Chicago Mayor Believes Crypto Adoption is “Inevitable”

Cryptocurrency received an endorsement from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel when he stated that wide-scale crypto adoption is “inevitable” at a FinTech meeting in his city earlier this week. The chief of staff for former US President Barack Obama said that while he is no expert in crypto technology, he believes digital assets could help financially unstable countries with their economic recovery. The politician thinks that “an alternative way of currency dealing with the debt markets is going to happen” at some point in the future. “One day, somebody’s going to figure out—whether that’s Argentina,…

Mexico’s Proposed Crypto Laws Create New Barriers For Exchanges, Adoption

Earlier this month, the Bank of Mexico (Banxico) published a circular, wherein it laid out its plan to issue permits to bitcoin exchange platforms and other crypto-related businesses operating in the country. Banxico’s circular stated that to get the right permits, crypto-based businesses in the country would be required to provide detailed business plans and company profiles. Each profile will have to contain various aspects of how the business operates including its business model, transaction fees and know-your-customer (KYC) security measures. Per the circular, the principal objective of the regulator…

Western Union Partners With Stellar Collaborator Thunes for Mobile Wallet Transfers

Payments giant Western Union (WU) is partnering with Stellar (XLM) collaborator Thunes to enable WU clients to transfer funds directly to mobile wallets globally. The development was announced in an official press release published on March 21. Thunes is the latterly rebranded trading name of TransferTo — a cross-border payments network focused on emerging markets. TransferTo had previously partnered with open source blockchain project Stellar to trial the integration of blockchain-powered settlements into its services. According to Western Union’s press release, the partnership with Thunes will focus on enabling the…

Bakkt Delay Due to CFTC Concerns Over Its Planned Custody of Clients’ Bitcoin: WSJ

Much-anticipated crypto platform Bakkt’s plans to store customers’ Bitcoin (BTC) from its Bitcoin futures could cause further delay on obtaining approval from United States regulator the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The news was reported by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on March 21, citing anonymous sources. When Bakkt was first announced back in August, the platform had revealed that its first product would be Bitcoin futures that are physically delivered daily, subject to CFTC approval. Bakkt also said that it planned to hold Bitcoin on behalf of its clients…

Swiss Federal Council Initiates Blockchain Law Consultation Period

The Swiss Federal Council has started its consultation period on the adaptation of federal law for blockchain development, according to an official press release published on March 22. By initiating the consultation, the Federal Council intends to improve legal certainty over blockchain applications in order to build a basis for regulatory framework for the industry in Switzerland, particularly in the financial sector. According to the document, the Federal Council’s consultation will last until the end of June 2019. In mid-December 2018, the Swiss Federal Council adopted a report on the…

Bitwise Tells US SEC That 95% of Volume on Unregulated Crypto Exchanges is Suspect

95 percent of volume on unregulated exchanges appears to be fake or non-economic in nature, an analysis from cryptocurrency index fund provider Bitwise Asset Management has argued in a report dated March 20. Bitwise reported its data and claims to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as part of a proposed rule change for its application to launch a Bitcoin (BTC) Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). The analysis opens with the argument that while an ostensible ~$6 billion in daily traded volume for Bitcoin is reported across the spot…

Op Ed: With Bitcoin, Anarchy Is the Point, Not the Problem

Last week, there was a panel at SXSW that was effectively a debate on the merits of permissioned blockchains versus permissionless systems like Bitcoin. I listened to the entire audio of the panel discussion, after Programming Bitcoin author Jimmy Song tweeted it out the other day, and I thought he did an awesome job of pointing out the key value proposition of Bitcoin and why it is not worth comparing to permissioned systems. What Was the Innovation With Bitcoin? As Song covered in his remarks during the panel, the key…

Blockchain in Biometrics Could be Used in Travel Security, US Customs Rep Says

Using blockchain for biometric tracking would be the technology’s killer app in the travel security sector, according to a representative from the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. The news was reported by travel industry media outlet Skift on March 21. Sikina Hasham, program manager at the CBP, made her remarks during a panel at the JetBlue Technology Ventures Blockchain in Travel Summit in New York City on Wednesday. In response to a question from panel moderator David Post — managing director of IBM Blockchain Ventures — Hasham…

Major Crypto Exchanges Huobi Global and OKEx Launch Support for Tron-Based USDT

Two major crypto exchanges — Singapore-headquartered Huobi Global and Malta-based OKEx — have announced their support for the Tron-based version of stablecoin Tether. The developments were announced in two official announcements, both published on March 21. In early March, blockchain protocol Tron (TRX) and Tether, issuer of stalwart stablecoins USDT and EURT, announced their partnership to issue a TRC-20-based USDT — a term that indicates adherence to a technical token standard supported by the Tron blockchain. The new token is designed to be interoperable with all Tron-based protocols and decentralized…

WSJ’s ShapeShift Exposé Overstated Money Laundering by $6 Million, Analysis Says

When it comes to cryptocurrency transactions, questions about alleged money-laundering quickly get thorny. A Wall Street Journal investigation from last September, titled “How Dirty Money Disappears Into the Black Hole of Cryptocurrency,” claimed the crypto conversion platform ShapeShift had facilitated at least $9 million worth of money laundering over several years with “a parade of suspected criminals.” Now, at ShapeShift’s request, the blockchain analytics firm CipherBlade recreated the 2018 report and found less than $3 million in transactions involving potentially “tainted” funds. The main distinction here is that CipherBlade focused…