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.
TokenPay acquires German bank: TokenPay, a decentralized self-verifying payment platform has recently announced that it has acquired a sizeable stake in the Berlin-based German Bank WEG. In the beginning, it was established that Litecoin and TokenPay were partnering up for this move and Derek Capo, the founder of TokenPay had said to Charlie Lee, the founder of Litecoin:
“We are buying 9.9% of a bank in Munich with option to buy 90%. They have a whole ecosystem and plan in place.”
The move isn’t a surprise since acquiring banks was listed as an eventual end in the official whitepaper of the platform.
Conflicting tax policies cause confusion: France is continuing its love-hate relationship with cryptocurrencies with the latest move seeing cryptocurrencies being reclassified as “moveable property” rather than currency and thus the tax rate has come down from 45% to 19%.
The defence lawyer of the tax department argued that “Bitcoin has no other purpose than that of means of payment” but the ruling came in the favor of cryptocurrencies. Due to the rapid change in government dealing with crypto profits, there is a considerable confusion in the market and government circles regarding what rule should be followed.
Company takes Bitcoin mining to the stratosphere: Swedish company Miner One has taken cryptocurrency mining literally a notch above as it launched a Bitcoin mining rig into the atmosphere over 100,000 feet (35,000 meters) above the Earth according to a blog post from the company.
The mining rig uses a hydrogen balloon with capsule assembly underneath containing an ASIC and a Raspberry Pi microcomputer capable of processing data at 35 km above land. The capsule also contains instruments for navigation, tracking and other necessary material to protect the rig from extreme temperatures. It mines at a rate of 330 megahashes per second.
The project is a brainchild of Swedish CEO Pranas Slusnys. He said:
“The goal of Space Miner One is to symbolically express our belief that bitcoin and cryptocurrency, in general, is about the future and the revolutionary technology at its heart: so-called blockchain technology. And with this new technology, the sky’s the limit.”
Richard Branson says Bitcoin scams in his name a worrying trend: Latest Bitcoin scams include using the name and image of popular British billionaire and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson in fake schemes and they are becoming quite successful according to a recent blog post from the Virgin Group’s website.
“Some of the most regular and worrying fake stories currently spreading online are false endorsements of Bitcoin trading schemes. While I have often commented on the potential benefits of genuine Bitcoin developments, I absolutely do not endorse these fake Bitcoin stories.”
The scams usually involve Richard Branson endorsing a cryptocurrency or a product.
UK financial think tank calls Bitcoin a fad: UK’s financial think tank Evidence-based Management’s director Martin Walker has called Bitcoin a “fad” in an address to the British Parliament. The words were in stark contrast to the other representatives called for testimony including blockchain companies EverLedger and Ripple, researchers from local universities and other professionals, most of whom spoke at length about the potential benefits of the industry including saving the banks millions of dollars per annum.
Walker continued and said to a room full of British MPs that the world-renowned tech behind cryptocurrencies was nothing but “magic wand, pixie dust things” and the blockchain was nothing but a distraction from getting the basics of banking right.
Telegram cancels ICO amid ever-increasing restrictions: What was potentially the biggest ICO in history is now history as Telegram has officially closed its much-publicized ICO, according to a report by The Independent. The tightening of ICO regulation around the world including the US and the UK resulted in this move and will see potentially billions of dollars return to the investors.
Investors were frustrated with this move and called it a blow for the future of cryptocurrencies.
Crypto regulations planned: The Portuguese government is meeting to debate cryptocurrency regulations in the coming weeks according to a local news outlet Jornal de Negocios. The government is all set to discuss possible sanctions in addition to supply and distribution of cryptocurrencies in the market.
But, there could be good news as the government officials were quoted saying that they would “accommodate the innovation to the benefit of consumers, and to even promote competition“.
Switzerland aiming to become the top blockchain nation: Switzerland is increasingly becoming the destination of choice for all cryptocurrencies and ICOs in the world. Out of six of the world’s largest ICOs last year alone, four took place in Switzerland according to a report by the Swiss Financial watchdog Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).
Most of the world’s ICOs are moving to Gibraltar, Malta and Switzerland. Small towns with just a few thousand people living are becoming famous as centres of this new revolution. Zug, a small town of 120,000 people has seen the entry of over 200 blockchain companies on its own. It was one of the first towns to install Bitcoin ATMs in 2016.
Switzerland’s openness to new ideas and innovations is a key factor in the country becoming the number one destination for ICOs and blockchain companies.
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