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

CFTC Chair says lack of regulations stifling US blockchain development: At a recent United States Congressional hearing, the chairman of Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has said that the need for blockchain development is apparent but that lack of regulations are hampering the current development.

The committee’s agenda for the public hearing was regarding CFTC and Christopher Giancarlo, the Chairman of CFTC, said that his organization couldn’t participate in Proof of Concept (PoC) or beta tests for new blockchain innovations because of no laws protecting the space.

Overall, Giancarlo was of the view that the US may fall behind in the crucial technology of the future and how it was the regulators’ job to come up with the right regulations in the space.

Winklevoss twins ‘Bitcoin Billionaires’ book to come out in 2019: Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the twins from the infamous Facebook litigation case that settled for USD 65 million, are the feature of a new book called ‘Bitcoin Billionaires’, the rights for which have been bought by Little Brown’s publishing director. A possible Hollywood film may also be in the cards as well, according to latest reports.

The Winklevoss twins have tasted immense success with the Bitcoin market as they are the co-founders of the cryptocurrency trading platform Gemini and started hodling Bitcoin back when it was just USD 6. They were the first registered Bitcoin billionaires in the world and hence the name of the book.

The book primarily revolves around their dealings with the SEC, Bitcoin and the establishment creating issues for them. It also shows a new aspect of their relationship with Facebook.

CNBC’s Brian Kelly says Bitcoin is not going away: While the mainstream media is always abuzz with allegations that cryptocurrencies are a Ponzi scheme or too risky of an investment, Brian Kelly of CNBC has chipped in and said that the Bitcoin market is not going anywhere and it will remain bullish for a long time.

The renowned news presenter said that the signs are looking good for the premier cryptocurrency in the world and the recent price surge could be the start of a long-awaited run for the crypto market that has seen its value plummet by almost a third since the start of the calendar year. Kelly also talked in length about Bitcoin’s past, present and future struggles with the SEC, including the famous 2013 case involving Bitcoin billionaires, the Winklevoss twins.

He said: “Institutions are starting to get serious. I can tell you from the calls I am getting. People who looked at [BTC] in December did not like the price. They are coming back now and saying, “Alright this thing is not going away. We need to understand what it is”.”

Ex-JP Morgan banker says avoiding financial crisis may depend on blockchain: An ex-JP Morgan banking executive has said that blockchain technology could hold the key to avoiding another financial crisis.

Pang Huodong, the ex-VP of North American investment firm and bank JP Morgan, said at the Asian Blockchain Institute (of which he is an honorary member) that blockchain technology could have the key for installing faith back into the financial market after the horrendous crash of 2008.

He said: “[When I began to work at JPMorgan in 2007,] 13 people managed [the bank’s] USD 40+ billion [assets]… when the 2008 financial crisis was at its worst, [the] average daily loss was USD 300 million. It is only gradually that I understood that blockchain technology may be the key to avoiding the next global financial crisis.”

He also said that blockchain systems could not only reduce the chances of a financial crisis but also improve the costs associated.

SEC to decide on Bitcoin ETFs by 21 September 2018: The US’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has decided on a date of 21 September 2018 to arrive on a decision regarding Bitcoin Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).

The New York Stock Exchange previously applied to list Direxion Bitcoin-related funds back in January this year. The SEC generally takes a decision within 180 days but has postponed the judgement for 60 days as it is allowed to do so.

If Bitcoin ETFs are approved, a major rally for the biggest cryptocurrency could be on the cards in September.

Johnny Depp may portray Bitcoin billionaire Matthew Mellon in new biopic: Johnny Depp is reportedly considering the role of Matthew Mellon, the late Bitcoin billionaire in a new film that highlights the life of the crypto pioneer.

The film will reportedly cover the family background of Mellon as well as he is the descendant of the founder of the Mellon bank, the largest bank outside Wall Street in the US.

US politician to go ahead with crypto donations despite regulatory hurdles: The Chairman of Wisconsin state libertarian party and candidate for Governor Phir Anderson has announced that he is accepting cryptocurrencies in campaign donations despite expected backlash from competitors and officials.

While Anderson says the law is clear on this as the Federal Election Commission says anything of value can be given as donation, he is required to liquidate the funds into US dollars before using it. However, the Wisconsin Ethics Commission (WEC) was approached by his party to provide formal guidance on the matter as well.

Coinbase turning political with new Public Action Committee (PAC): The US Federal Election Commission revealed that Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, has formed a Public Action Committee to lobby for its interests in the crypto community.

The news is unexpected as it is the first such case of a crypto exchange forming a PAC and getting into politics and lobbying. Coinbase will now try to influence the US congressmen on cryptocurrency regulation especially its own application on becoming a securities trader. A sum of USD 78,000 has already been spent on Brian Forde, the congressional candidate and former advisor to ex-President Barack Obama.

Canada

58% of Canadians hodling Bitcoin: A recent study by the Bank of Canada has suggested that more than 58% of Canadian investors are hodling cryptocurrencies to sell it later on.

The study was published on 23 July 2018 but is based on Bitcoin practices in 2017. The Bitcoin Omnibus Survey (BTCOS) was also conducted in 2016 and that time, it was found that the primary function of Bitcoin by Canadians was online transactions only.

Some 12% of Canadians surveyed also said that they were involved in it due to friends and family being involved while 7% said that they were investing in it because of it being a new technology.

Canada is becoming more attractive to blockchain and cryptocurrency startups from around the world due to helpful regulation.

Hydro-Quebec announces vision for crypto mining: Quebec, Canada’s electricity-rich province, may be fast becoming the hub of cryptocurrency mining in the region but due to ever-increasing demand for electricity by miners, the electric company Hydro-Quebec tried to address some of the concerns raised by the crypto community.

A total of 500 MW of surplus electricity has been set out by the power company for mining purposes and the company will be able to shut the miners down for 300 hours a year maximum to account for peak times of the year.

Most of the concerns were raised by non-mining companies who actually said that the mining companies were becoming a concern for them due to their electricity-hungry operations.

 

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