Journal of Record

Week of 19-25 February 2018

Revolut Goes it Alone
Revolut no longer relies on Wirecard as their MasterCard issuer as they now issue their own cards in-house. Revolut experienced payment outages in 2017 caused by technical issues of Wirecard. Revolut added cryptocurrencies to their platform and this move helps bypass any possible cutoffs from issuing banks that other cryptocurrency card operations have faced recently (Diar, 8 January).
Bitfinex Announces SegWit Support
Following Coinbase who last week announced that SegWit support on GDAX was live (as well as batching transactions) for their bitcoin transactions, the largest cryptocurrency exchange, Bitfinex, also announced that they will begin supporting the protocol. Lower congestion on the Bitcoin network will ultimately result in lower fees and faster processing times.
Bank of America – Adapt or Die
In its annual report to the SEC, Bank of America said that cryptocurrencies may be part of a new wave of financial services that the banking behemoth has to adapt to as it looks to expand in new markets where non-US financial institutions have less stringent capital and liquidity requirements. The report did highlight KYC/AML concerns with cryptocurrencies.
Bank of China Patents Blockchain Scaling Solution
Bank of China, the state-owned commercial bank, has filed a patent with China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) to improve the scalability of blockchain systems. The solution proposes to compress the information from multiple blocks to a "data block" without compromising on being tamper-proof and traceable.
Volkswagen partners with IOTA
Volkswagen Group’s Chief Digital Officer (CDO) Johann Jungwirth announced at Bosch Connected World 2018 Conference that Volkswagen has partnered up with IOTA. Mr Jungwirth said that he is a big believer in Tangle, the underlying technology of IOTA.
Putin: Russia Needs Blockchain
Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, said in a meeting with Herman Gref, the CEO of the largest Russian bank Sberbank, that Russia needs to adopt new technologies and be active in the blockchain industry before it’s too late.
Israeli Tax Authorities Classify Bitcoin
Much like their US counterparts, the Israeli tax authorities classified Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as property last week. But details (also like the US tax authorities) are scant with no information on what cost basis will be used for the calculations.
Austria Inspired by Gold for Regulating Crypto
Austria’s finance minister Hartwig Löger is considering regulating cryptocurrencies similarly to gold and derivatives in order to prevent them from facilitating money laundering. Investors would have to report trades exceeding 10,000 euros.

Week of 12-18 February 2018

Microsoft Weighs in On Block Size Debate
"While some blockchain communities have increased on-chain transaction capacity (e.g. blocksize increases), this approach generally degrades the decentralized state of the network and cannot reach the millions of transactions per second the system would generate at world-scale."
Bank of Thailand Bans Bitcoin (Again...Sort Of)
While the Central Bank of Thailand has no constitutional right to ban cryptocurrencies, it does have oversight over possible capital flight risk - a concern it had in 2013. Last week the Central Bank took it a step further and banned banks from dealing with any sort of cryptocurrency operations.
Citi Bank India Bans Crypto Trading
Towing the usual line that most banks have citing possible economic harm, CitiBank India has banned their clients from cryptocurrency trading activities using not only their credit cards, but also their debit cards too. Note that the Central Bank of India has not banned Bitcoin, but cited concerns.
Mobile Bank Revolut Adding Ripple XRP
UK Fintech startup Revolut, who specialise in easy forex between currencies,  started offering their 1Million user base cryptocurrency exchanges too last November (Diar, 27 November 2017). The 'neobank' announced that they'll be adding Ripple in addition to Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.

Week of 5-11 February 2018

Binance Goes Down
Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange with more than 6 million users, suspended trading and halted withdrawals of funds for more than a day. Binance had undergone an unscheduled system upgrade as a result of a server issue - but it was enough to spread hacking fears.

Gibraltar to Introduce ICO Law
Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) said that lawmakers are discussing a bill that would directly regulate the promotion, sale and distribution of ICO tokens. Amongst other requirements, the regulation will require full disclosure to ICO investors.

Arizona Passes Bill to Accept Tax in Crypt0
The Arizona Senate passed a bill in an effort to allow residents pay their income taxes with cryptocurrencies. If the bill is adopted by the House of Representatives, Arizona would allow tax payments in cryptocurrencies by 2020, following the lead of Chiasso, Switzerland.

Mike Novogratz To Start Bitcoin Merchant Bank
Former Goldman Sachs partner Mike Novogratz has raised $250Mn in a private investment round in an effort to launch a Bitcoin Merchant Bank in a complex structure and takeover that aims to be a publicly traded company on Toronto’s TSX Venture Exchange.

Week of 29 January - 04 February 2018

US Based Square Cash Opens Bitcoin Purchases
PayPal and Venmo contendor Square Cash announced that users will be able to purchase Bitcoin from their Cash App following trials that opened last November. An interesting feature in Cash is that it allows people to send others anonymously.
Russian Sberbank to Open Crypto Exchange
Russian state-owned giant Sberbank announced last week that they plan on opening a cryptocurrency exchange in Europe based out of Switzerland. But with a new Russian Legal Framework in place – will there be a need to move abroad?
Gab SEC Reg A+ ICO
A first of its kind, Gab, a social network has completed its filing with the SEC to kickoff their $10Mn ICO under the Jobs Act that allows for non-institutional investors to partake in the raise. Gab will be offering a 16.6% stake in the business making it a clear cut equity token.
Bank of Indonesia Announces Trial CBDC
The Bank of Indonesia has announced that they will begin trialling a Central Bank Digital Currency dubbed as the Digital Rupiah. The Ethereum based token will be aimed at servicing the tourism sector to rein-in any possible corruption.

Week of 22-28 January 2018

Coinbase Finds New Competition
Tech website Recode reported that Coinbase turned over $1Bn in revenue last year. Its success hasn't gone unnoticed - micro finance trading app Robinhood announced it will offer free trading to 16 cryptocurrencies in 5 US States.
Grayscale To Launch 5 Additional Crypto Trusts
The Bitcoin investment vehicle that institutional investors could use for exposure to the cryptocurrency announced an additional 5 Funds alongside Ethereum Classic and zCash. A stock-split also resulted in a surge in their stock price.
Bitcoin Loses Stripe
In another blow for Bitcoin as a currency and means of payment, popular payment processor Stripe announced its ending its support for the cryptocurrency citing volatility and fees. They did say that they are looking at other cryptocurrencies in the meantime.
bitFlyer Announces Expansion into Europe
Japans largest Bitcoin exchange, bitFlyer, announced that they have secured a license in Luxembourg. The exchange that launched in 2014, expanded to the US last year and now seeks to add to its $250Bn trading volume.

Week of 15-21 January 2018

France, Germany Bitcoin Regulation Proposal
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that the two European nations, France and Germany, will submit a joint-proposal at the G20 Summit in Argentina this upcoming March that will provide a framework for Bitcoin regulation.
$2Bn ICO Target By Telegram
Encrypted messaging service Telegram, upped its ICO target to a cool $2Bn. A hopeful and ambitious wish of competing with Visa/Mastercard as a payment platform. 2017 saw a total of approximately $6Bn raised from ICOs.
Royal Dutch Shell, BP Enter Blockchain
A consortium of Big Oil and Big Banks are looking at adopting blockchain solutions to address cargo ownership and to mitigate the risks involved in physical trading. Accurate timestamps will assist in correctly pricing oil shipments. .
Blockstream, ICE Partnership
NYSE-Operator Intercontinental Exchange announced a consolidated cryptocurrency feed partnership with Blockstream covering 6 main pairs from 17 different exchanges. Alongside the main cryptocurrencies, Dash has entered the stage.

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