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

Morpheus Titania Bitcoin dealer case shows lengths of US law enforcement: Arizona Bitcoin dealer Mario Costanzo working under an alias Morpheus Titania has been sentenced to 41 months in prison for five counts of money laundering and drug trafficking showing the reach of the US law enforcement when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

The case is in stark contrast to the belief that law enforcement has limited means to tackle cryptocurrency related crimes and endeavors. Costanzo’s problems with the law started back in 2015 with a felony conviction for Marijuana possession, a substance illegal in the state. His home was also raided back in April 2017 but no incriminating evidence was found except for three boxes of bullets. An eventual undercover operation led to his damnation and arrest.

Walton College in Arkansas announces blockchain courses: The University of Arkansas is the latest educational institute in USA to offer blockchain educational courses at its Sam M Walton College of Business.

The university is aiming to study the rapidly penetrating technology and is aiming to prepare its students for a decentralized future. Walton College Dean Matt Waller said:

“We will develop and establish research partnerships by conducting collaborative industry-university research, we will promote and enable dissemination of knowledge about blockchains, and we will accelerate industry adoption of blockchain technology.”

The university joins the likes of Stanford, NY University, Berkeley, and other educational centers across USA in provision of blockchain technology education.

Wall Street research organization Fundstrat to accept Bitcoin: Interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies is increasing in Wall Street as a leading independent research organization FundStrat announced that it is going to accept Bitcoin from global clients.

The recent trends from Wall Street show that is that it is very receptive to cryptocurrencies but still figuring out how best to adopt it. Banks like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and others are still considering cryptocurrencies.

Wells Fargo poll shows skepticism still retained by US investors for crypto: Financial services giant Wells Fargo has conducted its own poll that shows that a 72% majority still has a skeptical opinion regarding Bitcoin and don’t wish to buy it. About 75%, on the other hand, believe that cryptocurrencies are very risky.

The poll consisted of 1,912 adults in the US who had more USD 10,000 or more invested in stocks, bonds or mutual funds. Some 26% of the respondents were intrigued by cryptocurrencies but won’t be buying soon and only 2% owned Bitcoin themselves and 0.5% hoped to buy some in the near future.

Morgan Creek Capital CEO says Bitcoin will reach $25,000 by the end of 2018: Morgan Creek Capital CEO Mark W Yusko has said that Bitcoin will probably reach USD 25,000 by the year’s end and as much as USD 500,000 by 2024 and USD 1 million eventually.

While insane price forecasts by people are not based on any data, it reminds people that great future lies ahead for cryptocurrencies according to many top investors in the world.

Trade war could be real reason behind Bitcoin rally: According to CEO of ADVEN Clem Chambers, the devaluation of the Chinese yen and the trade war between the US and China is the reason behind the latest price rally of Bitcoin.

Chambers also compared Bitcoin to gold that people hoard when fiat currencies are down. He also said that Bitcoin is like gold but a lot better in many ways because of its instant transfer capability.

SEC Commissioner says ETF rejection hurts investors, stifles innovation: A Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) commissioner Hester Pierce who voted in favor of ETFs has come out and said that the restrictions on ETFs will hurt innovation and investors in the space.

The ETF case was heard by the SEC that eventually rejected the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust Fund’s ETF in a 92-page document. Pierce who supported the ETFs said:

“The Commission’s action today deprives investors of this choice. I reject the role of gatekeeper of innovation—a role very different from (and, indeed, inconsistent with) our mission of protecting investors, fostering capital formation, and facilitating fair, orderly, and efficient markets. Accordingly, I dissent.”

The divide in SEC is evident but anti-Bitcoin forces seem to be dominant right now.

Mexico

Government to conduct first procurement procedure on blockchain: The Mexican government has announced that a project first started in a Mexican hackathon has now been implemented via a blockchain network.

The move will be a first in the country and will hope to bring transparency in the public sector.

Canada

Bank of Canada restarts debate on implementation of central bank crypto: A new paper published by the Bank of Canada bring forth a positive argument for the implementation of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

The author Mohammad R Davoodalhosseini believes that introduction of a CBDC “can lead to an increase of up to 0.64% in consumption for Canada and up to 1.6% for the US, compared with their respective economies if only cash is used”.

 

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