North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 29 December 2018 – 4 January 2019

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 29 December 2018 - 4 January 2019

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Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here, we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country.

The United States

Bitcoin Not Affected by US Government Shutdown: Analysis of recent price flow of Bitcoin has revealed that the biggest cryptocurrency is slightly affected by the U.S. government partial shutdown. The row over President Trump’s Mexico wall has affected the U.S. stock market, but Bitcoin during that time has actually risen in value.

Institutional digital asset platform Bakkt has announced it has successfully completed its first seed round funding. The total investment is said to be around USD 182 million by 14 investors. The investment of Bakkt brings a lot of positivity towards cryptocurrencies, with the digital assets class finally gaining the attention of mainstream institutional investors.

New York

State Government Forms Task Force for Cryptocurrencies: The State of New York has announced that it is forming a task force to examine and see what kind of regulations are required for cryptocurrencies. Bank’s committee sect of the New York state legislature has already voted for the task force formation in May last year. The main target is to see how cryptocurrencies are affecting the state’s financial markets and what needs to be done to ensure that cryptocurrencies can co-exist with the current system.

The DarkOverlord, a hacker group that claimed it had accessed financial records of insurance companies involved in the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attack in New York, has released the first batch of the records. What impact the financial records of insurance claims and payouts will have is anyone’s guess. The hacker group has demanded Bitcoin in ransom or they will continue to publish information.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Published Piece on Blockchain Technology: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has published an article in which it claims that decentralized technology like blockchain will “start to become mundane” in 2019, but also “more useful.” The report cites a number of indicators, such as Wall Street holding its first blockchain summit, the rise of a central bank backed national cryptocurrencies and the performance of the market. The report says that the hype is fading, leaving only the serious actors in the arena.


Overstock Wants to Pay Tax in Bitcoin: The online U.S. retailer Overstock has become the first local retailer to be paying a part of its Commercial Activities Tax to the State of Ohio in Bitcoin. The government of Ohio had initially approved the option of firms and organizations to pay their taxes in cryptocurrencies. The state has even set up a dedicated portal for the purpose.


State Senator Sent to Jail for Falsifying Mining Equipment Fraud: Michail Williams, the State Senator from Georgia has been jailed for falsifying a crypto mining equipment theft. The Senator has reported the theft of the mining equipment from his office, claiming that the hardware was worth around USD 300,000. Investigators, however, failed to find any evidence of the machinery and he was indicted over the false report filing. Williams is a relatively little known in the Senate, although he had backed crypto related bills in the past. He is the first serving Senator to be sent to jail over cryptocurrency related matter.


Department of Banking Looking to Declare Stablecoins as Proper Currency: Texas Department of Banking is considering declaring stable coins as proper money. According to the state legislature, the Money Services Act, the state of Texas does not accept cryptocurrencies as any legal form of money. The Supervisory Memorandum 1037 says, “A licensing analysis will turn on whether the stablecoin provides the holder with a redemption right for sovereign currency thus creating a claim that can be converted into money or monetary value. This is true regardless whether the redemption right is expressly granted or implied by the issuer.


UNICEF Holds Events for Promoting Blockchain Technology: UNICEF announced that it has held events in Mexico and Kazakhstan to encourage children and teenagers to go into the new sector. 

In Mexico, the focus of the event was on identity and payments part of the crypto world. There’s high optimism that these efforts will attract more people into the sector.

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