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

Goldman Sachs announces Bitcoin futures trading: Prominent Wall Street banker Goldman Sachs has announced that it plans to trade in Bitcoin futures after a crucial decision by the bank’s board of directors, as reported by the New York Times.

This significant decision that may pave the way forward for Bitcoin’s validity as a currency or a genuine asset came after the bank’s customers requested the board to trade in Bitcoin. The bank will officially start trading in cryptocurrencies within a few weeks according to these latest reports.

Largest car manufacturers form blockchain alliance: World’s largest carmakers including US giants General Motors and Ford have joined other brands to launch the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI). Other members of the partnership include Bosch, Hyperledger, IOTA, IBM and dozens of other big companies as part of the 30-strong group.

MOBI was established to create common standards to enable data sharing and making transportation safer, affordable and accessible with the help of blockchain technology.

Chris Ballinger, CEO of MOBI said, “Blockchain and related trust enhancing technologies are poised to redefine the automotive industry and how consumers purchase, insure and use vehicles… by bringing together automakers, startups, and government agencies, we can accelerate adoption for the benefit of businesses, consumers and communities.”

Regulators seek legal pathway for ICOs: Regulators at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are looking for a solution to facilitate the launching of ICOs in the country within current securities law in the country.

According to Robert Jackson, commissioner at the SEC, SEC still has several concerns when it comes to ICO fraud but he also suggested a legal method for raising cryptocurrency funds could be a viable alternative.

He said, “Investors are having a hard time telling the difference between investments and fraud. Down the road, I think we will be thinking about ways to make those investments work consistent with our securities laws.”

His is among other positive voices in the SEC coming out for the last few weeks.

Crypto under microscope in SEC hearing: Various issues were discussed during the latest SEC meeting on 26 April including an approach towards token sales and classifications. SEC has previously argued that coins sold in token sales can only be termed as securities and thus cannot be self-regulated according to current law.

Other issues in the hearing included the designation of Ethereum token Ether as a security considering its decentralization. While there is no consensus on the decision, there are several positive voices in the commission wishing for a better outcome for the cryptocurrency circles.

Republican Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer went as far as to say: “People tend to fear what they don’t know. If people sailing the oceans at the time of Columbus had believed the world is flat, we wouldn’t have had the great discoveries of the New World.”

Bitcoin like a regular currency – St Louis Federal Reserve: The Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis has in an official piece declared that the Bitcoin is valid as a currency.

The post on its official website, titled ‘Three Ways Bitcoin is Like a Regular Currency’ reads:

“Bitcoin units have no intrinsic value but also currencies such as the US dollar, the euro, and the Swiss franc… have no intrinsic value either.”

This is a bold statement from this part of the Federal Reserve and may go against the policies of the bank itself.

Blockchain way forward to cashless economy – Ex-Fed VP: Ex-Fed vice president Rod Garrott has said that blockchain is the way forward to introducing a cashless economy in the country. He made these comments at a recent MIT Business conference in April in Boston along with other claims that banks will soon start adopting Blockchain.

While a cashless society could be a far cry right now, it is a futuristic concept that fascinates many.

Canada

Canada gets best rank as blockchain nation: Canada’s coin economy is increasing and it is quickly becoming a world leader in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology behind the UK and US. Canada is home of Ethereum, the world’s largest programmable blockchain and second only to Bitcoin in terms of market capitalization for a long time.

Emin Gun Sirer, Cornell professor of computer science said, “The Ethereum nodes are both in the latency space, and also geographically, more distributed around the world, as opposed to Bitcoin nodes, which tend to be located in data centers.”

Vitalik Buterin, Toronto-based Ethereum founder is leading the nation’s development in cryptocurrencies and fintech. More than 70 projects have been invested in by the Blockchain Research Institute (BRI) in Toronto alone.

Quebec hydropower company suspends requests for power: After investing considerable sums in cryptocurrency mining operations, miners in Quebec, French Canada have taken a major hit as the state’s power company Hydro-Quebec has announced that it is putting all mining operations’ requirement of electricity on hold.

What happened was that all requests from miners for additional power were deemed excessive, taking up a quarter of all the state’s total power generation capacity.

Hydro-Québec spokesperson Jonathan Côté said, “At the moment, the volume of requests that we have received from the cryptomining scene is very large. We’re talking about more than 10,000 megawatts.”

It remains to be seen how much of this can be met by the Canadian power company.

 

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