Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 6th to 13th April 2018

Europe

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

European Union

EU urged to become a leader in blockchain technology: Vice President of the European Commission Andrus Ansip has called for Europe to become the leader in blockchain technology around the world. Ansip said this during the EC’s Digital Day 2018 convention in Brussels on 10 April. He urged the governments to invest in the technology both politically and financially in the future.

“A significant number of member states have already started to pioneer blockchain initiatives with the aim of developing and reinforcing local innovation ecosystems and aiming to create governmental services on the blockchain,” he said.

United Kingdom

Survey shows 20% of UK adults will own cryptocurrency in the next five years: A recent survey in the UK by Citigate Dewe Rogerson came to the conclusion that cryptocurrency will become more and more popular with the local people in the future with more than 20% of adults likely to own cryptocurrencies in the next three years and as much as 1 in 10 stores already accepting cryptocurrencies.

Head of marketing at Paymentsense Gur Moreve said: “It’s clear that cryptocurrencies are moving swiftly towards the mainstream. However, small business owners considering cryptocurrency as a payment option should be clear about how they can integrate it with their existing financial arrangements. Will suppliers or staff accept it? Can they pay local and national government agencies with it?”

UK’s financial watchdog to deliver crypto regulation analysis next year: The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has recently announced that they are undertaking a long-term study regarding the risks and benefits for Blockchain regulations and cryptocurrency tradings. The study will be delivered in 2019.

The FCA Business Plan 2018/19 states: “Cryptocurrencies has been an area of increasing interest for markets and regulators globally. In the UK, the Treasury Committee has announced that it will be launching an enquiry, to which we intend to respond.”

FCA warns against cryptocurrency derivatives: The UK’s top financial watchdog is of the opinion that cryptocurrency derivatives will require authorization from the financial agency to do business. The FCA website posted last Friday that derivatives have the quality to be considered as tradable assets but they need to be registered with the government to be lent legitimacy.

Hull launching its own cryptocurrency: Hull city is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency according to latest reports coming from the UK. The city with a 262,200 population will launch HullCoin and will implement “the world’s first Community Loyalty Point” according to latest reports. The coin will come pre-mined and individuals will partake in social activities and earn Hull Coins.

France

C’est magnifique! French chickens on blockchain: French supermarket Carrefour has recently announced that it has incorporated blockchain technology into a data system that allows shoppers to track the full history of the chickens they are buying.

This innovative approach came is currently limited to poultry in the Chain’s Auvergne stores but will be adopted for the majority of their inventory. Carrefour is one of the world’s largest retailers in the world coming only after US giant Walmart.

Germany

Localbitcoins.com to stop operations in Germany due to regulatory disagreements: Localbitcoins, one of the largest Bitcoin buying/selling portals in the world, is withdrawing from the German market for a while because of regulatory reasons. This may be a worrying sign for the German cryptocurrency industry and comes as a surprise after the country vowed not to “over-regulate” cryptocurrencies.

Officially, Germany recognizes Bitcoin as “private money”, which is short of calling it a real currency.

Spain

Sixty cryptocurrency companies contacted by Spanish tax authorities: In a sweeping move, more than 60 Spanish cryptocurrency companies have been contacted by the Spanish tax authorities regarding their clients according to a report by El Confidencial. Among these are 40 businesses that accept online cryptocurrency payments.

The move comes after the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Maroy’s party announced that his team was preparing legislation including possible tax breaks to attract cryptocurrency companies to the Iberian country.

Eleven arrested in crypto drug money laundering: Spanish Guardia Civil has arrested 11 people involved in laundering more than EUR 8 million via cryptocurrencies and fiat sources according to the latest press release by Europol. The individuals arrested were part of a crime ring which launders narcotics money using credit cards and cryptocurrencies.

Russia

Mining company charged with USD 1 million in electricity theft: Russian police have arrested two illegal cryptocurrency miners after an investigation found them mining without a license on stolen electricity. More than 6,000 pieces of mining equipment were found on the site which was at an abandoned factory in Orenburg, a small town 1,458 km away from Moscow.

Russian state bank to trial cryptocurrency transactions: Russia’s Gazprombank has announced that it plans to facilitate cryptocurrency transactions in Switzerland. An interview with Russian news outlet Vedomosti revealed that the operations would be for the benefit of the bank itself and not for commercial purposes at the moment.

According to the bank’s head, “this is a demand from the sides of our large private clients for such amenities”, acknowledging the significant call for traditional banks to streamline the banking services of clients holding cryptocurrency funds.

 

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