Rhode Island Policymakers Table Blockchain Bill To Spur Economic Growth in the State

Rhode Island is on track to join blockchain-friendly jurisdictions after they introduced a bill on leveraging this tech for economic growth. The state’s goal is to create a sustainable ecosystem that will allow innovations around distributed ledgers to thrive.

This bill was tabled on March 11 by two GOP policymakers and partly read that;

“The state of Rhode Island understands that to compete in the twenty-first century economy, Rhode Island must offer one of the best business environments in the United States for blockchain and technology innovators, and should offer a comprehensive regulatory technology sandbox for these innovators to develop the next generation of digital products and services in Rhode Island.”

The State of Rhode Island plans to establish grounds for collaboration between private and public entities with interests in blockchain technology. In doing so, they are hopeful to consolidate ideas for spurring economic growth through emerging tech. One of the practical approaches to this includes forming ‘an immutable interagency-industry-operability blockchain filing system.’

Blockchain Banks and Hemp Supply Chain

The bill noted that the current legal framework has been a big challenge to blockchain-based projects looking for financial intermediary services. This is mainly because a large number of banks are skeptical given the US Fed and SEC are yet to issue clear guidelines. Rhode Island, however, suggested a solution to this shortcoming;

“A new type of Rhode Island financial payments and depository institution that has expertise with customer identification, anti-money laundering, and beneficial ownership requirements.”

Ideally, the financial institution should provide custodial services for both traditional and digital assets within the state’s compliance scope. Rhode Island has since formed an advisory council comprising 13 people who are expected to look into blockchain tech in detail on behalf of the state.

Another proposition by this bill was the integration of blockchain within the supply ecosystem of hemp products. According to the bill, such an initiative would ensure that there is accountability, product safety and legal compliance in this booming market. Furthermore, hemp derivatives that are not fit for the public would not make it to the blockchain.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

BTC Price Still on Stock-to-Flow Track Despite ‘Extreme Fear’ & ‘Bearish Sentiment’

  • Market in “extreme fear” is an opportunity rather than “panic”
  • Bitcoin still spot on S2F track but network signals indicate “bearish sentiment”

2020 started on a positive note. We kicked off this year at around $7,200 and climbed to above $10,500, recording about 45% gains on a year-to-date basis.

However, the spread of coronavirus all over the world soon took over the global markets, which had bitcoin acting as a risk on market as well. As the deadly virus continues to spread notwithstanding the central banks announcing stimulus, the global markets recorded substantial losses.

For the past three weeks, bitcoin has been tumbling only to see positive momentum last week. But not for long.

The oil price war on the weekend hit the already weak markets. Bitcoin also dropped over 16%, all over again, going as low as $7,685.

An opportunity rather than “panic”

According to Crypto Fear & Greed Index, the market is in “extreme fear” with a reading of 17. However, commentators say this is an opportunity rather than “panic.”

Interestingly, despite the bloodbath in the crypto street, bitcoin is spot on the S2F track.

Bitcoin price is exactly in line with the value put by the stock-to-flow model. The daily RSI is also below 40, meaning it could be a good buy the dip opportunity.

The S2F model puts bitcoin’s price at $8,636 while the actual price is currently just above $7,900.

Meanwhile, Fundamentals Turns Bearish

When it comes to the fundamentals, with the continued increment in the hash rate and difficulty adjustment in the network while price drops, many miners will be in loss that would propel them to sell their BTC to stay afloat.

The global scenario is not presenting a good picture, with oil price war started on the weekend further adding to the pressure on the market.

As we saw in 2020, the external factors have been affecting the price of bitcoin. Besides price, the network is growing slower, and there are fewer addresses in the money, shared crypto data provider IntoTheBlock. Moreover, the number of large transactions dropped with smart price and bid-ask volume showing negative numbers as well.

For bitcoin price, the bearish scenario could see the digital asset crashing to $5ks.

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Author: AnTy

European Space Agency to Use Blockchain-Powered Satellite Data For Mining Transparency

Blockchain tech is fast on the track of providing solutions from space despite a skeptical approach towards its major use as per now ‘cryptocurrencies’. The European Space Agency (ESA) has committed to fund a blockchain project that aims to cut costs in the mining chain processes through satellite data.

Hypervine, a Scottish startup headquartered in Glasgow, is the entity behind this idea of space data and blockchain integration. The firm set out to smoothen information storage for quality improvement in mining environments. Today, Hypervine is part of the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications (SoXSA) and has previously collaborated with Tontine incubator and Napier University in Edinburg.

Hypervine’s Blockchain Solution in Mining

Just like other industries, Mining has to adopt given the inevitable nature of change especially with the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). It is this niche that has seen Hypervine establish an operation suited to pace up the multi-trillion industry.

One reason for settling in the use of blockchain tech is its immutable nature. The proposed Hypervine model will allow true records to prevail in perpetuity hence very fine details that initially resulted to miscalculations can be audited for decision making. Fatal accidents that are common in quarries can be averted with the satellite stored data accessible via blockchain.

Furthermore, mining firms which opt to leverage this tech in the future stand a chance of reducing their data management costs while increasing efficiency in strategic decisions. This is mainly because a coordinated database provides comprehensive and timely information to act on compared to gathering from different sources. According to ESA’s technical officer, Beatrice Baressi, funds are flowing into the mining industry for new tech;

“The use of satellite-based data for mining work is already a sector experiencing huge investment and funding across private and nationalised space programs.”

The Environmental Prospect

ESA supported its funding towards Hypervine noting that their innovation would greatly improve the environment. Beatrice added that blockchain can be an indirect driver to reducing carbon emissions which ultimately is good for earth;

“It is a core goal of ours to make industries such as quarrying safer, cleaner and more accountable. Working with companies such as Hypervine allows us to achieve these goals whilst improving the standards across multiple industries.”

Hypervine is not the first blockchain project ESA is funding, the European intergovernmental organization allocated $66,000 to SpaceChain back in 2019. This is a blockchain start-up developing a multi sig satellite-based wallet.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Did The Chinese Govt Use Alipay, WeChat Payment Systems to Track Coronavirus Victims?

Chinese Authorities Using Alipay and WeChat to Track Coronavirus Victims? Hubei, the Chinese province that’s the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak, had its government releasing a report on February 18th that gives details about the measures taken to combat the disease.

Hubei officials said they have been tracking online and offline fever medicine purchases in order to organize their relief efforts. Since the virus doesn’t show any sign of slowing down, medical institutions and pharmacies need to ask people who buy fever medicine for ID since these individuals may look to treat the deadly disease. While Alipay and WeChat haven’t been mentioned, it’s only logical that especially online purchases of fever medicine have been monitored through these apps.

Is the Digital Yuan Truly Necessary in Such a Situation?

China is known for the digitization of payments. It has now used for a while QR code-based mobile apps. To make things even more digital, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) is the most encouraging institution of the digital yuan, at a global level. However, when it comes to financial monitoring, issuing a digital currency would be detrimental because WeChat and Alipay payment mechanisms would be displaced. With such mechanisms, the Chinese government had most likely monitored its citizens’ purchases, which it couldn’t do in the eventuality of payments made with the digital yuan.

Can Bitcoin Come and Fix Everything?

The way in which the Chinese officials have tracked Coronavirus victims is only possible through centralized payment systems. Medication purchased in Bitcoin (BTC) would have been easily tracked because identities would have been assigned to wallet addresses.

Privacy coins such as Zcash (ZEC) and Monero (XMR) could solve the anonymity problem, but on the other hand, extreme surveillance measures were taken to prevent the spreading of a deadly virus, not to track down people for the sake of it. Just like cash, some cryptocurrencies can impede the investigations in emergency situations like the spread of an infection from being conducted.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Mnuchin Tells Congress Tougher Laws Will Be Introduced On Cryptocurrency Payments Soon

  • US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is on track to releasing new requirements for the dynamic cryptocurrency space, Steve Mnuchin assured Congress.
  • Authorities need to follow funds to ensure they don’t end up for Money Laundering purposes

During a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing, Steve Mnuchin the U.S. Treasury Secretary called on the FinCEN, a U.S financial regulatory authority, to put in place new cryptocurrencies regulations and guidelines in a bid to reduce the money laundering, illicit trades and activities that cryptocurrencies purportedly enhance.

Mnuchin was in Congress answering Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), on how the budget increases Treasury plans to bolster monitoring and prosecution of terrorists and criminal rings that funnel funds using crypto. He didn’t give much details but he stated that they had zeroed in on cryptocurrencies, a topic they had given much thought after lengthy discussions with other agencies and watchdogs.

They would want technology to progress with caution by ensuring that digital assets aren’t simply being stashed for criminal enterprises. This would be made possible only if the authorities would be able to follow a trail ensuring that the funds weren’t for money laundering purposes.

“We want to make sure that cryptocurrencies aren’t used for the equivalent of old Swiss secret number bank accounts.”

In a previous White House briefing Mnuchin has argued that the cryptocurrencies in place have been breached by criminal fronts to facilitate illegal dealings such as ransomware, extortion and even in extreme cases Human and Narco trafficking. He added that the regulators wouldn’t stand by as crypto firms facilitate such with mentions of BTC and Libra.

“To be clear: FinCEN will hold any entity that transacts in Bitcoin, Libra, or any other cryptocurrency to its highest standards.”

FinCEN Tough Stance

FinCEN’s top brass has constantly reiterated their position on Crypto regulations. Previously Kenneth Blanco, director FinCEN has offered stern warning to crypto firms and start-ups that don’t follow BSA and AML regulations of dire consequences. The Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC) and FinCEN recently released a joint press statement where they reminded actors in the crypto space to follow BSA and AML regulations set aside by regulatory authorities.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Ukrainian Watchdog to Track Cryptocurrency Transactions Over $1,200 For AML

Authorities in Ukraine are planning to track all crypto transactions that exceed $1,200, says Oksana Makarova, the Ministry of Finance’s head in the country.

The matter was discussed in an interview with MC Today, a local news outlet. It was also mentioned the law for anti-money laundering in crypto transactions, the law that President Volodymyr Zelensky signed just last month. It’s a first for the anti-money laundering law in Ukraine to address crypto too.

Operations Considered Suspicious to Be Reported to the SFCM

In case a payment service provider finds an operation to be suspicious, it needs to report it to the State Financial Monitoring Service (SCFM), the agency that can block any transaction and even confiscate the cryptocurrencies that are obtained illegally. Makarova said,

“SCFM has access to an analytical product that allows investigations into the origins of crypto-assets and their uses. It is impossible to stop operations now, but it is possible to block crypto wallets and remove illegally obtained crypto assets. This can be done by accessing the crypto’s private keys as a result of complex investigations.”

Cryptocurrency Not Yet Defined as an Asset Class by the Ukrainian Law

The Ukrainian law doesn’t yet define cryptocurrency as an asset class. Makarova mentioned that a few national agencies are working together to make a new virtual asset regulation, which regulation is supposed to be revealed to the public in the next 4 months. The Ukrainian parliament already has under consideration a bill that proposes a 5% tax for crypto revenue.

While it’s not yet known just how much crypto is now circulating in the country, Makarova thinks the volume is high but that money laundering is still mostly conducted with cash. She also said the legalization of cryptocurrencies brings new opportunities for the crypto industry to develop in the country.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Bitcoin Longs Making an All-Time High, What’s Incoming $5,000 or $10,000?

  • BTC/USD shorts meanwhile nearing lowest levels
  • BitMEX funding rate for Dec on track for the lowest high since March
  • Open interest on CME Bitcoin futures registers an uptick but it’s “negative for potential realized volatility”
  • Bitcoin can go to either $6,000 or test 10,000 level on a 3-month time horizon

Bitcoin is the best performing asset of not only 2019 but of the decade. If you would have invested $1 in Bitcoin in 2010, that would have been worth $100,000 today.

As such it makes sense that Bitcoin must be part of everyone’s portfolio as pointed by Weiss Crypto Ratings,

“Many Wall Street veterans are in agreement. The returns from stocks and bonds will be sluggish over the next decade. Time to add crypto to your savings plans.”

However, this is just starting. BTC/USD is currently trading at $7,069 on extremely low trading volume of just $150 million and is down 65% from its all-time high of $20,000.

And this is why traders are long on the world’s leading cryptocurrency. BTC/USD longs has actually climbed to its all-time high on Bitfinex.

BTCUSD Longs, Source: TradingView

However, crypto trader Josh Rager says people are over-focusing on this chart and giving it way more credit than it actually needs.

Because Bitfinex allows users to trade up to 3.3x leverage, this means BTC price would have to move down to mid to low 5ks minimal in order to liquidate these longs.

But Rager says it is “highly unlikely” that price will nose dive straight to $5k right now. On its way down, there would be several bounces in between.

To get an understanding of the sentiment and interest in the Bitcoin market, we need to pay attention to the BitMEX funding rate and open interest which he says are better indicators.

The Bitcoin funding rate on BitMEX for December is on track for the lowest high since March and in the tightest range since February.

In stark contrast to Bitfinex’s longs, the BTC funding rate on BitMEX is pinned at 0.03%. The number of times the rate has been pinned at 0.03% on a daily basis continues to rise still and in Q4 of 2019 it represented about 40.5% of observed periods, notes analyst Rptr45.

BTC/USD shorts, on the other hand, have reached almost to its lowest level. The has the Bitfinex L/S ratio also at an ATH but as Rptr45 points out without an obvious funding justification which was the case in previous break-outs as well.

BTCUSD Shorts, Source: TradingView

Meanwhile, there has been an uptick in open interest from the last few weeks on CME Bitcoin futures.

As per the Commitment of Traders (CT) report, the OI as of Dec. 12th has been only 116 million and on the lower end of the spectrum.

Digital asset advisory firm BitOoda views this as “negative for potential realized volatility in the short term.”

“Assuming the COT as OI for institutional investors and BitMex OI for retail and high net worth individuals, we could potentially see a set up to buy vol in the new year if the CME/Bakkt OI grows.”

This could help the futures market and further lead the way for realized volatility just like it has in the past. With the retail market already having a lot of exposure, the firm expects Bitcoin to either go back to $6,000 or test the 10,000 level on a 3-month time horizon.

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Author: AnTy

JPMorgan Tests Blockchain Solution To Track Automobile Inventory

  • JPMorgan is testing a new blockchain solution that it would allow it to track auto dealer inventory. In this way, it would be possible for companies to avoid linking the same cars for different loans.
  • The information was unveiled in a recent patent filed by the car financing arm.

JPMorgan Develops Blockchain Solution For The Automotive Industry

The patent describes a blockchain lending system that would allow car companies to handle car loans and their inventories.

It is worth mentioning that each of the cars in the market has an individual vehicle identity number (VIN). In this way and with the help of a blockchain system, it is possible to reduce inefficiencies in the industry and improve loans, services and solutions.

According to the head of research and development at Chase Auto, there is a responsible person that identifies each of the vehicles and reconciles the inventory on the dealer’s and the bank’s systems.

Clearly, this is an inefficient way of handling loans and inventories. This is why JPMorgan, with several years of blockchain experience, is trying to offer improved solutions in the industry.

Christine Moy, blockchain lead at JP Morgan, mentioned that the pilot is being tested with some partners but it is not ready to be released to the market as of yet.

Blockchain technology has been expanding during the last few years and several companies, including JPMorgan, are offering solutions to clients and other firms.

The automotive industry is also very important for the U.S. economy and it is clearly a large market for it to have old financial and tracking systems.

This is not the first time that JPMorgan is working with distributed ledger technology. The firm has also been developing its own permissioned blockchain network that would allow the bank to improve its presence in the market and offer better services.

It is possible for dealerships to pledge the same vehicle as collateral for one floor plan with one bank and using the same car for another floor plan and with another bank. With this new blockchain system that is currently being tested, this problem is solved and the whole system becomes much more efficient and fast.

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Author: Carl T

Bitcoin and Gold Feeling the Pressure while Stock Market Makes a Fresh Record

Today, the market has hit yet new highs.

The benchmark S&P 500 Index, up 22.7% so far this year, is on track to rise for a fifth week in a row while Nasdaq is eyeing its sixth straight week of gains. The Dow Jones Average that spiked 150 points yearly has its 2019 gains climbing to 18%.

These gains came on the back of the comments from senior officials in Beijing, suggesting that the US and China will cancel planned tariffs on each other’s billions worth of goods in stages, as part of the first trade pact between the world’s two biggest economies that is due to be signed in the next few weeks.

“In the past two weeks, the lead negotiators from both sides have had serious and constructive discussions on resolving various core concerns appropriately,”

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in Beijing.

“Both sides have agreed to cancel additional tariffs in different phases, as both sides make progress in their negotiations,”

added Gao.

However, strategists are concerned that the market is placing too much emphasis on the “Phase One’ of the trade deal coming to fruition.

Meanwhile, as global stocks extended multi-year and multi-month highs, US equity spiked on the comments as well.

The European market also rallied, with Stoxx 600 benchmark is hitting a four-year high. Global oil prices went up amidst the broad market rally.

While the stock market is surging gold is in the red hitting new daily lows.

Bitcoin has been outperforming gold for the past nine years but today the digital gold is falling the same as gold.

The leading cryptocurrency is trading at $9,199 with 24 hours loss of 1.13%, as per Coincodex while managing the daily trading volume of just about $200 million.

Bitcoin might not be seeing the greens currently but as we reported the market is giving the signs that we are getting ready for an “explosive” move. The low volume, tight range, CME gap being filled and BTC entering the overbought levels are pointing towards this move.

Another positive factor for BTC is the open interest on Bakkt that has doubled to $2 million, as reported by Skew Markets. As Bitcoin Exchange Guide shared, these increasing numbers suggest that new money might be coming into the market.

This current phase, according to prominent analyst Willy Woo is just a “prolonged consolidation inside a macro bull market.”

Many have already called out the bottom of the market and being in the “blow-off” phase, the question remains whether we are taking a detour around $8k first or going straight to a new 2019 high.

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Author: AnTy

Aeternity DApp Blockchain to Help Monitor Medical Cannabis In Uruguay

Aeternity, a blockchain application, is set to be used in order to track the supply chain of legal cannabis in Uruguay. Both medical and recreational drugs from the producer Uruguay Can, will be tracked. The company will also combine blockchain with the internet of things technology to track the product.

According to Pablo Coirolo, the CEO of Aeternity Americas, the goal of the company is to be the first business to offer this solution for cannabis producers in the region. He affirmed that Aeternity technology is ideal to be used in these situations, as it can track the cannabis from the seeds to when they arrive at the store.

Now, the service will start to be implemented. Initially, the expectation is that implementation will be concluded by January 2020. During the middle of 2021 the process is expected to be optimized and completed.

This is a pretty important to the business of cannabis in Uruguay. In fact, the country was the first one in the world to completely legalize the production and sale of cannabis-based products, starting at the end of 2013.

The CEO of Uruguay Can, Eduardo Blasina, affirmed that the company is proud to be the first company to completely track their supply of cannabis. No other company in the local industry has done the same and this can benefit the consumer, as they will feel more secure about the products that they using. Tracking supplies is becoming a trend in the world and they are dedicated to using it.

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Author: Hank Klinger