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Digital Currency and Blockchain Weekly Round-up – February 9th, 2018

Testimony of US SEC and CFTC chairs released ahead of Senate’s hearing on cryptocurrencies

The chairs of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) – Jay Clayton and J. Christopher Giancarlo, respectively, have prepared their testimonies for the Senate Banking Committee hearing on virtual currencies scheduled to hold today.

New bill calls for study of state-issued cryptocurrency in New York

A New York lawmaker has proposed a new bill that calls for the creation of a task force to “study the impact of a state-issued cryptocurrency on the state of New York.” Lawmaker Clyde Vanel submitted the bill on February 02.

Cryptocurrencies and ICOs on SEC’s 2018 Examination Priorities

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that the examination priorities for its Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) for 2018 will particularly focus on cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs), among other things.

Hong Kong’s SFC directs crypto exchanges to delist securities tokens

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has directed seven domestic cryptocurrency exchanges not to trade cryptocurrencies or tokens that fall under the definition of “securities". The regulator last year issued a statement on initial coin offerings (ICOs). Since then, it said that it has taken regulatory action against a number of cryptocurrency exchanges and issuers of ICOs.

No strong case to ban cryptocurrency trading as of now: Singapore Deputy Prime Minister

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) does not see a strong case to ban cryptocurrency trading at the moment, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of MAS, said recently. Shanmugaratnam clarified the MAS’ stance in response to the parliamentary questions on banning the trading of cryptocurrency in the country.

Bitcoin has become a combination of bubble, Ponzi scheme and environmental disaster: BIS chief

If central banks and financial authorities do not act pre-emptively, cryptocurrencies could become a threat to financial stability, Bank for International Settlements (BIS) General Manager Agustín Carstens said. Speaking at the House of Finance, Goethe University, Carstens urged authorities to be prepare themselves to act against the expanding reach of cryptocurrencies in order to protect consumers and investors.

Digital currencies moved up on the agenda: ECB’s Yves Mersch

The European Central Bank is concerned about the social and psychological effects that digital currencies seem to have, an ECB executive board member said recently. In an interview with Bloomberg, Yves Mersch spoke at length on digital currencies, the role of central banks, digital euro, and much more.

ECB working to identify digital currency risks for financial institutions: Draghi

European banks are showing limited appetite for digital currencies such as bitcoin, the European Central Bank President said recently. “Right now, digital currencies are not subject to a specific supervisory approach,” Draghi said. “Work is under way in the Single Supervisory Mechanism to identify potential prudential risks that these digital assets could pose to supervised institutions.

NYDFS publishes new guidance to prevent cryptocurrency fraud and market manipulation

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has issued a guidance to all virtual currency entities in the state to remind that they are required to implement measures designed to effectively detect, prevent, and respond to fraud, attempted fraud, and similar wrongdoing.

Research Studies:

Illinois Blockchain Task Force releases first official report

Investments/Acquisitions/ Fund-raising:

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinsquare attracts $30M in new funding

Blockchain payments startup BitPesa acquires TransferZero

Lino secures $20M to build blockchain-powered video distribution network

Encyclopedia on blockchain ‘Everipedia’ raises $30M in new funding

Partnerships/Consortiums:

Chinese payment provider LianLian International partners with blockchain startup Ripple

Blockchain in Transport Alliance welcomes Velocity Transport

Logistics provider Agility teams up with Maersk, IBM on blockchain solution

Wall Street Blockchain Alliance partners with BiTA

BNSF becomes first Class-I railroad to join Blockchain in Transport Alliance

Digital Currency and Blockchain Initiatives:

Grayscale Investments launches new fund for top digital assets

UAE’s financial institutions and ADGM team up to explore blockchain potential for e-KYC

Russian oil giant Gazprom Neft trials blockchain technology in cargo shipment

Spanish firms complete first real energy trade transaction on blockchain

Japan Net Bank trials blockchain technology with mijin and Hyperledger

Canadian securities regulator approves first blockchain ETF

Two Litecoinpayment processors underway

Singapore Airlines to debut blockchain-based airline loyalty digital wallet

Banco Santander to launch DLT-based payments in Q1 2018

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