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Digital Currency and Blockchain Weekly Round-Up – July 19th, 2019

Fri, 19 Jul 2019, 11:59 am UTC

U.S. lawmakers seek to prevent big tech companies from offering cryptocurrencies
A draft law has reportedly been circulated by U.S. lawmakers to keep big tech companies from functioning as financial institutions, Reuters reported. According to an online copy of the draft bill, entitled “Keep Big Tech Out Of Finance Act,” the primary objective is to prohibit large platform utilities from being a financial institution or being affiliated with a person that is a financial institution, and for other purposes.

FATF approves Japan’s plan to establish global network for crypto payments: Report
Japan is reportedly spearheading a global effort to establish an international network for cryptocurrency payments. A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Japan’s Ministry of Finance and the Financial Services Agency (FSA) submitted a plan on the said initiative to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and got the approval last month.

IRS goes after cryptocurrency users misreporting transactions
The U.S. Internal Revenue Services (IRS) is ramping up efforts to get a hold of those who are not properly reporting their income from cryptocurrencies and evading tax payments on such income. The IRS is sending out letters to specific recipients telling them that they are subject to investigation due to suspicions of underreporting income via cryptocurrency, Bloomberg reports.

UK drafts new 'Economic Crime Plan' to tackle cryptocurrency crimes
The British government has drafted a new Economic Crime Plan to tackle financial crimes, including an “intervention on crypto assets.” The financial crime prevention plan, drafted by the U.K. Home Office and H.M. Treasury, aims to implement guidelines on how authorities should respond to illegal financial activities, including “fraud, money laundering, bribery, and corruption” at home and abroad.

Draft of India’s cryptocurrency ban bill surfaces online
A copy of a draft bill that seeks to ban cryptocurrencies in India has been uploaded on Scribd by blockchain lawyer Varun Sethi. If passed, the bill, entitled “Banning of Crypto Currency & Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019,” would completely ban cryptocurrencies in the country.

Bank of Thailand's DLT-focused Project Inthanon advances to Phase III
The Bank of Thailand (BOT) announced that its Project Inthanon is heading to its next step, after releasing the outcomes and findings of its Phase II. Project Inthanon, which is a joint project of the BOT and financial institutions, wants to use blockchain technology to improve the country’s financial infrastructure and create an ecosystem supportive of technological learning and advancement.

Libra Congressional Hearing: US lawmakers ask if Libra is ETF, willingness to launch pilot program and more
Facebook’s blockchain head David Marcus testified before U.S. lawmakers at the Congressional hearing on July 17. The hearing mostly centered on trust issues, particularly as the social media giant has been found violating user privacy in the past. Lawmakers sought responses from Marcus on more specific issues such as if Libra is exchange-traded fund (ETF), whether they would agree to do a pilot program before launching, would Libra be discriminatory in nature, and much more.

Libra would not launch until regulatory concerns are fully addressed: Facebook’s David Marcus to Senate Banking Committee
In his testimony at the Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday, David Marcus, head Facebook’s crypto wallet Calibra, emphasized on the social media giant’s intention to work with global regulators, adding that Libra would not be launched until they fully address the regulatory concerns and receive appropriate approvals.

Research Studies

  • Blockchain interest dropping, DLT in trouble?
  • Facebook's Libra, other cryptocurrencies pose risk of global economic destabilization: G7
  • World Economic Forum releases blockchain benefits guide
  • 70% of Asia-Pacific companies lack blockchain knowledge: EY poll
  • IMF warns banks must evolve or be 'left behind' amid the rise of digital money
  • ESMA finds regulatory gaps in licensing regimes of fintech firms

Company News

  • Apple's Steve Wozniak invests in blockchain-based energy efficiency firm 'Efforce' in Malta
  • Anchorage receives charter to open crypto custody shop in South Dakota
  • Bitcoin Suisse applies for Swiss banking and securities dealer licenses
  • Seed CX subsidiaries secure BitLicense from NY Department of Financial Services
  • Waves CEO sells all his stake in blockchain project Vostok; GHP Group now the sole owner
  • Blockchain-based game studio Horizon secures $3.75M investment led by Reddit co-founder
  • Crypto market maker Altonomy secures $7M investment from Polychain Capital
  • India crypto massacre claims another victim


Digital Currency and Blockchain Initiatives

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Aug 23, 2019 (Friday)
Stablecoin project Terra receives funding from HashKey Capital
Three of the founding members of Libra Association consider backing out: Report
Overstock's Patrick Byrne steps down as CEO
Pundi X brings XPOS crypto payments to Venezuela's Traki retail stores
Blockchain startup Blockstack scores strategic investment from Japan's Recruit Holdings
BitGo announces support for multi-signature EOS wallet and custody services
US Treasury blacklists crypto addresses of suspected Chinese fentanyl traffickers
Chainalysis launches ‘Chainalysis KYT Alerts’ to detect suspicious cryptocurrency activity in real-time
Cryptocurrencies used to buy fentanyl, other illicit drugs: White House
Blockchain energy startup Power Ledger extends energy trading trial in Fremantle
Blockchain accelerator initiatives launched at the University of California campuses
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