Digital Currency and Blockchain Weekly Round-Up – August 16th, 2019

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Digital Currency and Blockchain Weekly Round-Up – August 16th, 2019

US SEC defers decision on three bitcoin ETF proposals

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has further delayed its decision on three bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposals, CoinDesk reported. According to the documents published on August 12, the regulator has deferred its decision on the listing of Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Trust on NYSE Arca to October 13 and VanEck’s listing to October 18. It has also delayed its decision on Wilshire Phoenix’s United States Bitcoin and Treasury Investment Trust to September 29.

New Jersey signs ‘blockchain initiative task force’ bill into law

New Jersey has become the latest state to launch a task force dedicated to exploring blockchain use, after Governor Phil Murphy signed bill S2297 into law. Dubbed as the Blockchain Initiative Task Force, the task force is dedicated to exploring the risks and benefits of using blockchain and distributed ledger technology. It also aims to study public blockchain, private blockchain, and consensus algorithms.

IRS sends out new warning letters to crypto tax evaders

The U.S. Internal Revenue Services (IRS) is sending out another round of letters to cryptocurrency holders, but unlike the 10,000 notices sent out last month, the new ones will include the specific amounts owed by taxpayers. The new note, CP2000, is intended when the information taxpayers report on their tax return differ from the information the agency obtained independently from third parties.

Maryland joins nationwide crypto crackdown initiative ‘Operation Cryptosweep’

The Attorney General of Maryland has announced that the state is participating in the “Operation Cryptosweep” initiative. The Maryland Securities Division is now participating in the initiative and has initiated an enforcement action against a Bitcoin trading platform, which led its investors to believe they could earn as much as 150% through passive investments, and a Maryland resident who sold investments in the trading platform.

Reserve Bank of Australia watchful of Facebook’s cryptocurrency launch plans

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) Payments System Board discussed Facebook’s cryptocurrency launch plans during its recent meeting. “Bank staff will continue to coordinate with relevant domestic and overseas regulators, to ensure that any payments system implications are appropriately addressed before any launch,” the post reads.

New Zealand issues guidance on tax treatment of salary received in crypto-assets

In a recent ruling, New Zealand’s tax authorities have said that it is legal for companies to pay its employees in cryptocurrencies. They have also provided guidance on the tax treatment of such remuneration, Cointelegraph reported.

China’s central bank digital currency is “ready”

China will reportedly roll out its central bank digital currency (CBDC) soon, a senior official at China’s central bank announced at the China Finance 40 Group meeting, local news site Shanghai Securities News reported. Mu Changchun, People’s Bank of China’s (PBoC) Deputy Chief in the Payment and Settlement Division, said that the CBDC prototype is running completely on a blockchain infrastructure back-end with some slight modifications and that the PBoC has already fully adopted the currency’s blockchain architecture.

Moscow seeks contractor for building blockchain system for administrative services

Moscow, Russia’s capital city, is seeking a contractor for developing a blockchain-based system for hosting its administrative services, CoinDesk reported citing Open Media. The Moscow Department of Information Technology announced an auction to build a system on the Ethereum blockchain that will host digital services offered to residents.

United Nations investigates North Korean cyberattacks in 17 countries; South Korea gets the hardest hit

The United Nations is investigating at least 35 instances in 17 nations of North Koreans using cyberattacks to raise money illegally for its nuclear program. Last week, a report by the Associated Press revealed that “as much as two billion dollars” was illegally acquired by North Korea from carrying out complex cyber activities against financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges.

Research Studies

Company News

  • Crypto custodian Coinbase Custody acquires Xapo Institutions
  • Ripple’s Xpring gives 1 billion XRP grant to content platform Coil
  • Crypto miner Coinmine secures $2.5M seed funding
  • Upcoming crypto derivatives exchange Blade scores $4.3M funding from Coinbase, SV Angel
  • Cryptocurrency exchange MidChains bags ‘seven-figure’ investment from Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala
  • New Zealand’s ASB Bank invests in TradeWindow for distributed ledger technology trade platform development
  • Crypto lending platform Lendingblock receives Gibraltar DLT license
  • Colu to buy back all ICO-issued CLN tokens as it pivots away from blockchain business

Partnerships/Consortiums

Digital Currency and Blockchain Initiatives

  • Brave browser starts testing support for native crypto wallets
  • Kakao to launch cryptocurrency wallet ‘Klip’ this year
  • Bitex, Bantotal partner to use bitcoin for cross-border payments in Latin America
  • Samsung adds support for bitcoin and Kakao’s Klaytn to Blockchain Keystore
  • Seed CX’s subsidiary starts user acceptance testing of physically-settled bitcoin swaps
  • Cypherium brings enterprise-grade blockchain solutions to Google Cloud users
  • EY to help WiV Technology develop blockchain-based fine wine trading platform
  • PICC Financial Services inks MOU with Singularity Studio to promote development of AI and blockchain-based services
  • Walmart files patent for blockchain-powered drone communication system
  • IBM files blockchain-powered web browser patent with peer-to-peer network support
  • Pfizer and Biogen-led working group completes blockchain proof-of-concept for clinical supply chain
  • South Korea’s Shinhan Bank partners with Kakao’s Ground X and Hexlant to develop blockchain-based security system
  • German firm Dürr secures €750M syndicated loan via blockchain technology
  • Power Ledger, KEPCO bring blockchain-based energy trading platform to Japan
  • India’s Reliance Jio vows to go big on blockchain over next 12 months
  • South Korea’s SK group considers developing blockchain-based donation platform and two utility tokens
  • US Energy Department awards $1.05M grant to blockchain-based energy management initiative

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