Cryptocurrencies are three times more popular among American millennials as a long-term investment as they are for Generation X. Crypto is Americans’ 7th most popular long-term investment According to the results of a nationwide Bankrate survey, published on July 17, 9% of millennials chose crypto as their top long-term investment option — roughly threefold the percentage among earlier generations. More broadly, the survey revealed that cryptocurrencies are the seventh most popular investment option among Americans — with 4% of respondents choosing them as their top choice for a minimum 10-year investment. This 4% figure was lower than the 5% of respondents who chose “None” in response to a list of assets they would choose to invest their cash in the long term. The most popular asset class was real estate, at 31% — notwithstanding the 2008 real estate crash and expected slowdown this year. Americans’ top asset choices for investing money they wouldn’t need for more than 10 years. Courtesy of Bankrate Fresh crypto surveys As reported yesterday, 49% of Americans and Brits have revealed they would not trust Facebook in regards to its much-anticipated stablecoin Libra, citing privacy concerns. A spring 2019 survey indicated that 11% of the American population owns Bitcoin (BTC), indicating that Bitcoin ownership is a “demographic mega-trend” led by the younger generation in the 18-34 year age range. Nonetheless, 89% of U.S. citizens had heard of the cryptocurrency, regardless of their generation. That same month, a separate survey found that approximately 3% of American retirees own bitcoin. Meanwhile, a survey from earlier this month suggested that 26% of Generation Z — generally defined as those born after 1997 — would be somewhat, very or extremely likely to buy cryptocurrency in the next 6 months.
The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrencies and blockchain next week. The committee said in a press release that it would hold an open session titled “Examining Regulatory Frameworks for Digital Currencies and Blockchain” on July 30, though it is unclear if this would be a fact-finding mission or if any specific pieces of legislation would be discussed. Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire, representing the Blockchain Association; Rebecca Nelson, a member of the Congressional Research Service specializing in international trade and finance; and Mehrsa Baradaran, a law professor at the University of California Irvine School of Law will testify as expert witnesses. The hearing will be livestreamed. The Senate Banking Committee has held a number of hearings around the space, with the most recent taking place last week, focused on Facebook’s Libra. Members asked David Marcus, the head of Facebook’s crypto project and the CEO of its Calibra subsidiary, a number of pointed questions about the project, but rarely brought up bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Instead, Senators took pains to distinguish between the broader crypto ecosystem and Facebook’s efforts specifically, indicating they may better understand the technology and the asset class than they have in years past. Dollar bill via Shutterstock
Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, has called for a substantive legal framework for cryptocurrencies in the country. According to a report by Nigerian news daily Daily Post on July 23, Gbajabiamila wants the country to develop clear regulations for digital assets so that the country does not get left behind as cryptocurrencies become more widely adopted. Speaking at a visit by the board of the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Gbajabiamila said: “On the issue of cryptocurrency, I think blockchain technology is novel and coming up strong. We don’t want to be left behind. […] I think the world is taking the issue of cryptocurrency and block-chain technology seriously. We don’t want to be left behind, and we have to take it seriously.” Gbajabiamila noted the House’s readiness to develop relevant legal frameworks for the emerging technology and asset class. In addition to blockchain and cryptocurrencies, the lawmaker also spoke about the role of the NDIC and creating well-defined and separate competencies between it and the country’s central bank. The speaker said that the House would expand the NDIC’s statutory functions, and ensure that its roles did not overlap with those of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The NDIC, much like the American Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, provides an insurance safety net for depositors in Nigeria’s recently liberalized banking sector. Earlier this year, Nigeria’s financial watchdog agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), received a petition alleging that Estonia-based crypto firm Paxful Inc. defrauded thousands of Nigerian investors out of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies through arbitrary account closures. Paxful subsequently denied the allegations, claiming that, “all accounts that have been shut down have a reason for it. We will not shut down any account unless they violate our TOS (Terms of Service).”
Marubeni Corp., a major Japanese sōgō shōsha, or general trading company, is now backing a blockchain-based power trading platform. Per a report by Reuters on July 23, Marubeni has issued a loan to Lithuania-based blockchain project WePower. Per Reuters, the size of Marubeni’s stake in WePower after converting the loan is yet to be determined. WePower has reportedly developed a platform which allows small- and medium-sized enterprises to more easily buy power specifically from wind- and solar-based sources via standardized digital power purchase agreements. The platform aims to unlock tens of billions of dollars in power generation to smaller projects in the Australian electricity market which, according to Reuters, is running out of major power consumers that will buy large quantities over long periods of time. The blockchain-based platform purportedly allows for faster contract negotiation times and provides more flexibility. WePower CEO Nikolaj Martynuik told Reuters, “The only discussion point then, through the platform, is the price. That takes a lot of the complexity out.” In February 2018, WePower raised $40 million in one day through its initial coin offering. In an announcement, the firm said that its platform allows solar and wind power producers to raise capital for projects by selling energy from future projects in the form of tokens. Marubeni has previously invested in blockchain-based energy projects. In February 2019, the firm partnered with a New York-based blockchain startup to use the technology for its energy business.
Legislators from the New York State Assembly have appointed six members to the New York State Digital Currency Task Force. In a video announcement on July 22, Assembly member Clyde Vanel announced six appointments to the group, which is tasked with investigating and making regulatory recommendations regarding digital currencies and blockchain technology. The task force will consist of 13 members, six of whom are appointed by the Assembly, while the remaining seven will be appointed by the governor. The six appointed on July 22 include Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, the CEO of the Global Blockchain Business Council, Sandra Ro; Yaya Fanusie, an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; co-founder of Blockchain @ Microsoft Yorke Rhodes; Ryan Zagonne, the director of regulatory relations at Ripple, and Aaron Wright, who is a law professor at the Cardozo School of Law. Vanel said, “We are excited that we’re going to have some of the premier people in blockchain technology and in cryptocurrency help guide New York state and the country, and maybe the world, on finding the right level of regulations in this space. Group will study blockchain and crypto before making recommendations New York state reportedly became the first state in the United States to form its own cryptocurrency task force in January of this year. The task force was formally created when governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill dubbed “The Digital Currency Study Bill” into law on Dec. 21, 2018. Per the terms of the aforementioned bill, the group’s relevant reports regarding crypto and blockchain regulation and definition must be submitted to by Dec. 15, 2020, after which lawmakers and regulators can take the results into consideration. Vanel, who is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Internet and New Technologies, then said: “New York leads the country in finance. We will also lead in proper fintech regulation. The task force of experts will help us strike the balance between having a robust blockchain industry and cryptocurrency economic environment while at the same time protecting New York investors and consumers.” In May, the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee passed a resolution to form the Task Force on Financial Technology that will, “examine the current legal framework for fintech, how fintech is used…
Last week, Bitcoin (BTC) was legally recognized by a Chinese court, whereby it was concluded that the cryptocurrency should now be considered as digital property. The decision that the Hangzhou Internet Court made in a ruling was met with enthusiasm from some community members, who assumed that Bitcoin is now legal in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) — famously one of the harshest jurisdictions for digital currencies in the world — and that the local government might soon ease its pressure on Bitcoin. However, some experts are less confident to call it a regulatory thaw. Brief introduction to China’s relationship with crypto China is a key player in the crypto space, hosting a substantial share of Bitcoin mining and trading. According to a late 2018 study, around 60% of BTC’s total hash power is generated in China, while unregulated domestic cryptocurrency exchanges facilitate 60% of all global trading of the stablecoin Tether (USDT), as another study indicates. Despite such high numbers, the Chinese crypto industry has been significantly constrained as a result of regulatory suppression. In September 2017, domestic authorities banned local exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs) from operating. As a result of the crackdown, people in China can hold cryptocurrencies but cannot legally exchange them for fiat money via trading platforms. However, according to Jehan Chu, co-founder of Kenetic Capital, there is a small regulatory loophole: The ban does not directly forbid people from exchanging cryptocurrencies among each other. Chu told Cointelegraph: “While exchanges and companies that are trading Bitcoin have been banned in China personal ownership and exchange has not been ruled illegal. This has left space for individual ownership while institutional Chinese trade has moved offshore, but intact.” Ashley Tian, senior legal manager at Ecovis R&G Consulting Ltd., confirmed that peer-to-peer trading remains legal. “Please note that the purchase, sales or hold of cryptocurrency itself does not violate any Chinese law,” she told Cointelegraph in an email. Tian stressed that local people have to use foreign exchanges to purchase digital currencies but also notify local regulators of their investments and pay taxes. Meanwhile, there have been reports from China suggesting that the 2017 ban could be extended to other crypto-related spheres — namely, mining and marketing. Thus, earlier this year,…
South Korea has the highest blockchain patent grant rate, according to London-based law firm Withers & Rogers. Meanwhile, Japan comes at a distant second, intellectual property business media platform IAM reports on July 23. Getting a blockchain patent in China takes a while Per the report, South Korea has the highest patent grant rate (54%), followed by Japan (17%), and the United States (16%), with China significantly lagging behind. The outlet suggests that a reason for this substantial disparity between China and the rest of the world is that a sizable portion of those patents outside China follow a procedure where the application is not published before the patent is granted. In China, on the other hand, patent applications must be published before a substantive examination, which may be the reason why less than 2% of the Chinese blockchain patents examined have been granted. Blockchain Intellectual Property Grant Rate | Source: IAM Furthermore, the figures also show that China and the United States account for 62% and 22% of blockchain innovation, being jointly responsible for the vast majority of development in the industry (82%). The data is also in line with what Cointelegraph reported in June. At the time data circulating on intellectual property news outlets, showed that the number of global blockchain patent filings significantly outstrips the patent filings for other technologies.
UPDATE (July 23, 22:00 UTC): This article has been updated several times since initial publication as new information became available. If, as the saying goes, any publicity is good publicity, then Tuesday was a great day for Tron CEO Justin Sun. The 28-year-old entrepreneur has been the talk of the crypto community for the last 24 hours, starting with Monday night’s announcement that a bout of kidney stones led him to postpone a long-awaited lunch with finance titan Warren Buffett. Then came reports suggesting that the rescheduling was due to legal rather than medical problems. For a few hours, seemingly everyone on crypto Twitter believed Sun was in China, barred from leaving by the government amid accusations of lawbreaking. But that narrative was seemingly debunked in the afternoon, when a live video broadcast showed Sun in what appeared to be a San Francisco high-rise, the Bay Bridge in the background, joking that he wished he were in Miami. It was a roller-coaster ride befitting the volatile crypto space, where it’s often hard to know what’s real, even by 2019 standards. Crossover event Stepping back, the lunch was the prize for winning a charity auction. Sun bid $4.6 million earlier this year and seemingly intended to introduce the notoriously crypto-skeptical Buffett to a number of influential figures in the space. The Glide Foundation, which helps the homeless of San Francisco, received the money on June 5, according to Tron. As of Monday, Sun had lined up Circle’s Jeremy Allaire, Huobi’s Chris Lee, eToro’s Yoni Assia and litecoin creator Charlie Lee to join him with the Oracle of Omaha on July 25. The specific subjects to be discussed during the steak meal were not disclosed; however, Buffett has famously called bitcoin “rat poison squared,” and made a number of other unflattering remarks about cryptocurrencies. Sun, himself a controversial figure, is the creator of the Tron blockchain protocol and head of its namesake foundation. He persuaded Buffett to move the charity lunch from its traditional New York location to the Bay Area. Then, late Monday, the Tron Foundation announced the postponement, saying Sun had fallen ill with kidney stones and that the parties had “agreed to reschedule at a later date.” Reports from China Hours later, a Chinese…
The Philippines-based UnionBank has successfully completed a pilot of a blockchain-based cross-border remittance from the Philippines to Singapore, according to a press release published on July 23. The pilot is the result of a partnership between UnionBank and Singapore-based OCBC Bank, wherein the parties deployed the Adhara liquidity management and international payments platform and UnionBank-UBX’s i2i platform to make the remittance. To ensure financial inclusion for the unbanked Specifically, the bank used a blockchain-based tokenized fiat to remit from OCBC Bank to an account holder at a rural Cantilan Bank. The project thus aims to provide millions of unbanked Filipinos with the ability to use financial services by connecting rural banks to the country’s main financial network. Melchor Plabasan, officer-in-charge at the technology risk and innovation supervision department of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas — the country’s central bank —- said that the agency anticipates further adoption of blockchain as the technology streamlines payments and remittances. Arvie de Vera, UnionBank senior vice president and head of the fintech business group, said: “With the pilot’s use of i2i, rural banks can now receive direct-to-account remittances, and this is only the beginning. With this connected platform, other value added services can now be made accessible to rural banks. This empowers rural banks that were once financially excluded, with access to universal banking services.” In April, Bitspark, a blockchain-based bankless money transfer solution, announced that it will release a cryptocurrency pegged to the Philippine peso for money transfers dubbed “peg.PHP.” Consumers will purportedly be able to pay their bills with the stablecoin in the form of a cash deposit at one of the shops in Bitspark’s network.
The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), the state’s financial regulator, has established a new department that will be responsible for licensing and regulating crypto-related businesses. In a statement on July 23, the NYDFS announced the formation of the Research and Innovation Division which will “house the Department’s division responsible for licensing and supervising virtual currencies, and it will assess new efforts to use technology to address financial exclusion.” The NYDFS requires that businesses involved in the issuance and trade of digital assets receive a special type of registration called a BitLicense. The process purports to assure that crypto-related business observe certain standards regarding disclosure and consumer data protection, but is seen by some in the crypto space as restrictive to the industry. In addition to announcing the new Research and Innovation Division, today’s statement notes a number of appointments to the division. The new division will be led by Matthew Homer, who previous to working with the NYDFS was the head of policy and research a fintech firm called Quovo. Homer also has experience at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the United States Agency for International Development. Two deputy superintendents, Matthew Siegel and Olivia Bumgardner, will serve under Homer. Siegel was a trial attorney in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, before which he worked at the Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Bureau of the New York State Office of the Attorney General. Bumgardner is currently the director of research at NYDFS and has previously led initiatives and projects related to cybersecurity, financial inclusion and digital currencies. Andrew Lucas, who was previously senior counsel at the New York City Law Department, will be counsel to the Research and Innovation Division. Earlier this week, Fidelity’s crypto wing, Fidelity Digital Assets Services (FDAS), reportedly applied with the NYDFS for a license to operate as a trust in New York. Should the application be approved, FDAS will be able to provide custodial services for digital assets in the state.