• Bitcoin holds steady above USD 10,000 this week, despite further pressure from Defi liquidations across the rest of the crypto market
  • Square forms a group to prevent patent hoarding in blockchain
  • Swiss laws become even friendlier towards blockchain and crypto

Bitcoin has yet to recover the ground it lost last weekend when US stock markets slipped, triggering equity outflows from almost every other market, including crypto. After spending last week looking poised to break USD 12,000, it slipped as low as USD 9,850 on some exchanges, but this week has been holding strongly above USD 10,000.

The same has happened for Ethereum, the main benefactor of the decentralized finance (DeFi) hype, where it has spent most of this week finding firm support around USD 350, trading right now above USD 360.

DeFi proponents are not ready to throw in the towel of course, as opinion and interest on Twitter and social media are still, remarkably positive, with most traders acknowledging that it was a matter of time before profit taking in Defi markets would result in this pullback. So with the hype bubble deflated but not yet quite burst, we expect crypto overall to make a recovery in the coming days and weeks — how swiftly might also depend somewhat on how Bitcoin performs in the market.

Sentiment is rightly positive across the board, with industry proponents still very much into the idea of good practices and behaviors for blockchain. In the US, popular crypto app Square, owned by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, has launched a new alliance that asks participants to preserve the open source spirit of the blockchain industry and to stem the tide of aggressive patenting of blockchain technologies.

The Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA) is a non-profit that wants to put a stop to the popular practice of for-profit companies who have been locking up technologies in patents, which Square syas is going to only stifle innovation. It said in a statement:

“Locking up foundational cryptocurrency technologies in patents stifles innovation and adoption; and offensive use of patents by bad actors threatens the growth of cryptocurrency technologies.”

While patenting has been recognized as a way to keep trade secrets alive, and, in doing so, maintaining a competitive edge, Square particularly attacks what is called “pre-emptive patents”, which are really just blocking aside ideas yet to be developed — effectively halting the research of would-be competitors.

COPA doesn’t stop members from patenting — they are merely requested to pledge to make them available freely to all other members via a shared library. Square calls this library a “collective shield” that protects its participants from “patent aggressors” and has made a commitment to placing its own crypto patents into this library.

Good news perhaps for an industry that has only seen its patenting double in recent years? If you’re a fan of free, open and equitable, then surely so!

In other news, Switzerland seems to have upped its blockchain game by introducing some new amendments to its regulations. Already considered one of the world’s most friendly blockchain and crypto jurisdictions, Swiss laws are now even more beckoning towards emerging technology.

Just yesterday, Swiss parliamentarians voted to pass a new set of legal amendments affecting finance and corporate law that distinctly recognize the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, seeing it as not merely something to put up with, but a respectable force of its own.

These legal reforms will see several pieces of legislation affected, from securities trading to company bankruptcy. Essentially, the process of exchanging digital securities as well as that of reclaiming digital assets from companies that go bankrupt have been further defined for clarity. It also outlines the specific legal requirements for operating cryptocurrency trading exchanges in a way that also satisfied anti money laundering concerns for crypto.

Dubbed the “Blockchain Act”, members of the House of Representatives passed these new laws unanimously and this somewhat hastened process could see them come into enforcement as early as Q1 2021, which would be a huge step up from the already conducive environment of Switzerland.

It is already home to almost 1,000 blockchain and crypto firms, mostly located around Zug, itself housing the self-proclaimed “Crypto Valley”. Bitcoin has also been accepted by many of its individual local governments, and Bitcoin payments have even been accepted on its public transport systems for several years now.

 

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