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

New York cryptocurrency probe continues: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s resignation might have brought a slight relief for cryptocurrency exchanges but the department says that the probe will continue in the near future. Schneiderman resigned within three hours after reports emerged of physical abuse to four women but this won’t stop any investigation into the operations of cryptocurrency exchanges, 13 of whom are under investigation.

The Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative was launched by Schneiderman on 17 April, just a few weeks before his time abruptly came to an end. The office had sent letters to 13 exchanges including (1) Coinbase, Inc. (GDAX); (2) Gemini Trust Company; (3) bitFlyer USA, Inc.; (4) iFinex Inc. (Bitfinex); (5) Bitstamp USA Inc.; (6) Payward, Inc. (Kraken); (7) Bittrex, Inc.; (8) Circle Internet Financial Limited (Poloniex LLC); (9) Binance Limited; (10) Elite Way Developments LLP (Tidex.com); (11) Gate Technology Incorporated (Gate.io); (12) itBit Trust Company; and (13) Huobi Global Limited (Huobi.Pro).

The New York BitLicense is widely seen as one of the harshest cryptocurrency laws in existence that outlaws all Bitcoin dealers and exchanges and requires extensive legal costs to acquire. Only four companies have been granted permission under the law and the rest of these exchanges face continuing troubles.

Texas securities board issues cease-and-desist letters to crypto exchanges: The Texas Securities Board (TSSB) has served two cease-and-desist letters to cryptocurrency exchanges because it believes they are scams. The Exchanges BTCRUSH and Forex EA & Bitcoin Investment LLC have been involved in promising returns of up to 4.1% daily and 1000% per 21 days profit and that caught the attention of the TSSB as a possible scam.

While the companies disguise themselves as mining companies, they are far from such because mining profits aren’t this much at all which reinforces the belief by the state board that these are not real mining companies.

Violating this order can result in USD 5,000 fine and two years in state prison. The exchanges have the option to request a hearing within 31 days.

Wisconsin seeks approval for Bitcoin campaign donations: The Wisconsin state Ethics Commission has asked the state legislators to decide on whether campaign contributions made in cryptocurrency can be allowed by the state or not, according to a report by Washington Times.

The Senate and assembly action committees have asked to provide clarity regarding the new currencies and whether candidates may be able to accept cryptocurrencies or not. US states are still mostly seen as skeptical towards cryptocurrency donations to campaigns. Wisconsin Libertarian party Chairman Phil Anderson has asked to allow cryptocurrencies due to their popularity and conversion to fiat at the time of receipt is also being discussed.

Kentucky Derby opens for crypto for the first time: The famous Kentucky horse race event will accept cryptocurrency wagers according to wide reports from the media. The horse race takes place in Louisville, Kentucky every year and is part of a two-week festival in the small state which is world famous for its gambling and other activities like the Grand National in the UK and Melbourne Cup in Australia.

Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin are being cited as top cryptocurrencies being fared in wagers this year as punters rush to get a bet on their favorite horse rider. 

US Racing’s operations director Tim Maxwell said: “…both the legality and associated risk management of accepting cryptocurrency needs further clarification before we see widespread adoption in the gaming and racing industry as a whole.”

Oracle to roll out blockchain products: California-based ERP giant Oracle has announced that it is ready to roll out blockchain-based platform-as-a-service products for clients around the world according to a news piece from Bloomberg.

The company had over USD 37.3 billion in sales last year and this could be a big news for blockchain-based businesses as enhanced security and functionality would mean more investment in the sector especially in the Oracle’s space.

Millennials prefer Bitcoin over other investments and trading options: A recent survey has discovered that millennials in the US are starting to prefer investment in Bitcoin over other traditional ventures including stocks. More than 27% will prefer investing USD 1,000 in Bitcoin rather than in stocks, according to the survey.

Millennials who came of age around the 2008 financial crisis had a hard time and they blame the big banks and corporations for the whole mess so it is no surprise that they see Bitcoin’s transparency and profit-making capability as a viable alternative.

Canada

Blockchain startup flees from US to Canada: CBlocks, a Miami-based cryptocurrency company has announced that it is moving to Canada due to regulatory troubles and uncertainty in the United States. The firm had been trying to clear legal hurdles in the US for a while but has eventually decided to move to its northern neighbour, signalling a potential exodus from the US.

Austen Bunsen, one of the co-founders of the company said: “They can’t agree as to whether we’re a money services business or not.”

Getting a precise answer to this question is tricky as the Securities and Exchange Commission of the US has been reluctant to classify blockchain businesses as either.

Canadian bank says crypto is the future: Canadian bank ATB Alphabeta has voiced its support for cryptocurrencies and blockchain by saying they are the future. Many such businesses have to continue to rely on banks due to a variety of reasons and in countries like India, banks have refused to entertain them. This is one of the rare instances where a bank has actually credited cryptocurrencies as  the future in the fintech space.

While the bank has acknowledged that Bitcoin is currently taboo in banking circles due to its unorthodox approach, anonymity and other features, ATB is ready to become progressive and become Canada’s leader in the business.

 

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