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 Commission to employ blockchain in fight against fake news: The European Commission (EC) has recently singled out the widespread issue of fake news on the internet as a major issue and is now looking to employ distributed ledger technology (DLT) to stop the spread of fake news on social media and on the web.
The first step from the EC will be to implement a ‘Code of Practice on Disinformation’, an EU program that is slated for publication by July 2018. The EC is saying that blockchain applications can help provide transparency and reliability of news on the internet. According to a press release announced on this subject:
“Innovative technologies, such as blockchain, can help preserve the integrity of content, validate the reliability of information and/or its sources, enable transparency and traceability, and promote trust in news displayed on the Internet.”
Lawyers file case against hacked crypto exchange BitGrail: BitGrail exchange’s troubles continue as a group of lawyers representing the victim traders whose digital currencies were lost during a recent hack on the BitGrail exchange filed a convincing case against the exchange.
The original hacking of the exchange was in February 2018 and saw a mammoth 17 million Nano tokens hacked worth around USD 187 million at the time. The exchange will probably have to file for bankruptcy if the verdict comes against it.
Authorities drop crypto tax after appeal by crypto community: The French government has eased gains taxes on cryptocurrencies after a Conseil d’Etat (Council of State) decision taken during this week. Previously, they could have been as much as 45% for larger users which, coupled with social security contributions, would see it swell to a whopping 62% but, the French government reduced it to 19% according to French Daily Le Monde.
Cryptocurrencies have also been placed in a category called “movable property” but crypto mining falls into a different category than trading. The move follows mixed reactions from the state machinery and government in France with the former proposing a ban and the latter easing restrictions to attract cryptocurrency investment in the country.
Crypto union pushing UK government to regulate blockchain industry: While regulations are often seen as roadblocks, the British cryptocurrency union called CryptoUK is urging the government and the treasury to help regulate the industry in the country. The self-regulatory union is made up of eight members and they have been approaching influential MPs to use the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to regulate the industry.
The chair of CryptoUK and UK managing director of trading platform eToro, Iqbal Gandham, said:
“Introducing a requirement for the FCA to regulate the ‘on-off’ ramps between crypto and fiat currencies is well within the remit of HM Treasury. Based on our analysis, this could be achieved relatively easily, without the need for primary legislation, and would have a huge impact, both in reducing consumer risk and improving industry standards.”
The group is favoring regulating exchanges, brokers and platforms instead of currencies themselves.
Barclays refutes report of crypto trading desk: UK-based Barclays Bank has negated recent reports that it aims to set up a cryptocurrency trading desk like other financial players in the world such as Canada. Barclays UK has announced new ventures into blockchain technology but categorically denied setting up a trading desk for cryptocurrencies.
Barclays’ spokesman Andrew Smith said this in a statement:
“We constantly monitor developments in the digital currency space and will continue to have a dialogue with our clients on their needs and intentions in this market.”
Barclays CEO Jes Stately, however, has termed cryptocurrency a “real challenge”, suggesting the bank is still not ready to accept cryptocurrencies openly itself.
Putin plans to use crypto and blockchain to defy sanctions: Russia currently has been slapped with significant sanctions by the NATO bloc but according to Putin’s top economic advisor, the Russian government is looking to use cryptocurrencies and blockchain to avoid these sanctions.
Sergei Galzev, the advisor said, “We can settle accounts with our counterparties all over the world with no regard for sanctions.”
Putin is especially interested in cryptocurrencies since it was revealed that his opponent has been receiving campaign donations in Bitcoin and aims to use the anonymity and universal application of cryptocurrencies to strengthen the Russian government and its foreign influence around the world.
Siberian conditions appeal to crypto miners: Cheap electricity and cold climate in Siberia is found to be appealing to cryptocurrency miners around the world with many aiming to establish their mining set ups in this remote part of the world. The cold climate provides natural cooling to ASIC chips that produce a large amount of heat.