The Americas

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

GovernmentThe American government has banned US citizens from trading in new Venezuelan cryptocurrency called Petro. Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro announced this new initiative to help fight back against rapid devaluation of its national currency but few in the cryptocurrency circles view Petro as a solid cryptocurrency because not much is known about it. Cryptocurrencies are generally open source with their records protected from manipulation, but and such does not seem to be the case with Petro.

The move comes after Russia was found directly complicit in creating the Venezuelan cryptocurrency even after US sanctions against it. There are reports that tie Russia as a permanent stakeholder in the Petro initiative.

SurveyA new survey by Finder, a personal finance comparisons portal, found out that more than 8% of Americans now own cryptocurrencies. This is a healthy demographic of tens of millions of citizens. The survey also predicts a rising trend in Americans when it comes to buying cryptocurrencies, mostly for trading purposes. Of the remaining 92%, 7.76% wanted to buy it in the near future. Only 35% of the public believe that cryptocurrencies are too risky while the number of people believing it is a scam is only 18%.

Legal Status, Wyoming – A positive development for cryptocurrencies saw the state of Wyoming declare cryptocurrencies as a new asset class entirely. The current tussle between Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and CFTC regarding who will regulate the cryptocurrencies was apparently put to bed, at least in the state of Wyoming. According to the latest utility token bill, a particular set of cryptocurrencies will not come under money transmission laws. But, in order to meet the requirements of the bill, the token cannot be “used as investment” but only as a “means of exchange”. This the latest move by state governments in passing laws to facilitate cryptocurrencies and digital assets.

Legal Status – The US Treasury is also working on putting cryptocurrency public addresses on its sanctions list, provided they belong to someone who has been blocked in the fiat world already. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued the list “to alert the public of specific digital currency identifiers associated with a blocked person”. The list is not likely to be exhaustive as well, according to latest reports but it is a cause for concern. OFAC further states: “Parties who identify digital currency identifiers or wallets that they believe are owned by, or otherwise associated with, an [specially designated nationals] and hold such property should take the necessary steps to block the relevant digital currency and file a report with OFAC that includes information about the wallet’s or address’s ownership, and any other relevant details.”.

Mexico

Moving South to Mexico, a company growing Habanero chilis, a favorite produce, has launched its own initial coin offering (ICO) of sorts, seeking investment from the public. The token is backed by a square meter of hydroponic production in the Quintana Roo state. The profits of “Agrocoin” will be shared with the participants of the coin offering. The minimum investment cap is kept very low to facilitate the public.

The Caribbean

Bitcoin gambling centers are becoming a big thing in the Caribbean. Many online casinos are banking on the security and application of Bitcoin to help their online businesses grow. According to a recent article on CryptoCoin Growth, digital currency could make things better in the Caribbean.

Canada

Canadian policies are extremely encouraging when it comes to the pursuit of cryptocurrency revolution. Bank of Canada deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins was of the opinion that global alignment is needed to introduce uniform cryptocurrency policies around the world.

In a recent move, Toronto-based cryptocurrency mining firm 8 Mining Corp. has struck a deal with the city of Medicine Hat to set up a cryptocurrency mining facility there. As part of the agreement, $100 million will be invested in the city and over 42 megawatts of electricity will be used. It will triple the mining company’s power to 60.7 Megawatts.

Canada is also now home to the world’s first stock exchange cryptocurrency desk. It is being operated by the TMX group that also manages the Toronto Stock Exchange.

“With this partnership, we have built the first major bridge between the crypto world and the traditional financial markets. This is just a taste of more things to come…,” said OECD Think Tank special advisor, Joseph Weinberg.

 

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