Wow, what a week this has been. And I am certain we have not covered all the news out there…just a boatload of activities in the blockchain and crypto space.
This week in Blockchain and Crypto news:
LINE’s Digital Currency to launch in Japan
LINE Corporation is launching its Digital Currency, LINK, in Japan. “The total amount of LINK to be issued is limited to 1 billion.LINK will be distributed as user rewards, without an ICO,” according to their official website: Link.Network Out of the total 1 billion LINKs, 800 Million will be distributed as rewards and 200 Million will be “managed by LINE Tech Plus, the issuer of LINK, as a reserve.”
Binance’s Futures Market Maker Program and Binance USD
Binance is making news with its Futures offering and tying it to their Market Maker Program. Market Maker Program will offer the traders a negative fee on selected pairs. Binance had issued Binance USD in partnership with Paxos. Users of the platform can avail BUSD through a collateral of their crypto in Binance wallet. “BUSD is a stablecoin backed by the US dollar, which was launched as a partnership between Binance and Paxos. In September 2019, Binance introduced the stablecoin as collateral against widely traded cryptocurrencies such as BTC and ETH. According to Binance, BUSD collateral will be available on its futures platform to provide greater variety for users.”
BTCS to launch Digital Asset Data Analytics Platform
‘The First Blockchain Based US Public Company, BTCS, is expanding its business model by launching Digital Asset Data Analytics Platform. In a press release, company has announced that “[BTCS] is expanding its business model with the development of a consumer-facing digital-asset data analytics platform that enables users to connect multiple digital asset exchanges and wallets to aggregate portfolio holdings into a single seamless platform to view and analyse performance, risk metrics, and potential tax implications.” The Platform is expected to launch by the second half of 2020.
India Government Think Tank releases “Blockchain: The India Strategy”
NITI Aayog of India Government has released Part 1 of what it terms as a ‘two-part strategy’, titled “Blockchain: The India Strategy” has been welcomed by the Blockchain veterans and Crypto communities as it indicates the shift in tide of ‘Anti-Crypto nation’ to that of a Nation with Blockchain Strategy. This paper sums up the experiences of NITI Aayog in implementing Blockchain systems and is expected to be used as a pre-read for implementing blockchain systems in India.
Singapore grants full license to Blockchain Capital Markets Platform
iSTOX has come out of sandbox mode to a fully licensed operation on Feb 1st. According to the news, this license means “ the removal of restrictions for the platform, including limitations on the size of issuances it can host and the number of investors that can be onboarded.” ‘Designed by blockchain-based infrastructure firm ICHX Tech, iSTOX uses blockchain and smart contract technology in its platform infrastructure, such that all issuances can be bought and sold using fiat currency more efficiently.’
Telegram ICO: U.S. Judge seeks CFTC lawyers
Forbes reported on 3rd Feb, 2020, that “The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sought a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Telegram and TON Issuer Inc. (collectively, “Telegram”), enjoining them from offering, selling, delivering or distributing “Grams” to any person or entity. The SEC argued that Telegram planned to “floo[d] United States markets with billions of . . . Grams through an unregistered offering of securities.” On 7th February, US Judge has asked lawyers from CFTC to provide an opinion on the matter ahead of the scheduled hearing on 18th Februaury.
France outlines a path for Stablecoin Payment Systems
Denis Beau, First Deputy Governor of Bank of France, outlined three tasks for regulatory authorities to respond to stablecoin payment systems: i) avoid undue risks to the payment systems, ii) coordinate with regulatory framework and iii) keep an open mind. Speaking at a conference, he stated that just because a new system has benefits doesn’t mean we overlook the material risks associated with the project.
USDA’s FSIS to utilize Blockchain to monitor export certification challenges
Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the US Department of Agriculture is looking to develop its own proof of concept to address the concerns around export certification challenges. In its Annual Plan document, FSIS stated that one of its goals is to “develop a proof of concept for blockchain management as a potential mechanism for addressing export certification challenges and identifying greater efficiencies in the export certification process.”
Telangana State, India, starts T-Block a blockchain focused Incubator
Telangana State is inviting applications for its T-Block, Blockchain focused incubator. Jayesh Ranjan, principal secretary ITE&C department said that “T-Block Incubator will be the torch-bearer to multiple future blockchain accelerators in the country,” according to Times Of India news post. The Telangana Government has joined hands with the tech giant Tech-Mahindra to carry out this initiative.
Gemini is now integrated with Trading view
“We are excited to announce that Gemini is now integrated with TradingView, a platform that provides real-time information and market insights to millions of traders every day. Gemini customers can now trade with Gemini using the TradingView platform,” read the announcement on Gemini website. According to the stats from 2017, TradingView enjoys 3 million active users per month which should be significantly more by now.
Bakkt aims to turn your rewards points into a wallet you can spend anywhere
We are about to see a massive revolution in the rewards programs. Bakkt is now planning to rollout a plan to turn the reward points into ‘cash/BTC’ that users can actually spend. After purchasing Bridge2, a specialist that handles rewards redemptions for America’s biggest sponsors, Bakkt wants to make claiming rewards centralized, easy and in cash. “Loyalty points you don’t even know you have—the average American has more than a dozen rewards programs—are suddenly as spendable as the bucks in your checking account, just by scanning your rewards app at the checkout counter. What’s more, you can even get cash for video game points you could use only to buy, say, a sword to make your team mightier, and trade points for your Bitcoin on the same wallet,” according to Fortune.
Lightning Labs raises $10 Million to build Visa like bitcoin network
Jack Dorsey backed Lightning Labs has raised $10 Million to build payments network similar to that of Visa network to make Bitcoin (and other crypto) usable in day-to-day transactions. Lightning Labs co-founder and CEO Elizabeth Stark. “We’re building the Visa network for bitcoin,” said Stark, “But what I think is powerful, is unlike Visa, anybody can build on top of it.”
Power Ledger wins contract with one of Italy’s largest green energy utilities
“Power Ledger’s technology will be used to explore a number of new services for Alperia’s commercial and residential customers such as energy trading, origin tracking, measurement and verification as well as reporting of renewable energy certificates,” according to news published on Power Ledger’s official site. “Italy has been leading the adoption of renewable energy globally and is one of eight EU members to commit to phasing out coal by 2030. Leveraging Alperia’s customer base, Power Ledger’s technology will help demonstrate how the country can rapidly progress its green energy targets,” said Power Ledger Co-founder and Executive Chairman Dr Jemma Green.
Federal Reserve eyes Digital Currency
According to Reuters, Federal Reserve Governor, Lael Brainard, said that Federal Reserve is looking into the digital currency issuance possibilities. “The Federal Reserve is looking at a broad range of issues around digital payments and currencies, including policy, design and legal considerations around potentially issuing its own digital currency” according to the Reuters article.
Six Central banks to hold digital currency meeting
The central banks of Britain, the euro zone, Japan, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland are expected to meet in April to discuss the digital currency aspects, according to Reuters. While most of these central banks have not commented on whether or not they are issuing their own Digital currency, the meeting is expected to discuss challenges of rapid digitalization and government readiness.
SEC proposes 3 year safe-harbor period for token sales
Subject to certain conditions, SEC proposed a 3 year safe-harbor period for token sales. Hesther M Price, one of the 5 commissioners of SEC, has penned the proposal that is live on SEC site. “This safe harbor is intended to provide Initial Development Teams with a three-year time period within which they can facilitate participation in, and the development of, a functional or decentralized network, exempt from the registration provisions of the federal securities laws so long as the conditions are met. The safe harbor is also designed to protect token purchasers by requiring disclosures tailored to the needs of the purchasers and preserving the application of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws.”
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