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Digital Currency and Blockchain Weekly Round-Up – January 10th, 2020

Fri, 10 Jan 2020, 12:29 pm UTC

Creating sound legal framework for crypto-assets is a key focus area, says ESMA
Cryptocurrency regulation is one of the key focus areas for the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) for the next couple of years, CoinDesk reported. On Thursday, ESMA published its 2020-2022 priorities list, which sets out its future focus and objectives and reflects its expanded responsibilities and powers.

U.S. SEC’s OCIE includes digital assets in 2020 Examination Priorities
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues to place particular emphasis on digital assets. The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) has announced its 2020 examination priorities, which include financial technology (fintech) and innovation, including digital assets and electronic investment advice, among other things.

Australia to finalize national blockchain roadmap by early 2021
Australia’s Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science has revealed that it is developing a National Blockchain Roadmap to shed light on the opportunities presented by this technology across the entire economy, ZDNet reported. “The Roadmap will assess sectoral opportunities including in agriculture, credentials for individuals and know-your-customer checks. It will also examine key issues of regulation and standards, skills, capability and innovation, international investment and collaboration in blockchain,” the department said.

New guidelines for blockchain patent applications to come into effect in China
China’s National Intellectual Property Administration (NIPA) is clarifying the rules for examining patent applications, which will come into effect on Feb. 01, Cointelegraph reported. Last month, the NIPA announced that it has decided to make amendments to the Patent Examination Guidelines for emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, big data, and blockchain.

South Korean Presidential Committee recommends allowing crypto derivatives
A South Korean Presidential Committee has proposed allowing financial institutions to launch cryptocurrency products, such as derivatives, Business Korea reports. In its new report, the Presidential Committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (PCFIR) has made a number of recommendations with the objective of bringing crypto-related products into the financial system.

Illinois legally recognizes blockchain records and smart contracts
The Blockchain Technology Act came into effect in the U.S. state of Illinois on January 01, recognizing smart contracts and other blockchain-based digital records as legal instruments, CoinDesk reported. J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 3575 into law last August. With the law now coming into force, blockchain-based records and smart contracts are now admissible in court as evidence.

Qatar imposes ban on crypto asset services
The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) last month announced that virtual asset services may not be carried out in or from the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC). As per the official announcement shared by the regulator via a tweet, all authorized firms are “not currently permitted to provide and/or facilitate the provision of Virtual Asset Services or otherwise exchange, trade or deal in Virtual Assets, until further notice.”

Company News

  • Crypto derivatives exchange Deribit to move out of the Netherlands to dodge 5AMLD regulations
  • Standard Chartered buys equity stake in Chinese blockchain-focused supply chain firm Linklogis
  • Swiss fintech firm AlgoTrader secures $3.8M in Series A round
  • WisdomTree leads Securrency’s $17.65M Series A round, aims to bring blockchain tech to ETFs
  • Crypto tax compliance firm TaxBit secures $5M from Winklevoss Capital, Valar Ventures and others
  • PwC Switzerland takes over blockchain startup ChainSecurity
  • Ousted Bitmain co-founder takes matters to court to regain control of company
  • US Court rejects SEC’s request to compel Telegram disclose bank records


  • Oman’s largest port joins IBM- Maersk blockchain shipping platform “TradeLens”

Digital Currency and Blockchain Initiatives

  • Burger King Venezuela starts accepting cryptocurrencies via Cryptobuyer partnership
  • Crypto exchange Bithumb establishes blockchain R&D center
  • Thailand-based Siam Commercial Bank announces Ripple-powered mobile app for cross-border payments
  • Virginia lawmakers look to blockchain to secure voter records and election results
  • China’s Anhui province to implement blockchain technology in government service centers
  • China’s state-backed Blockchain Service Network to launch in April
  • Alibaba subsidiary Ant Financial preps to launch its enterprise blockchain next month
  • Baidu launches new service to lower cost and technological barriers for dapp developers
  • IBM, Farmer Connect announce blockchain-based mobile app for coffee supply chain traceability
  • CaixaBank officially implements blockchain-based trade finance platform

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