Despite China’s image as a no-go area for cryptocurrencies, a series of pro-crypto moves are opening up the forbidden kingdom to cryptocurrencies. Recently, a local court has now allowed merchants to accept Bitcoin as a payment method and recognized the cryptocurrency as a property thus allowing individuals to own and transact with it.

The move is surprising for many in the cryptocurrency industry and may open doors to a crypto future in the biggest manufacturing hub in the world. Gradually, China is working to legalize cryptocurrencies and open up their country just like it did back in the 90s that brought unprecedented growth to the region.

According to local Chinese reports, the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration announced this landmark decision. However, it also passed the buck to the regulatory authorities as according to the ruling, Bitcoin ownership and transfer shouldn’t be in conflict with existing financial regulations.

According to the verdict: “CN law does not forbid owning & transferring bitcoin, which should be protected by law because of its property nature and economic value.”

As a consequence of this decision, circulation and ownership of Bitcoin are now legal and merchants can accept cryptocurrencies as payment without being in violation of the local law. While the law falls short of giving the same rights to Bitcoin as fiat currency, it is a step in the right direction.

Although the outside world believes that China has a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies, in reality, there is some adoption. The recent reality TV show on Chinese streaming channels follows the journey of a young woman who has to survive traveling around China with just BTC 0.2 in her phone. Watching the series, it becomes clear that China is progressing in the crypto world, with or without government intervention.

China is reportedly slowly opening up to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as public penetration grows. Several hotels have started accepting payment in BTC (only from foreigners) while others are providing wide-ranging services in exchange for Bitcoin.

It appears that it is only a matter of time before China lifts the blanket ban on cryptocurrencies and allows unprecedented international trade through it.

This post is credited to bitcoinnews

Nine Japanese banks are teaming up to trial a blockchain-based inter-bank settlement system using Fujitsu technology.

IT giant Fujitsu announced in a press release Monday that it has been chosen as an “application development vendor” for the field trial that will use a custom digital currency to attempt to achieve low-cost transfer of small-scale transactions using real-time gross settlement. The test is aimed to gauge aspects of the tech such as performance, security and real-world viability.

The nine banks involved in the effort comprise a consortium called the Japanese Banks’ Payment Clearing Network (or Zengin – net) and include Mizuho Bank and MUFG Bank.

Specifically, Fujitsu will build and provide the new trial platform using blockchain technology and will also utilize a peer-to-peer money transfer platform it developed in 2017 alongside three Japanese banks. That trial encompassed a cloud-based blockchain platform for sending funds between individuals, as well as a smartphone app.

Among its various explorations of blockchain, Fujitsu also partnered in September with the Japanese Bankers Association (JBA) to provide a platform built with Hyperledger Fabric that banks within the group’s ranks could use to test various business use cases for the tech.

It further launched a “ready-to-go” blockchain consultancy service in July that it claimed can deliver a minimum viable product in just five days.

This post is credited to coindesk

SP Group, a major corporation providing electricity and gas transmission in Singapore, has launched a blockchain-powered renewable energy certificate (REC) marketplace, the company reveals in a press release Monday, Oct. 29.

The platform was unveiled at the ASEAN Energy Business Forum held in Singapore this week. The press release notes that SP Group plans to use blockchain to help the company increase transparency and efficiency. Samuel Tan, chief digital officer of the corporation, further explained:

“Through blockchain technology, we enable companies to trade in renewable energy certificates conveniently, seamlessly and securely, helping them achieve greener business operations and meet their sustainability targets.”

The marketplace will support both local and international RECs — the documents that serve as proof that a particular amount of electrical energy has been produced by solar batteries. The first contracts have already been signed with global real estate developer CDL and multinational banking corporation DBS Bank. Three solar energy sellers — Cleantech Solar Asia, LYS Energy Solutions and Katoen Natie Singapore — are also joining the marketplace.

Singapore is not new to blockchain-powered energy solutions. As Cointelegraph reported in early October, plans for a decentralized peer-to-peer electricity network powered by SkyLedger were announced. The platform will reportedly allow citizens to produce and trade renewable energy.

Decentralized platforms are widely used to back solar energy production and trading. in February, the U.S. state of New York developed the Microgrid project for households who want to buy and sell electricity produced by solar panels. And in September, Australian real estate giant Vicinity announced it will trial a blockchain solutions within its $75 million solar energy program, testing it to supply a shopping mall with renewable energy.

This post is credit to cointelegraph

A new survey by blockchain-oriented research firm Clovr showed that 60 percent of respondents think that cryptocurrency should be treated like fiat currency in political elections.

In the course of its research, Clovr surveyed 1,023 eligible voters registered in the U.S. for their understanding of what impact virtual currency could exert on the political process. Per the survey, almost 60 percent of the voters surveyed answered that crypto and the U.S. dollar should be treated the same, while only 21 percent of respondents said the opposite.

“60 percent of eligible voters believed that it should be legal to donate cryptocurrency in federal elections under the same rules that apply to donations in U.S. dollars.”

63 percent of the voters identifying as Republicans assumed that crypto was secure enough to be deployed for political purposes, and 52 percent of Democrats suggested the same. In regards to Independent voters, only 45 percent were reportedly comfortable with donations in crypto.

73 percent of respondents who were aware of digital currencies believed security was not an issue for political donations, while 23 percent expressed concern.

When asked about financial stability issues with crypto in politics, slightly more than half of Republicans — 52 percent — said that crypto was stable enough, while Democrats and Independents came in at 40 and 35 percent respectively.

Per the survey, 25 percent of the participants stated that they would be more likely to make a contribution to political campaigns if crypto donations were an option. More than 20 percent of Republicans expressed their wish to contribute more substantial amounts if crypto was an option. 16 percent of Democrats and 12 percent of Independents stated the same, respectively.

Regarding concerns over whether crypto in political campaigns would increase foreign interference in U.S. elections, 60 percent answered in the affirmative, wherein Democrats showed more concern than the other groups.

Per the survey, 62 percent of respondents think that crypto donations could be used illegally in the U.S. political system. On this issue, all three groups showed similar results, with 64 percent of Independents, 62 percent of Republicans, and 61 percent of Democrats answering in the affirmative. 60 percent of respondents expressed concern over politician and party misuse of crypto donations.

Last year, the Campaign Finance Task Force issued released a report dubbed “Public attitudes and campaign finance,” devoted to the role of money in the political system. According to the report, the public overall is “woefully” misinformed about campaign finance law, revealing that only four percent of Americans knew that corporations cannot contribute directly to the campaigns of candidates for president and Congress.

The same survey found that “nearly 90% of respondents answered less than three of five factual questions correctly.” Respondents reportedly believed that the amounts of House of Representatives campaign contributions are $5.8 million on average, while the statistics show that average spending was $785,000.

This post is credit to cointelegraph

Sunday, Oct. 28: crypto markets have seen some minor fluctuations, with most of the top 20 coins by market cap seeing price changes within 1 percent over the past 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap.

The total market capitalization has remained hovering below $210 billion over the day.

Market visualization

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is slightly up 1.7 percent and trading at $6,483 at press time, according to CoinMarketCap. Following reports on Bitcoin hitting 18-month lows of volatility, the major cryptocurrency is seeing insignificant price fluctuations over the past 7 days, down around 0.6 percent over this period.

Bitcoin 30-day price chart

Bitcoin 30-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Bitcoin Price Index

Ethereum (ETH), the second cryptocurrency by market cap, is up around 0.2 percent over the day and trading at around $204 as of press time. According to CoinMarketCap, the leading altcoin is down around 0.7 percent over the week.

Ethereum 30-day price chart

Ethereum 30-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ethereum Price Index

Ripple (XRP) is up 0.2 percent over the past 24 hours and trading at $0.45 at press time. Over a 7 day period, the cryptocurrency has seen almost zero fluctuations, slightly down 0.1 percent.

Recently, Ripple announced that the company has seen its revenues doubled in Q3 over Q2 in 2018, with around $163 million worth of XRP sales in Q3, up from $73.53 million in Q2. On Friday, Oct. 26, Ripple revealed that the company has hired a former senior developer at Google’s new wireless messaging service as vice president of products.

Ripple 30-day price chart

Ripple 30-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ripple Price Index

At press time, total market cap amounts to $209 billion, while daily trading volume has remained below the $10 billion threshold.

Total market capitalization 30-day chart

Total market capitalization 30-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

While most of the top 20 coins by market cap have seen insignificant price changes, IOTA (MIOTA) has seen slightly bigger losses over the day. The altcoin is down around 1.6 percent over the past 24 hours, trading at $0.48 at press time.

ZCash (ZEC) and Dash (DASH) are up more than 1 percent over a 24 hour period, trading at around $123 and $156 respectively.

On Thursday, Oct. 25, major Hong Kong-based crypto exchange OKEx announced they will delist more than 50 trading pairs that had low liquidity and trading volumes.

Also on Thursday, a new commissioner from U.S. financial regulator the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) urged that the fintech field – including crypto and blockchain – should be considered and handled with an “open mind.”

This post is credit to cointelegraph

An arbitration body in China has ruled that despite the country’s central bank’s ban on cryptocurrency trading, bitcoin should still be legally protected as a property with economic values, Shenzhen Court announced on their official WeChat account on October 25, 2018.

Chinese Court Confirms Bitcoin Protected by Law

The Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration published a case analysis on October 25, 2018, via WeChat, clarifying its ruling on an economic dispute that involved a business contract relating to possession and transfer of crypto assets.

According to cnLedger, a prominent crypto and blockchain Twitter account that focuses on Chinese developments, the court’s verdict indicates that Chinese law permits consumers to transact and own Bitcoin. The local source added that the Shenzhen body has ruled the crypto asset legal due to its inherent nature as “property” and its “economic value.”

However, despite the same court also ruling that Bitcoin isn’t and never could be considered a legal currency, the lawyers working on the case didn’t agree with imposing an outright ban on the coin.

According to the court’s detailing, the lawyers overseeing this case acknowledged that the use of BTC “can bring economic benefits to parties,” and as such shouldn’t be invalidated in bona fide transactions and legitimate use cases.

advertisement
eToro MOBILE2

And while many remain hopeful for Bitcoin’s future in China, it’s important to note that this case underwent proceedings in Shenzhen, one of China’s special economic zones, which may have skewed the results of the case in favor of crypto assets.

Case Analysis

The court’s ruling on the legality of cryptocurrencies comes in favor of an unnamed plaintiff in an equity transfer dispute, in which the defendant failed to return holdings of bitcoin, bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin diamond (BCD) as had been agreed upon in a contractual agreement.

According to the case analysis, the unnamed plaintiff signed a contract agreement with the defendant, which allowed him to trade and manage a pool of cryptocurrencies on the plaintiff’s behalf.

After the plaintiff said the defendant failed and refused to return the cryptocurrencies after an agreed deadline, the case was brought to the arbitrator, seeking the return of the assets along with interest.

The arbitrator said one main argument made by the defendant was that the ban from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) on cryptocurrency trading and ICOs means crypto transactions should be illegal in China, rendering the contract invalid.

However, the arbitrator disagreed, explaining that there is no law in China currently that prohibits the possession of bitcoin and its transactions between individuals.

The court said that the nature of the case wasn’t about the currency’s legality, but about the contractual obligation for returning cryptocurrencies, which does not fall under the cryptocurrency trading or initial coin offering categories outlined in the PBoC’s September 2017 ban.

This post is credited to btcmanager

Opting to take the view ICOs are a form of fraud, speculation or gambling, the Korean government initiated a ban on the investment vehicle last September, one that sparked a strong backlash from domestic blockchain startups.

Still, some Korean lawmakers from the opposition party have piggybacked on these concerns and are advocating for the legalization of ICOs. In a situation where the incumbent government is struggling with economic issues, including a decline in employment and skyrocketing housing prices, it’s perhaps natural the opposition party would rally behind an emerging technology to try to establish an innovative image for itself.

However, Min Byung-doo is one member of the ruling Minjoo Party who has spoken out in favor of ICOs through a query submitted to the government, an unusual step for a prominent figure in the ruling party in that it doesn’t square with the government or Blue House line.

But not only is Min a leading figure, he is the Chairman of the National Policy Committee, considered the first hurdle to clear for those hoping to enact legislation on ICOs or cryptocurrency exchanges.

In an interview with CoinDesk Korea, Min expressed his thoughts on ICOs, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain industry, and their outlook in South Korea.

CoinDesk Korea: Why do you think ICOs should be permitted?

Min Byung-doo: There are some positive aspects to the regulations implemented by the government over the past year. A lot of the bubbles have burst and people have realized that this is not a market they should be recklessly rushing into. The laws have served as a big preventive injection, so even if the regulations on ICOs and exchanges were repealed, I don’t think people would be jumping into these markets without careful consideration. I think the vaccine has succeeded, and it’s now time to open up the market.

A number of countries including Switzerland, Malta, Estonia and Singapore have recently tried to bring ICOs within the boundaries of existing institutional frameworks, as well as France, who recently passed a new law. It seems that many countries have started focusing on the potential of ICOs.

Over the last two years, the total funds raised through ICOs were far higher than the figures for venture capital or angel investment. The trend is changing. All around the world, people are applying for blockchain-related patents and trying to come up with new business models. They believe that a new coin will emerge that takes things to the next level, and we have no reason to stand in the way of that possibility.

Anyone can found a unicorn (a company valued at more than $1 billion) or decacorn (a company valued at more than $10 billion) by making use of public blockchains. A dominating platform will eventually emerge in this market, and Korea shouldn’t miss out on that opportunity.

The problem is that even though this opportunity exists, the government is still blocking ICOs on the grounds that they could lead to ‘fraud, speculation or money laundering.’

CoinDesk Korea: The Office for Government Policy Coordination (OGPC) is expected to release the government’s official position on ICOs in November, but Financial Services Commission head Choi Jong-gu remains opposed to ICOs.

Min Byung-doo: The OGPC and FSC reached agreement in a special consultative meeting, and both have a negative view of ICOs. It seems that the government is satisfied with the regulatory measures they put in place between last October and January, and believes that regulating is their duty.

Whether the government releases a new set of regulations on ICOs (in November) or not, they will need to listen to a wide range opinions from the industry and justify their decision with some solid evidence. And if Korea’s blockchain industry fails to develop because of this, the government should be held accountable.

CoinDesk Korea: Some bills on blockchain have already been submitted to the National Assembly.

Min Byung-doo: Some of those bills are close to an outright ban on ICOs, while others are wholeheartedly devoted to promoting them. People have vastly different views on this issue. I think we are quickly running out of time.

Once the National Assembly’s regular session finishes, lawmakers will start looking towards next year’s general election and getting ready to campaign. The fact that the National Assembly is ignoring the desperate messages being sent by the industry is a big problem.

CoinDesk Korea: If the chairman of the National Policy Committee is in favor of ICOs, does that increase the chances that the committee will pass a law on this issue?

Min Byung-doo: Personally, I am strongly committed to this, and I hope that other lawmakers will bring their own expertise to the table and approach this issue with a strong sense of commitment as well. The FSC seems to be having a difficult time. The NPC is the committee in charge of this issue, so when I am speaking out in favor of ICOs and several dozen lawmakers have also made their voices heard through a series of debates, it places a lot of pressure on the government.

The government seems to feel a heavy burden when it comes to enacting laws or guidelines. I think they are afraid that enacting a law might come across as a tacit endorsement of crypto assets.

If you want to legislate, there is no need to enact a series of detailed provisions. You just need to focus on three key areas: the basic nature of the assets involved, duties and oversight. How should regulation differ depending on the nature of the asset? How can the government crack down on problems such as fraud, speculation and money laundering? How can regulations be used to guarantee the security of exchanges? How will white papers be verified? Will analysts be required to release regular reports? Which authority should be in charge of oversight? The only thing regulation needs to do is answer these questions.

An NPC-level public hearing or special meeting is expected to be held in November. The goal of this meeting is to hear what legal, financial and software experts have to say. Laws and guidelines should be as minimal as possible, but the deliberation prior to implementing such measures needs to be thorough and in-depth.

Accordingly, the National Assembly is planning to collate their views and urge the government to take action, whether that be through laws or guidelines.

CoinDesk Korea: Doesn’t the FSC or the Blue House hold the key when it comes to this issue?

Min Byung-doo: At present, the OGPC is the control tower that manages task forces on cryptocurrencies across all government departments. I am aware that some officials at the Blue House are also closely following this issue. It would be great if the president could just make a decision on this, but that is far from easy.

CoinDesk Korea: Bitcoin was created in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, while blockchain is rooted in the philosophy of decentralization. Isn’t it only natural that the government takes a negative view of such technology?

Min Byung-doo: I don’t think that cryptocurrencies would be able to avoid financial oversight. I don’t think that’s the case. I think the future brought about by decentralization or disintermediation would be bad at all.

Some governments may take a very passive stance while other countries will adopt a more active approach. But if some governments are actively trying to promote blockchain technology and this leads to the creation of globally dominant platforms like Amazon or Alipay, then will passive governments be able to stand in their way? If they can’t do anything in response, they will end up being colonized economically. Governments need to take action to ensure that they don’t get left behind in this competition.

CoinDesk Korea: What do you think of the ‘special blockchain zones’ being proposed by local governments such as Jeju?

Min Byung-doo: From the government’s perspective, there is no difference between permitting ICOs in special designated zones and allowing them across the whole country. Once the government has passed laws or guidelines, it will be possible for special zones to explore suitable models for development, but right now it is difficult to envision such a zone being granted special permission in advance.

This post is credited to coindesk

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is turning to DLT in order to streamline its services and raise efficiency.

Currently, the CBSA processes as many as 14,000 trucks, 127,400 courier shipments, 58,600 commercial releases, and 240,000 mail items every day. In an attempt to improve these services the Border Service has linked up with a blockchain-based digital shipping firm, TradeLens.

TradeLens was created by IBM and the world’s largest container shipping company Maersk. As a blockchain-enabled shipping solution, the company lists amongst its aims as promoting secure global trade, bringing together international supply chains and supporting transparency.

Clearly, the Canadian government sees these attributes as essential in moving forward due to the size its operations and the demands on its workforce. CBSA president John Ossowski commented that services need the blockchain in order to make its services more efficient, explaining:

“This development is an example of the Government of Canada using innovative technology to easily and securely facilitate trade and engage in global trading ecosystems in a modern, productive manner.”

The Border Service is a highly stressed intensive environment, with business reliant on documents reaching their destinations quickly. Ossowski sees data providence as essential, a factor that DLT is guaranteed to bring to current tracking systems. He added:

“TradeLens could create a singular, trusted digital supply chain for all shipments entering Canada…. The end result may be a faster and more reliable national supply chain, which could positively impact Canada’s economic output”.

Canada has been making news elsewhere this week as it becomes only the second nation after Uruguay to legalize cannabis. Supply chain management is sure to become a major factor under the new legislation.

One company, DMG Blockchain Solutions is currently negotiating with cannabis licensed producers, quality assurance labs, retail distributors, and government regulators, to develop a cannabis supply chain solution. DMG describes itself as a diversified blockchain and cryptocurrency company that works on end-to-end solutions to monetize blockchain’s ecosystem.

This post is credited to bitcoinnews

Vietnam’s largest telecom company has claimed to have produced a blockchain filing system that will revolutionize medical care in that country.

The country, one of South East Asia’s sleeping tigers is hoping that blockchain can lift its fintech stature with the latest innovation designed for use in the healthcare sector.

Viettel Enterprise Solutions Corporation, a company that aspires to become Vietnam’s leader in blockchain technology, has come up with the blockchain solution for medical file management which is designed to reduce administrative costs. Viettel’s Deputy General Director Ngô Vĩnh Quý, explains that the company is fully prepared for embracing new streamlining technologies such as DLT:

“Viettel has the financial resources, human resources, network infrastructure, huge data centre, research and development facilities, large internal environment, and other advantages to learn and apply blockchain technology.”

Phạm Ngọc Sơn, director of the Core-technology Centre, is quoted suggesting that hospitals connecting to Viettel’s database could save the government huge amounts of money, arguing, “Every year Vietnam spends VNĐ2.3 – 2.5 trillion (US$100 -110 million) for patients to do medical tests again when they move from one hospital to another.”

The new system is not limited to connecting hospitals to a blockchain backed database, but also to other departments such as the Ministry of Health, provincial health departments, and medical insurance companies.

The blockchain/crypto space in Vietnam has had a chequered time over the past year with mining scandals and fraudulent ICOs leaving investors with huge losses of funds. Last year, Vietnam announced that it was considering a legal framework for the management of cryptocurrencies due to their increased popularity in the country. These moves have been reflected in other Asian countries in order to alleviate the risks of fraud.

Recently Reuters reported that Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc had instructed the State Bank of Vietnam to cease allowing financial services that relate to cryptocurrency. The directive included measures to counter money laundering and counter terrorist activity through cryptocurrency.

What the country now needs to see is successful blockchain solutions introduced into areas where Vietnam needs it most: this latest move may be a good start on the road to improving new technologies image in the country.

This post is credited to bitcoinnews

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a warning about investing in nine digital tokens and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), which have not been accredited by the regulator, news outlet Bangkok Post reported Oct. 26.

The SEC reportedly initiated an investigation into digital tokens and ICOs being promoted on social media platforms for investment, and found nine cases wherein promoted digital assets had not been authorized by the market regulator.

Per the SEC, the alleged digital assets and ICOs have neither filed an application for the SEC’s approval, nor have they met the necessary qualifications and had smart contracts assessed by ICO portals. The SEC said that those who have invested in the alleged assets should be wary of associated investment risks.

The SEC reportedly reiterated a warning about Ponzi schemes that persuade people to invest in digital assets by promising investment returns generated from tokens. “Information disclosure for investment decision-making is also inadequate, while these digital assets might not have sufficient liquidity to trade and cannot be converted into cash,” the regulator added.

In August, the SEC said that almost 50 ICO projects expressed interest in becoming certified following the Finance Ministry’s announcement to introduce ICO regulations. The authorization process takes up to five months as upon submission of an application, the SEC will transfer the document to the Finance Ministry within 90 days. After that, the Ministry has 60 days to make a decision whether to approve a license.

Later that month, the SEC approved seven businesses to conduct cryptocurrency operations as part of the formalization of the country’s domestic market. The move forms part of a package of “transitional” rules governing crypto businesses operating in Thailand prior to the first tranche of regulations that came into force May 14.

The 100-section law defines cryptocurrencies as “digital assets and digital tokens,” and brought them under the regulatory jurisdiction of the SEC. Thai Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong reportedly assured that the new measures are not intended to prohibit cryptocurrencies or ICOs.

This post is credit to cointelegraph