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October 2019

Facebook’s Libra Association received a significant and possibly final death blow after parting with Paypal. Ebay, Mastercard, Visa and Stripe left the Libra Association after raising regulatory concerns.

PayPal, who was one of 28 corporate backers of the Facebook’s Libra Association, is withdrawing from the project, the company announced Friday, as the libra cryptocurrency continues to face harsh criticism from lawmakers and entrepreneurs. CoinGape, Visa, and MasterCard are also mulling their participation. These companies are looking to disassociate themselves with Libra due to the prejudice against Facebook.

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke with the French newspaper Les Echos, characterizing Facebook’s plans to launch a cryptocurrency as a blatant power grab while shutting down any notion that Apple might be considering launching a digital currency of its own.

An online petition signed by 58,085 people so far with the goal to reach 75,000 signatures, is demanding that the European Central Bank and EU institutions block the introduction of the private currency Libra before it is introduced in the market by Facebook and other private companies in 2020. Link here: https://act.wemove.eu/campaigns/no-libra-stop-facebook-money-uk-en

Mentions of institutional interest in bitcoin in news headlines have plummeted to a 2019 low after seeing significant growth throughout the summer. The data used more than 85,000 unique publication headlines since October 2017. Research by the cryptocurrency trading researchers called The Tie.

 

August 2019

Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler said that Bakkt would be finally ready to launch its "custody and physically-delivered daily and monthly bitcoin futures contracts: on September 23 after getting the "green light from the CFTC." Bakkt physically delivered futures require the holder to either produce actual BTC or take delivery from the exchange. These futures are backed from the NY Stock Exchange.

New Zealand's tax authorities have ruled that income in cryptocurrencies is legal and provided guidance on how exactly it should be taxed.

Sidharth Sogani, the CEO of crypto and blockchain research firm Crebaco Global Inc, believes that India will lose around $12.9 billion worth of market if cryptocurrency is banned in the country.

Bitcoin (BTC) lets investors hedge against inflation and will endure as part of portfolios, the CEO of consultancy firm Agecroft Partners has told mainstream media.

Scam letters purporting to be from the United States Internal Revenue Service are trying to con cryptocurrency taxpayers and others out of their funds.

100,000,000 XRP moved as Bitcoin surges past $12,000 mark.

Within traditional finance stock markets are crumbling as political tensions continue to rise within a number of major economies. Bitcoin is able to set its own trend and move away from the traditional financial markets on its own.

Litecoin halving price rally fizzles sub $100 but 97% hash rate stays.

Avichal Garg from Electric Capital, said standard methods for measuring Bitcoin’s dominance were flawed. Resources which compute market cap, draw on thousands of cryptocurrencies, including those with no liquidity at all. This, he argues, makes them irrelevant to calculations and allows them to dilute Bitcoin’s true presence. "True BTC market share is probably 75%+ and has likely been 60%+ for a long time" he wrote.

Dan Schulman, PayPal’s president, has confirmed Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra will launch in early 2020, while also stressing the firm is part of the new project.

Bitcoin.com will launch its digital currency exchange on 2nd September 2019. Bitcoin.com wishes to offer a secure and fast trading platform for digital currencies.

Moneygram is live and transacting on the Ripple xRapid platform sending currencies in seconds. MoneyGram CEO Alex Holmes had expressed enthusiasm for xRapid technology, explaining its far-reaching impact. “Through Ripple’s xRapid product,” he said, ” we will have the ability to instantly settle funds from U.S. dollars to destination currencies on a 24/7 basis, which has the potential to revolutionize our operations and dramatically streamline our global liquidity management.”

Coinbase Custody now has close to 200 institutional customers, onboarding hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto a week.

Microsoft is using the Ethereum blockchain in AI and machine learning.

The International Energy Association (IEA) has revealed that Bitcoin mining consumes as much energy as that of a country size of Switzerland. With the increase in hash rate and difficulty, this power consumption statistic is only set to increase in the future.

The Indian Income Tax Department has sent tax notices to cryptocurrency traders and investors. They have a list of twenty-six questions about the recipient’s income, movable and immovable assets, and his/her involvement in cryptocurrency and bitcoin.

The IRS has sent warning letters to over 10,000 customers who have used Coinbase and should declare themselves as crypto investors with full confidence.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has plans to hire contractors to run specific cryptocurrency full nodes. SEC wants third-party contractors to run nodes for Bitcoin Core (BTC), Ripple (XRP) and Ethereum (ETH) to monitor compliance risks.

LedgerX admitted it had not launched bitcoin futures, as the firm had previously claimed after the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said it had not approved the exchange to do so.

 

July 2019

Beating Bakkt, LedgerX is first to launch ‘physical’ Bitcoin Futures in the US. The contracts, which pay traders out in bitcoin, rather than US dollars, will be available to both institutional and retail investors.

MoneyTap, a mobile application using the RC Cloud 2.0 which implements xCurrent, will incorporate Ripple (XRP) when facilitating global payments. This is according to the latest SBI Group financial report. “We have 25 participating banks, and 8 are API platform connected with Ripple. We want MoneyTap to accommodate international remittance, so we created a mechanism, and it may contribute to xRapid using XRP.”

(₿) Branson-backed cryptocurrency firm launches a super-fast exchange to take on Coinbase.

(₿) Alipay has been activated to all merchants using Flutterwave’s Rave account. Alipay’s 1 billion users globally can trade with Flutterwave accepting businesses in Africa and in the US. Flutterwave’s messenger uses the Ripple (XRP) network.

(₿) German Bitcoin bank Bitwala garners €13 million (almost $14.5 million) in funding. Sony subsidiary joins funding round.

(₿) The stereotypes in crypto investors are shifting, which is leading to greater diversification. One in five crypto holders and investors are women, a figure that is on the rise from the estimated 5 percent in early 2018.

(₿) On Tuesday 30th July, there was a hearing on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency regulations held by the United States Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. Through this hearing, (R-ID) Mike Crapo, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, voiced his beliefs saying that the US wouldn’t be capable of banning Bitcoin successfully. Crapo said that if the US decided that they didn’t want crypto and tried banning it, he’s quite confident that they could not be successful in doing so given the global nature of the invention.

(₿) Microsoft will be using Ethereum Blockchain to incentivize those contributors, who contribute towards the development of the machine learning models.

(₿) The Japan Association of New Economy has submitted a list of policy suggestions to the country’s finance ministry. The proposals include requests for changes to existing blockchain- and cryptocurrency-related legislation. The association also asked the government to help boost the blockchain industry by considering blockchain adaptation in all of its administrative sectors, setting up a joint public-private sector council and launch an inter-ministerial support network aimed at boosting business.

(₿) In its latest quarterly report, Facebook has reminded investors that Libra may not go ahead despite its planned launch in 2020. According to CNBC, the company said it recognized the significance of the concern that has come from lawmakers and regulators.

(₿) Blockchain payment network Ripple signed an open letter to United States regulators on July 28 ahead of fresh hearings on cryptocurrency regulation this week. “Many in the blockchain and digital currency industry are responsible actors. We are responsible for the U.S. and international law. We are responsible for serving the greater good.”

(₿) Lately, along with a host of things going wrong in India, a committee studying the effects of cryptocurrency and distributed ledgers in India, recommended an outright ban on all cryptocurrencies. Tim Draper, American venture capitalist, billionaire and founding partner of Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), argues that a potential crypto ban could be catastrophic for India. “It is akin to the Luddites. They are in fact saying, ‘we will not tolerate progress.’ It will set them back 40 years. Imagine if they did this with the internet?”

(₿) The Chinese central bank released on its website an infographic illustrating what is Bitcoin (BTC), how it works and why it’s valuable.

(₿) Pocketful of Quarters, a crypto-gaming startup, has become the first Ethereum token to receive regulatory approval from the SEC and not be considered a security. The project’s founder, George Weiksner, is just 12 years old. The ‘Quarters’ token is not meant for trading, and it can’t even be sold on an exchange.

(₿) Merchants at Haneda International Terminal in Japan will now be able to accept QR code payments on the VIA network, and there are plans to add more acceptance points all over the country in the near future.

(₿) Croatian Post is trialing a crypto exchange service in Zadar. It enables customers to convert their Bitcoin to Kuna, the national fiat currency. Users can buy Kuna with BTC, ETH, XLM, XRP, and EOS.

(₿) Norwegian Air Shuttle will begin accepting Bitcoin payments later this year thanks to the close relationship with leading national exchange NBX.

(₿) To reinforce the Federal Reserve’s authority to create a real-time payments system and mandate that the Fed brings about its own process, two U.S. representatives and two U.S. senators have introduced the Payment Modernization Act of 2019 (faster payments).

(₿) Grayscale Investments, LLC conducted a survey titled - Bitcoin: 2019 Investor Study) including investors in the US. The Survey revealed that “36% of US investors would consider an investment in $BTC, representing a potential market of over 21mm investors in the general population.”

(₿) Bitcoin’s untouched supply over the last five years reached its all-time high last week, indicating that the cryptocurrency serves as a store of value asset. That is 3.84 million bitcoin (worth about $37 billion) or 21.6% of the total 17.84 million BTC circulating supply.

(₿) Binance research analysis shows that including bitcoin in traditional multi-asset class portfolios provides overall better risk-return profiles.

(₿) Crypto loans platform YouHodler left a database with millions of logs containing users' private financial data unprotected, researchers found.

(₿) Lack of capital flow responsible for altcoin season failing to turn up claims Three Arrows Capital CEO. He suggested that the people getting into the market all bought into Bitcoin, mostly due to its larger-than-life persona in the crypto space, and “existing investors” in the altcoin market stuck with high investments in a non-Bitcoin asset.

(₿) The Senate Banking Committee will hold an open session hearing on July 30 titled “Examining Regulatory Frameworks for Digital Currencies and Blockchain.”

(₿) UnionBank has become the first Philippines-based bank to successfully pilot a blockchain-based cross-border remittance from the Philippines to Singapore.

(₿) Swedish crypto exchange QuickBit announces user data breach.

(₿) Investor and economist, George Gilder compared Bitcoin to gold and found it similar as both have no value. The value is subjective, speculative. The only thing that makes gold and Bitcoin valuable is because the users think it to be. Bitcoin is also scarce like gold; there will only ever be 21 million Bitcoins ever to exist.

(₿) Data from Chainalysis and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime revealed that traditional fiat money is used 800 times more than Bitcoin to launder money on the Darknet.

(₿) Adoption: The first-ever Bitcoin movie storms Chinese cinemas in October.

(₿) XRP addresses with destination tags will no longer be a problem, thanks to Wietse Wind. It proposed a new “X-address format,” which contains the destination tag. By using the X-address, it will no longer be possible to forget adding a destination tag or entering the wrong one when sending deposits to exchanges and other platforms accepting XRP deposits.

(₿) According to market research and analysis firm Fundstrat, there is a flurry of institutional investors looking to get into cryptocurrencies, and with Bakkt's test launch on 7/22, these investors will finally have an onramp. Bakkt's launch is expected late in the current quarter, following the test launch on 7/22. There is a great deal of institutional anticipation around the planned full launch of the service - custody, compliance, payments, and physically settled daily and monthly futures contracts in partnership with parent ICE.

(₿) Blackrock CEO Laurence D. Fink endorsed on CNBC the use case of XRP and Ripple. "Think about all the people who send money back home; they do that through organizations that charge 5-10%. There is a need to democratize the exchange of foreign currencies.

(₿) Bank of America’s patent reveals the exclusive usage of the Ripple ledger to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness of transactions as well as bookkeeping.

(₿) Japan will lead the development of SWIFT-like network for cryptocurrency, which expected to be all set in the next few years.

(₿) CNBC’s “Power Lunch” team recently broke down Treasury Secretary’s Steve Mnuchin’s comments on Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency. Analyst Brent Thill said that, out of 600 US Facebook users surveyed, 80% said they would never use the Libra.

(₿) Beijing News is reporting that the Hangzhou Internet Court has recognized Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as ‘virtual property’ and protected under Chinese law.

(₿) G7 finance chiefs met this week, and Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency was high on their agenda. They agreed on several crypto initiatives and fast regulatory responses to projects such as Libra, calling for them to meet the highest standards of financial regulation.

(₿) BitMEX.com has seen massive withdrawals following the news that the CFTC is investigating BitMEX.com due to suspicion of illegally offering to trade to citizens in the U.S.

(₿) Cryptocurrency broker Bitcoin Suisse applies for a banking license. Following the pressure for more transparency in the sector, Bitcoin Suisse ensures full compliance by fundamentally transforming into a bank.

(₿) Bakkt set to launch on Monday, July 22. Bakkt has been touted to be the future main driver of institutional adoption of cryptos. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is seeing growing demand and interest for bitcoin futures from the public.

(₿) Facebook claims that Libra is independent of the social media company, but if it decides that banned users cannot use it, Facebook will violate several regulations. Facebook spokeswoman Elka said that "anyone who is engaging in the lawful activity will be able to transact on the network. Facebook will have no say".

(₿) Quotes from US Treasury Secretary: "This is intended to be a level-playing field, whether you're Moneygram or a bank, or you're online, or you're a PayPal, this is intended to be a level playing field!". "We do encourage, and there's been a lot of financial innovation away from banks for electronic payment systems, we want technology to evolve."

(₿) Senate moves Blockchain Promotion Act forward. Lawmakers from both parties on Capitol Hill are looking to define Blockchain and see how the government could use the technology. The bill has bipartisan sponsors in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. It's meant to prevent a patchwork of blockchain definitions at the state level and to set the framework for future regulation of the technology.

(₿) The French government is exploring the realms of ICO and other related services in the country. France's Autorité des marchés financiers are now prepared to license crypto-firms to raise initial coin offerings.

(₿) France to set new cryptocurrency regulations later this month. The rules are expected to require that crypto asset-related firms will voluntarily enforce standards on capital requirements and consumer protection. There will also be measures aimed at improving the government’s ability to take taxes on activities relating to the digital currency industry.

(₿) Libra Senate Hearing Day 2: Congress concludes Libra is not a cryptocurrency. Rep. Emma pointed out to the fact that crypto meant to be a peer-to-peer model of money transaction which does not necessarily involve any middlemen. Libra does not have many attributes of a cryptocurrency as instead of operating without middlemen, Libra indeed depends on them.

(₿) IMF (International Monetary Fund) researchers claimed that crypto assets would render traditional cash and bank deposits irrelevant. According to their paper, cryptocurrencies will cause significant disruption.

(₿) The Japanese government wants to create an international network for cryptocurrency transfers similar to SWIFT that is currently used by banks. The authorities believe that this framework will help to fight money laundering issues, Reuters reports citing a person familiar with the plan.

(₿) Bitcoin prices plunge 15% – analysts weigh bearish odds and levels to watch-out.

(₿) The United States’ distrust in Facebook Libra is spilling into crypto.

(₿) Banco Santander the Spanish banking giant’s One Pay FX powered by Ripple’s xCurrent, the mobile app allows the bank customers to near-instant international cash payments. UK customers with a debit card will benefit from the new UK–Poland payments corridor.

(₿) Former congressman Ron Paul says he is favor of fraud-free cryptocurrencies as competition with fiat, though he has concerns about their underlying unit of account.

(₿) Following a recent council approval, Canadian City of Richmond Hill will be exploring providing crypto asset property tax payments. Helping to provide the service will be the domestic digital currency platform, Coinberry.

(₿) The U.S. IRS plans to examine crypto-related applications more closely, to determine whether taxpayers are involved in bitcoin transactions.

(₿) Professional basketball team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, has announced that it will be partnering with crypto project UnitedCoin.

(₿) The U.S. Treasury Secretary echoed Trumps’ recent anti-crypto tweets and stressed the role of FinCEN as a regulator with purview over cryptocurrency organizations.

(₿) U.K. Finance Minister Philip Hammond said that regulators, not lawmakers, should make decisions regarding Facebook's Libra stable coin.

(₿) The countrywide grocery store chain, Independent Grocers of Australia, has announced a partnership with cryptocurrency firm TravelByBit to facilitate cryptocurrency payments at its 1,400 plus grocery stores.

(₿) Santander Bank, a leading Spanish financial institution established in 1857, now facilitates cross-border payments between the United Kingdom and Poland free of charge, through its Pay FX digital banking app which is powered by Ripple's xCurrent, according to reports on July 14, 2019.

(₿) The Senate Banking Chair in the US had scheduled a meeting with the executive of Facebook to question about Libra for 16th July 2019. Reportedly, Marcus David, the Head of the Libra Association, will be representing the Tech Giant’s plans.

(₿) India’s battle with crypto ban continues: Digital Rupee to be only the digital currency.

 

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