A conservative member (MP) of the United Kingdom’s (U.K.) Parliament has said that making payments to local authorities and utility providers with Bitcoin (BTC) should be possible. The MP’s statements were reported by local news outlet Express.co.uk on Dec. 10. The article notes that Eddie Hughes, a member of the U.K. Parliament for the Walsall North constituency, described himself as a “crypto enthusiast with amateur knowledge.” He notes that blockchain gets a lot of attention and members of the parliament “have a duty to understand it.” Hughes further explained that he recently met with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which accepts cryptocurrency donations, and that the encounter made him think: “What’s to stop us [from] being able to pay council tax and other bills with Bitcoin?” Those declarations come shortly after, as Cointelegraph reported at the end of November, the United States state of Ohio announced that businesses will be able to pay their taxes in Bitcoin. Praising Ohio’s new BTC tax payment option, Hughes said in relation to the U.K.’s crypto stance: “You’re either ahead of the curve or you’re behind the curve, and our country is in an interesting position right now — we need to be seen as a progressive country.” The recent crypto market crash has reportedly eased the pressure on U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority to create “hasty” new crypto regulation. According to Reuters, the previously urgent need to create regulation had raised the risk of a heavy-handed approach that could potentially damage the industry. Now that the crash has happened, officials have indicated that they will take more time to ensure a more balanced legal framework. During a cryptocurrency-themed conference in London, Gillian Dorner, deputy director for financial services at Britain’s finance ministry, said that this is an opportunity “to take the time to look at that in a bit more depth and make sure we take a proportionate approach.”
Malaysia’s finance regulator and central bank issued a joint press statement Dec. 6 in which they confirmed they were “putting in place” legislation on cryptocurrency and Initial Coin Offering (ICO) assets. The statement from the Malaysia’s Securities Commission (SC) and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), which follows comments from senior government official that regulation of the sector could appear in Q1 2019, also reiterates the need comply with securities laws where appropriate. “The SC will regulate issuances of digital assets via initial coin offerings (ICO) and the trading of digital assets at digital asset exchanges in Malaysia,” it confirmed. “Regulations are currently being put in place to bring digital assets within the remit of securities laws to promote fair and orderly trading and ensure investor protection.” Malaysia has slowly enacted a formalized stance on cryptocurrency activities this year. Last month, in addition to revealing the potential deadline, the country’s finance minister Lim Guan Eng also stated that anyone wishing to issue a new asset could only do so with BNM’s blessing. “I advise all parties wishing to introduce Bitcoin (style) cryptocurrency to refer first to Bank Negara Malaysia as it is the authority that will issue the decision on financial mechanism,” he said. Among those eyeing the developments is a local initiative dubbed “Hope Coin,” the creators of which may have to wait for the process to complete before launching. The moves come hot on the heels of Thailand, which is around six months into the introductory phase of its own regulation.
The United Nations’ charity arm for children, UNICEF, is funding research into blockchain tech. Announced Monday, UNICEF is investing $100,000 in six blockchain startups to “solve global challenges using blockchain technology,” ranging from healthcare delivery transparency to managing finances and resources. The investments are part of a broader program which already funds 20 technology startups, according to a press release. These are UNICEF’s latest investments in blockchain startups through its innovation fund, which first hinted at the move as far back as February 2016, and put out a call for firms in the space explicitly at the beginning of this year. Each of these startups is based in a developing economy, with firms based out of Argentina, Mexico, India, Tunisia and Bangladesh. The six recipients are Atix Labs and Onesmart, which are developing platforms for tracking finances; Prescrypto, which is building a platform to track patient histories; Statwig, which is working to ensure vaccine delivery with a supply chain platform; Utopixar, which is working on a social collaboration tool; and W3 Engineers, which is looking to develop an offline networking system that does not require internet access. UNICEF Innovation principal advisor Chris Fabian explained in a statement that the fund invests in projects “when our financing, technical support, and focus on vulnerable populations can help a technology grow and mature in the most fair and equitable way possible.” He added: “Blockchain technology is still at an early stage – and there is a great deal of experimentation, failure, and learning ahead of us as we see how, and where, we can use this technology to create a better world.” On top of the funding, UNICEF will provide assistance with the products and technology, as well as share access to its network of partners and experts. The companies are expected to deliver open-source prototypes of their projects over the next 12 months. UNICEF has been looking into blockchain for years, investing in an identity-focused startup two years ago and trialing smart contracts for transactions. UNICEF image via JPstock / Shutterstock
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision. Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. After months of stability, cryptocurrencies are under a renewed bear attack, as total market capitalization has again dipped below $188 billion. The current sell-off comes after months of range bound trading on markets. This is a negative sign because it shows that, after a period of relative balance, sellers have gained the upper hand. None of the cryptocurrencies were spared in the carnage as most of the top ten tokens by market capitalization are down anywhere between 9-18 percent. This shows that selling has been broad-based. Though the exact reason for the fall is unknown, CEO of BKCM Brian Kelly believes that it might have been triggered by uncertainty surrounding the Bitcoin Cash fork. How should traders approach this new development? Is it time to do some bottom fishing or is it best to sit and wait until the decline plays out? Let’s see. BTC/USD Bitcoin crumbled today as the break below the trendline attracted sharp selling, plunging prices to new year-to-date lows. As prices broke below $5,900, it triggered our stop loss suggested at $5,900. Currently, the bulls are trying to push prices back above $5,900 but every small pullback is being met with a fresh wave of selling. If the bears sustain prices below $5,900, the next drop should take the BTC/USD pair to $5,450 and below that to $5,000. Contrarily, if the bulls stage a successful pullback, the digital currency might attempt to climb above the trendline once again. At times, the first move from a consolidation is a fake out. Hence, the next couple of days are very critical for the digital currency as it will dictate the next direction. If the bears exploit the breakdown and sink prices lower, then it is best to sit out until the decline ends. However, if the bears fail to capitalize on the fall, it shows strong demand at lower levels. Therefore, we suggest traders wait for the next couple of days, as it will give us a…
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision. The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. Nikolay Storonsky, CEO and co-founder of Revolut Ltd., a digital banking provider with a user base of two million, has said at the Web Summit 2018 in Lisbon, that large institutions are showing little interest in digital assets. Any new technology takes time to catch up and become relevant to everyone. Even the internet took time to grow to its current scale. ConsenSys founder Joseph Lubin has said that Blockchain might “take a little longer” than the internet to reach mass adoption. Venture capital investor Tim Draper, in a recent panel discussion, reiterated his previous call that Bitcoin will reach the price of $250,000 per coin by 2022. He believes that with mass adoption of Bitcoin, people are likely to switch from fiat currencies that are bound by a specific geography to cryptocurrencies, which in turn have universal acceptance. The recently concluded U.S. midterm elections have seen a number of pro-blockchain politicians being elected to office, which is a positive sign. Though the market movement is slow now, the future looks encouraging for the nascent asset class. BTC/USD The dip below $6,400 was purchased on Nov. 11, which shows buying at lower levels. However, Bitcoin is facing overhead resistance from both moving averages, which indicates that buying dries up at higher levels. Positional traders should avoid trading when the range is tight and shrinking. A large well-defined range provides an opportunity to buy low and sell high, however, the BTC/USD pair is not allowing such an opportunity. If the bulls push the price above $6,831.99, the digital currency is likely to invite short covering, propelling the price further to $7,400, and above that to $8,400. On the other hand, if the bears break below the critical support of $5,900, it might result in panic selling, dragging the pair to the lower levels of $5,000–$5,450. Therefore, traders can keep the stop loss on their long positions at $5,900. ETH/USD Ethereum is not showing any signs of a trend. The…
U.S. citizen Joseph Kim of Phoenix, Arizona has been fined $1.1 million and sentenced to 15 months in jail for misappropriating Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC) from several people, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) reports Friday, Nov. 9. The CFTC found out that Kim defrauded his employer, a Chicago-based proprietary trading firm, transferring approximately $601,000 worth amount of BTC and LTC to his own accounts in 2017. When asked about missing cryptocurrencies, Kim falsely claimed that security issues made him transfer digital currencies to several accounts. Shortly after, the misappropriation was discovered and Kim was fired. Kim reportedly then defrauded private investors in order to return funds to his employer. According to the CFTC, he lured around $545,000 worth of cryptocurrencies from five individuals, falsely stating that he had left the company voluntarily to start his own trading company. Kim later lost all the investors’ funds following a high-risk bet. Given the circumstances of the case, the CFTC has ordered Kim to pay $1.1 million in restitution to his company and customers. Moreover, the commission has imposed a permanent trading and solicitation ban on him. In a separate criminal action brought by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Kim pleaded guilty to defrauding his employer and misappropriating private investors’ funds, and has received a 15 month sentence. The CFTC Director of Enforcement, James McDonald, says the commission will continue to cooperate with the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and the FBI in order to prevent crypto-related crimes. Earlier this month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Zachary Coburn, the founder of crypto token trading platform EtherDelta, with operating an unregistered securities exchange. He agreed to pay up to $400,000 in fines for an 18 month operating period.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision. Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. While many experts and investors view the current crypto bear market as a negative, economist Tyler Cowen, professor at George Mason University, believes that a crash is positive because it helps clean up the system. The dotcom bubble, though painful, wiped out the bad companies, paving the way for today’s leaders like Amazon and Google. Previously, the naysayers pointed to the sharp volatility in cryptocurrencies as a deterrent for mass adoption. However, since September, Bitcoin has traded in a tighter range than the Argentine peso, the Turkish lira, the Brazilian real, the Mexican peso, and the South African rand. In fact, its range was only 2.7 percent greater than that of the safe haven currency, the Swiss franc. Both on the way up and on its way down, Bitcoin has been the leader, whose price action is followed by the altcoins. However, some analysts believe that this might change in the future and the next bull market might be led by one of the top altcoins. Let’s see what the charts forecast. BTC/USD Bitcoin has failed to attract buyers at higher levels. It turned down from $6,600 levels and easily broke below both the moving averages. This is a sign of weakness. The next stop is a fall to $6,250–$6,200. A break below $6,200 will threaten the critical support zone at $6,075.04–$5,900, which has not been breached in 2018. Any break of this support can result in a sharp liquidation of long positions, dragging the BTC/USD pair to $5,450 and $5,000 within a short span of time. Therefore, traders can keep the stops at $5,900. If the bulls support $6,200 levels, the leading digital currency can extend its stay in the range for a few more days. ETH/USD Absence of follow up buying has pushed Ethereum to the 20-day EMA. If this support breaks, it can slide to the lower support of $200 and $188.35. The downtrend will resume if the bears sink prices below the Sept.…
A commissioner of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said ‘not to hold your breath’ waiting for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) at the Digital Asset Investment Forum held in Washington D.C. Dec. 5. Hester Peirce, dubbed “Crypto Mom” by the community for her dissent with the SEC’s decision to reject a Bitcoin ETF proposed by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, said that a crypto or Bitcoin ETF is “definitely possible,” but it could be years away: “Definitely possible could be 20 years from now or it could be tomorrow. Don’t hold your breath. The SEC took a long time to [establish] Finhub. It might take even longer to approve an exchange traded product.” According to Pierce, she is also trying to convince her colleagues “to have a bit more of an open mind” when it comes to crypto adoption, but it might take a long time. Regarding the possibility of Bitcoin institutionalization, Peirce said that the SEC sees a lot of institutional and retail interest and will interact with it in many ways. She further added: “I think we need to encourage institutionalization in crypto space. That’s not what the people in the space want, but I think there are institutional folks who want to be in this space […] And the best way that we can offer retail investors to get into this space is through a place that’s more institutionalized.” When asked about recent SEC enforcements, “Crypto Mom” said that people have to comply with the law, but the government is obliged to figure out whether the regulation is preventing people from realizing new or innovative ideas. “I want to make sure that the doors to innovation are open wide enough, and they’re not too constrained by regulation,” she concluded. In a recent interview SEC Chairman Jay Clayton refrained from providing any specific time frame for a Bitcoin ETF, but instead reiterated the SEC’s stance. “I’m not going to comment on timing or anything like that, but we’ve been clear on some of the issues that are of concern to us,” he told CNBC.
U.S. insurance group State Farm is testing blockchain tech as part of a new platform for insurance subrogation. State Farm announced Monday that it was trialing a blockchain solution to streamline the manual process of subrogation. Subrogation is the legal right for companies to pursue damages from a third-party responsible for causing a loss to the insured party. The trial is currently aimed at determining whether a blockchain platform is a “viable product for insurance industry adoption,” according to a press statement. State Farm is a notable entry on the list of firms testing blockchain, having ranked 36 on the Fortune 500 list for 2018. State Farm explained that during an auto claim, two insurance firms would determine the claim amount. The insurer for the party at-fault for damages would pay the insurer for the other party. Some $11 billion in claims were transferred due to subrogation in 2017, a spokesperson for State Farm explained in an email, with $750 million dealing with private-passenger insurance claims. “Today, subrogation is a relatively manual, time-consuming process often requiring physical checks to be mailed on a claim-by-claim basis between insurers,” State Farm innovation executive Mike Fields explained in a statement. By contrast, using a blockchain platform would provide a number of benefits, he said, adding: “It helps us automate a manual process securely and creates a permanent transaction record of each payment which can easily be verified for accuracy. It also has the potential to decrease the amount of time for consumers to receive their deductible reimbursement.” In an email, the State Farm spokesperson added that the blockchain solution may reduce the risk of an error in processing a claim due to the way the platform’s validation process. It would also decrease the number of paper checks sent from one insurer to another. Innovation manager Dustin Helland added that the team was looking at the immutability of a blockchain as another benefit from the technology. The test will run through the first half of 2019, alongside existing subrogation processes. Helland added that “the results of the test, along with other factors, will be input for a decision on whether or not to launch the solution into full production adoption.” Image Credit: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com
Digital banking platform Good Money just raised $30 million in a Series A funding round to continue developing its app. Led by Michael Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital (via its Galaxy EOS VC Fund), participants in the funding round included Breyer Capital, Blocktower Capital, Boost VC, Ken Howery, BlockChange Ventures, Cross Culture Capital, Troy Carter, Mitch Kapor, Peter Diamandis Blake Mycoskie and Justin Rosenstein, among others. The startup aims to act as a bank through which every customer owns some amount of equity, with incentives baked in for those who install the app, refer friends and set up direct deposits. As part of its traditional banking services, Good Money says it will offer free ATMs nationwide, no overdraft fees, low consumer loan rates and a 2 percent Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Savings rate. The company intends to release its full app sometime in 2019. The platform works through its app, a mobile crypto wallet with a number of other features. Users can also direct 50 percent of the startup’s profits to their charity or philanthropic project of choice. Good Money founder and CEO Gunnar Lovelace said in a statement that his firm seeks to take on traditional banking practices, which “is a primary driver” of a number of issues including institutional racism, environmental destruction and political corruption. “We founded Good Money to help consumers take their money out of a system that’s both destroying the planet and extracting wealth from the most vulnerable and put it into a new system focused solely on benefiting people and planet,” he added. Piggy bank image via Shutterstock