courtneidge left Locke Lorde, Ignatova suddenly disappeared, potentially with a lot of money in laundered investor funds from OneCoin.

Had Courtneidge Worked Closely with Mark Scott?

Back in November 2019, Mark Scott got a conviction for laundering more than 400 million euros for Ignatova, money that is unaccounted for at the moment.

It’s assumed that Courtneidge worked closely with Mark Scott in order to be appointed as ePayment Systems director. This relationship may have involved laundering enormous amounts of money for Ignatova through ePayment Systems.

Could this be why the FCA has shut down ePayments Systems under allegations of money laundering?

Courtneidge Had no Comment on Connections to OneCoin

When approached by the Financial Times on his connections to OneCoin, Courtneidge refused to comment. The same goes for ePayments Systems and Locke Lorde. The question remains whether ePayments Systems was used to steal money for Ignatova or not.

Read Original/a>
Author: Oana Ularu

People’s Bank of China Has Filed 84 Digital Payment Patents For CBDC’s: Report

According to the Chamber of Digital Commerce, China has filed 84 patents for the digital yuan, its new upcoming digital currency.

The patents date to 2017 and are credited to the People’s Bank of China’s (PBoC) Digital Currency Institute. They were filed to the Chinese Patent Office (SIPO) and indicate some important aspects like the one where the Chinese government is able to alter the currencies supply after some specific events like interest rates going up, or the one of integration with traditional bank accounts while the connection with digital currency chips cars or digital wallets is still possible.

The Chinese Government Will Track Down Transactions

The patent applications are related to the integration of the digital currency in the already existing banking infrastructure. This is what Mark Kaufman, the patent attorneys for Rimon Law and a former employee of the Chamber of Digital Commerce said about them:

“Virtually all of these patent applications relate to integrating a system of digital currency into the existing banking infrastructure.”

Meanwhile, the Chamber’s president, Perianne Boring, mentioned how a mechanism that’s able to stop the tracking of transaction by the Chinese government doesn’t exist yet.

Will Other Governments Take China’s Example?

In November 2019, Mu Changchun, the head of PBoC’s Digital Currency Institute, spoke at a Singapore conference and said:

“We are not seeking full control of the information of the general public.”

The newly filed patents come only to prove that the Chinese government is committed to issue a digital currency, which may convince other governments to take action in the same direction. For example, the Japanese government recently talked about China’s digital yuan and Facebook’s Libra, saying these should be combated with a digital currency released by Japan. Norihiro Nakayama, the foreign affairs parliamentary vice-president of Japan said,

“China is moving toward issuing digital yuan, so we’d like to propose measures to counter such attempts.”

Will the US Release Its Own Digital Currency?

There have been signs that the US may be considering issuing its own digital currency too, as Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve Chairman, said on Tuesday that this matter needs to have an answer and that:

“We’re working hard on it.”

Read Original/a>
Author: Oana Ularu

Chamber of Digital Commerce And The Blockchain Association Side With Telegram In SEC GRAM Case

An amicus brief was just filed by the Chamber of Digital Commerce in the continuing legal battle between the SEC (United States Securities Exchange) and Telegram.

The document which was filed on January 21st was authored by one Lilya Tessler, the current head of Sidley Austin LLP, based in New York, and counsel to the Chamber.

An amicus brief is a legitimate paper that enables a non-litigant to provide their opinion or expertise in an ongoing case. Lilya states that the Chamber was interested in providing arguments on how the U.S District for the Southern District of New York ought to consider crypto assets.

Established in 2014, the Chamber is a not for profit organization that seeks to promote the use of crypto assets and any other technology based on blockchain infrastructure. The Chamber, as part of its undertaking, has been able to create numerous crypto and blockchain-related advocacy groups such as the Token Alliance and the Blockchain Alliance.

Digital Chamber of Commerce Asks for Clarity Pertaining to Investment Contracts

Taking into account the position they have taken on blockchain technology, the Chamber insisted that it was not looking to state whether the $1.7 billion Gram token sales could be considered a securities transaction.

Rather, it was interested in ensuring that there was enough transparency when it came to regulations pertaining to cryptocurrencies. It went on to state that:

“Although the Chamber does not have a view on whether the offer and sale of Grams is a securities transaction, the Chamber has an interest in ensuring that the legal framework applied to digital assets underlying an investment contract is clear and consistent.”

The Chamber then went on to ask the court to try and define what a digital asset was, in reference to investment contracts, and the securities transactions which may have been associated with it. According to the association, there were two approaches to making an analysis regarding the issue at hand, including determining whether such a commodity could be offloaded in a normal commercial transaction.

The Blockchain Association Also Files Amicus Brief In Favor of Telegram’s GRAM

Not only did Chamber of Digital Commerce step up to provide insight into the case, but The Blockchain Association (which includes industry giants like Coinbase, Ripple, Circle, and more) to provide third party perspective to the judge. Also filed on Jan 21st, stating:

“The SEC’s lawsuit also raises novel questions regarding whether companies are forbidden from raising funds from sophisticated U.S. investors, under well-established regulatory provisions, to build blockchain networks.”

“The Court’s answers to these questions will influence companies’ decisions about whether to introduce blockchain products, investors’ decisions about whether to support this new technology, and innovators’ decisions about whether to base their companies in the U.S. or abroad. Before filing this action, the SEC had provided no clear rules regarding these questions. And what little guidance it had offered differs drastically from both existing law and its position in this case.”

As you can see from the statement above, the Blockchain Association wants the court to carefully consider the actions presented as they will have lasting impacts on not only Telegram but past and future endeavors.

“The Court’s decision regarding whether Grams themselves were securities at the time of the Purchase Agreement (before Grams even existed) could have far-reaching effects throughout the industry.”

The Blockchain Association and the Chamber of Digital Commerce are both saying that the fault lies at the hands of the regulations put in place. They are not adequate and up-to-date enough to deal with today’s technology innovations as many people feel the same about their stance on Tax regulations. The Association went on to say:

“The Court should not block a long-planned, highly anticipated product launch by interfering with a contract between sophisticated private parties. Doing so would needlessly harm the investors that securities laws were designed to protect.”

What are your thoughts on the case? Are the two amicus briefs that were filed yesterday correct in saying that the courts shouldn’t tread lightly. Or do you feel this is a clear case of securities violations?

Read Original/a>
Author: Daniel W

Perlin and Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) Develop a Blockchain-Based E-Registry For Ships

Singapore Shipping Association has teamed up with International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) as well as a Singapore-based tech company Perlin to create an International E-Registry of Ships (IERS) system, Cointelegraph reports.

The new system is expected to drastically enhance the laborious ship registration and renewal process. It is also expected to reduce costs and incidences of error as well as fraud during the ship-registration process.

Business Times reports that the new initiative is also being supported by both the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and, at the moment the system is being piloted by the bodies. If the new system becomes successful in Singapore, it is reported that the ICC will push for its global adoption to be the industry’s standard.

In the recent past, blockchain-powered solutions have gained traction in the maritime industry. In August this year, the Thai customs department stated that it would start using IBM’s Tradelens blockchain platform. As per the department, the system will help in streamlining operations through management of shipment tracking as well as sharing of information in Thai ports.

Maritime shipping companies Ocean Network Express as well as Hapag-Lloyd also joined the Tradelens blockchain tracking platform back in July this year. The platform helps in the reduction of paperwork, reduction of costs as well as save time within the logistics industry which is estimated to be worth about $4 trillion where 80% of the total goods are transported through ocean shipping.

Although there have been increased interests in blockchain solutions in the shipping industry, not all initiatives have gone as per the plans or expectations. Blockchain startup 300 cubits announced the suspension of its booking platform and halted the circulation of its TEU token early this month. The company blamed low transaction volumes where only a handful of containers were using the system as the main reason behind the suspension.

Singapore is ranked fifth-biggest registry recording about 4500 ships per year and the choice to test the new platform in the country can help to know if it will be effective.

Read Original/a>
Author: Joseph Kibe

Coinbase Is Using Ethereum’s (ETH) Latest Upgrade To Help Merchants To Adopt USD Coin (USDC)

Coinbase Commerce, a special platform designed by Coinbase to be used by merchants, is using Constantinople, Ethereum’s most recent upgrade, to let its retailers use USD Coin (USDC).

The platform, which helps investors who want to receive crypto payments, has recently added USDC, which is based on the Ethereum technology. Bojan Joveski, a software engineer of the company, has recently affirmed that it was a new ETH feature that made this possible.

According to him, the new CREATE2 feature was added during the Constantinople update and made it possible to use smart contracts in other situations and to save costs, which helped in order to make USDC usable on the platform. CREATE2 can diminish gas costs for using USDC, which enables the company to let clients use the token without having to pay any extra fees.

CREATE2 was proposed by the founder of the ETH network, Vitalik Buterin. It was initially named Ethereum Improvement Proposal 1014 and it was focused on the development of new smart contracts, especially smart contracts that will be deployed in the future and need a lot of variables in order to work well.

This prompted the company to use USDC on the platform. In case you do not know, USDC, which was developed by Circle, is a sort of official Coinbase stablecoin. Obviously, there are huge advantages to using your own token on your platform, especially because it boosts its adoption.

While most payments are made on Bitcoin and Tether (USDT) these days, this could help the token to carve its niche more effectively.

Read Original/a>
Author: Gabriel Machado

Dubai’s DCCI to Joint Venture with Singapore’s Perlin and ICC for Creating Blockchain Trading Tools

Blockchain-Dubai-Chamber-of-Commerce-Signs-MoU-with-Singaporean-Start-Up

Blockchain: Dubai Chamber Of Commerce Signs MoU With Singaporean Start Up

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on July 1 announced its decision to sign a memorandum of understanding with a Singapore-based start-up Perlin and the international chamber of commerce.

The news of the latest collaboration involving the chamber was contained in a press release.

The joint initiative by the firms will tend to promote the adoption of blockchain trade solutions.

Effective Partnership

The DCCI is the main financial hub of the country, and its saddled with the responsibility of making sure the country moves along with the world trend and create a visible and robust business environment. The chamber made history as the first chamber of commerce in the world to offer blockchain tools developed by the ICC, as well as the Centre for Future Trade (CoFT), a massive project that was agreed upon in May 2019.

The agreement involves DCCI acquiring the exclusive right to offer CoFT blockchain trade solutions in Africa and also the Middle East region. The monumental agreement will tend to improve trade processes by providing greater transparency of supply chains, as well as also reducing the risk that’s normally encountered in the trade process.

Aided Support

Consequently, the new deal will also see the trade solutions giving its massive support to DCCI’s recently launched Digital Silk Road platform, which aims to apply blockchain technology to end major inadequacies mostly faced in the trading system.

The Digital Silk project was co-established by the DCCI and the Dubai Future foundation, and stands tall as an integral part of the Dubai 10x municipal development plan.

The ICC is a conglomerate of businesses, that has in its folds over 45 million businesses, some which includes global brands like Paypal and Amazon. Earlier in the month, Singapore’s Perlin revealed that it will help ICC roll out its blockchain powered technology.

Dubai is gradually incorporating blockchain into its tourist activities. A move that indicates that the country is not sitting on its hordes and relishing its past achievements.

The collaboration between the ICC and DCCI will not come to many as a surprise, this is because ICC is always looking for progressive, motivated and highly energized platform to collaborate and work with, which is the major reason why it is arguably the largest group in the world.

Bitcoinexchangeguide.com reported in May that the chamber was working to implement blockchain technology.

The chamber’s decision to tilt towards blockchain is an innovative move, as it will also allow its members like Coca-Cola, Amazon, FedEx and others tap into the revolutionary technology.

This will ultimately solve the issue of transparency that is mostly faced by big companies, and also instill the trust of their stakeholders and consumers, once again.

Although, the blockchain technology is still in its early years, if it can be adopted by a big organization like ICC, that has members that control the world’s economy, it is only a matter of time before the technology becomes the mainstay and adopted by not only firms, but governments and institutions, all over the world.

Read Original/a>
Author: Ogwu Emma