North America

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.

USA

Walmart using blockchain to control electricity usage: US retailer Walmart has announced that it has filed a patent application to control electricity usage by integrating cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

The system envisages a fixed amount of cryptocurrency for electricity usage in a house and this cryptocurrency can be used to purchase electricity from a utility company. The system will allow the citizens to control electricity expenditures and thus help the average user to save money.

SEC reluctant to declare crypto as securities due to decentralized operation: The US Securities and Exchange Commission is reluctant to allow cryptocurrencies to be regulated as securities because of their decentralized mode of existence and transfer, according to SEC chief Jay Clayton.

The move echoes similar negative views advocated by SEC and other US regulators against cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are the subject of much debate in the US fintech space and regulatory bodies alike with polarizing opinions hampering the development of the new currencies in the country.

Ex-Trump chief strategist and alt-right blogger Steve Bannon praises crypto: Steve Bannon, ex- Trump White House chief strategist and editor of alt-right blog Breitbart News has advocated the use of cryptocurrencies and said that he has invested a “good stake” in Bitcoin because of its disruptive populist nature.

Bannon, like other anti-establishment Republicans, sees cryptocurrencies as a defining measure of rebelling against the key government institutions that in their view are negatively affecting the US economy.

But the antics of a controversial figure like Bannon will likely to have little impact on the overall cryptocurrency space as his extremist views on almost all positions are an open secret.

Latest US bill tabled to investigate illegal crypto use: Congressman Juan Vargas from California is going to introduce a new bill in the US House of Representatives to tackle illicit use of cryptocurrencies.

The House Committee on Financial Services will debate on the new legislation and if passed, the Comptroller General of the United States will be empowered to investigate illegal cryptocurrency use in the country.

Connecticut joins US blockchain working group: Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut has joined other states in signing on a law that will use a blockchain working group. The working group will study the new tech and see how it can be used to facilitate and enable legislation.

The new group will aim to:

“(1) Identify the economic growth and development opportunities presented by blockchain technology; (2) assess the existing blockchain industry in the state; (3) review workforce needs and academic programs required to build blockchain expertise across all relevant industries; and (4) make legislative recommendations that will help promote innovation and economic growth by reducing barriers to and expediting the expansion of the state’s blockchain industry.”

The move follows other similar ventures by state government across the US to use blockchain technology in improving governance.

US regulators subpoena Coinbase, Kraken and Bitstamp: US Commodities and Future Trading Commission (CFTC) has subpoenaed major coin exchanges including Coinbase, Kraken, Bitstamp and ItBit in a wide-ranging probe involving Bitcoin price manipulation.

The investigation believes that the distorted prices in the futures market point to an abuse by these exchanges. It follows the launch of Bitcoin futures on CME Group’s CME Exchange. The futures are regulated directly by the government and any manipulation in these sectors is under its jurisdiction.

The exchanges weren’t available for comment at the time.

Canada

New draft law requires exchanges to report large crypto transactions to government: A new law is going to be enforced by the government concerning cryptocurrencies to fulfill the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) requirements for Anti Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing prevention.

Among the latest regulations is a new condition that requires cryptocurrency exchanges to report all sizable Bitcoin transactions. There is a growing trend in Canada to get into the cryptocurrency space but there is also a widespread concern that cryptocurrencies could be misused.

 

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