by Florin Oprea
Arjun Kharpal – CNBC
Saheli Roy Choudhury – CNBC
South Korea’s finance minister said that relevant officials need to hold more consultations over the justice ministry’s plan to ban cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.
“All government ministries agree on the need for a government response to an overheating in cryptocurrency speculation and for a degree of regulation,” Minister Kim Dong-yeon said.
FAO: There is a big difference between a “ban” and a “degree of regulation”. Don’t you think? We agree, a certain “degree of regulation” is absolutely needed.
Lionel Laurent – Bloomberg (subscription)
Trying to bring the hammer down on bitcoin is like playing Whack-A-Mole. It tends to just pop up somewhere else. Still, regulatory action, while not fatal, does make life a little less easy for the crypto-faithful.
FAO: Apropos of my comments yesterday regarding the Chinese “refugee-traders” showing up in Japan. Look like South Korea is not quite ready to lose all that business, and potential tax revenues.
Berkeley Lovelace Jr.- CNBC
A former financial regulator said that he wished he had invested in bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies back when he was telling everyone to be careful. Bart Chilton, a former commissioner of the CFTC, says he’s been calling for cryptocurrency regulation since 2012.
“I wish I had been investing when I told everybody to be careful,” said Chilton, who says he now owns bitcoin and ethereum. “I had a lot of my friends that said, ‘You told me not to invest.’ They would have been millionaires.”
DNT: This is really precious…
FAO: Listen to Bart very very carefully. “We’re getting there”…
Annie Nova – CNBC
Some investors are taking dangerous risks to get into cryptocurrencies. Roughly 18% of people who buy bitcoin use a credit card to do so, according to a new survey by loan marketplace LendEDU. Of those, 20% have not paid off their balance. The phrase “buy bitcoin with credit” has been trending on Google for weeks.
DNT: I said it, Florin also said it: not a wise thing to do!
FAO: As Bart Chilton nicely put it in the previous CNBC piece “There is a lot of craziness out there…”
Stan Higgins – CoinDesk
KFC Canada is accepting bitcoin – for a limited time and for a cryptocurrency-themed bucket of chicken, that is. The limited-time marketing move sees the Canada-based chain advertising “The Bitcoin Bucket” complete with a Facebook-based live-tracker of the standing price for the product, which works out to roughly 20 Canadian dollars depending on the exchange rate with bitcoin.
DNT: Thumbs up for KFC Canada!
FAO: Another way to profit from all this crypto hype.
SETL, a blockchain-based settlement system for the investment funds industry, has gone live with its pan-European funds record keeping platform IZNES having successfully processed its first transactions.
Matthew Leising, Jennifer Surane – Bloomberg (subscription)
Paul Vigna & Peter Rudegeair – The Wall Street Journal (subscription)
MoneyGram signed on to run a pilot program testing XRP, a digital currency created by San Francisco startup Ripple, in its payments network. The Dallas-based company agreed to test XRP as a tool for reducing money-transfer costs and settlement times. A MoneyGram spokeswoman said the open-ended pilot wouldn’t involve customers’ money since it is limited to internal processes.
FAO: Just in case you didn’t know why XRP price surged yesterday. Oh, MoneyGram stock on the Nasdaq too…
Frank Chaparro – Business Insider
December was a huge month for cryptocurrency trading. Bitcoin hit its all-time high above $19,000 a coin, and daily volumes for crypto trading soared over $50 billion for the first time. It was also a golden age for arbitrage trading.
FAO: Finally some more action for a good old manual arbitrage…
Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi – Reuters
Chinese bitcoin mining giant Bitmain Technologies is expanding to Switzerland in a move that will be key to widening its reach.
Allison Lampert, Alexandra Harney & Brenda Goh – Reuters
China’s Bitmain Technologies is eyeing bitcoin mining sites in Quebec, a company spokesman told Reuters, as expectations of a potential Chinese crackdown on cryptocurrency mining make the energy-rich Canadian province an attractive alternative.
FAO: Chinese miners are already one the move, as it seems…
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera – CNBC
A small town three hours east of Seattle is turning into the epicenter of bitcoin mining in the United States. Wenatchee, Washington is home to a dozen of the largest bitcoin and cryptocurrency miners in the country. And the head of the local power utility, Steve Wright, says another 75 have inquired about coming here since the price of bitcoin surged in December.
FAO: Mayor of Wenatchee (population 33k) must be rubbing his hands…
Sasha Lekach – Mashable
Back in 2014, a consensual sex app came out hoping to encourage better and clearer communication between potential partners. That app is long gone — shocker. In its place comes a similar concept from a Dutch digital contract company. The all-men co-founders present LegalFlings, a yet-to-be released app that uses blockchain technology to decentralize your private information about whether you’d like to have sex with someone or not.
FAO: No comment…
Rachel Rose O’Leary – CoinDesk
The highly anticipated white paper for privacy technology zk-starks has been released.
Touted as a more secure version of zk-snarks, the privacy technology used by zcash, zk-starks remove the need for a “trusted setup.” The publication of the zk-starks white paper will likely cause a stir in the development community.
Nikhilesh De – CoinDesk
A lawmaker in Florida has introduced a bill that, if passed, would create a legal foundation for blockchain data and smart contracts in the U.S. state. House Bill 1357 introduces multiple stipulations that blockchain ledgers and smart contracts be treated as legally-binding methods of data storage – provided that such measures do not break any pre-existing laws or regulations.
FAO: This adds nicely to some 3 other blockchain bills in Nebraska, filed earlier this week...
Evgeny Biyatov – Sputnik
Sberbank, the biggest lender in Russia, has announced the launch of a lab that will work on blockchain projects.
Richard Gordon – Seeking Alpha
DNT: A story that tries to underline the history between Ripple/XRP and determine how the likely outcome of the case will affect them.
Ali Breland – The Hill
The popularity of cryptocurrencies in Iran appears to be on the rise amid mounting economic anxiety in the country. Experts say Iranians are increasingly turning to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin to circumvent sanctions leveled against their country by the U.S. and other world powers.
DNT: In the 60s and 70s, Iran used to be a cool place; then, the ‘78-’79, revolution changed drastically the background…Maybe the rise of cryptos is a sign of change…
Reuters Staff – Reuters
Several Chinese companies, including Easysight Supply Chain and Shenzhen Kingdom Sci-Tech, said their investments in blockchain technology were still at an early stage, following steep gains in their share prices.
Lucas Mearian – Computerworld
While the hype around bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has sent their prices skyrocketing, some governments and companies are restricting activity to head off potential money laundering and protect consumers from a credit meltdown.
Izabella Kaminska – Financial Times (subscription)
JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon back-pedaled on his September claim that bitcoin is a fraud “worse than tulip bulbs”. He said “he regretted” making the remarks because they dismissed the technology in broad terms, adding “the blockchain is real. You can have crypto yen and dollars and stuff like that.” What is worth noting is Dimon’s especially apologetic stance towards “blockchain”, the technology that underpins cryptocurrency and which financial institutions are heavily investing in in a bid to revolutionise settlements.
Mike Orcutt – MIT Technology Review
Not all cryptocurrencies are created equal. Don’t tell that to investors in XRP, though. In the last month the currency owned by Ripple, a company that bills itself as using blockchain technology to build the payment system of the future, soared in price by a whopping 700%.
FAO & DNT: Enjoy your weekend!
FAO: Florin Adrian Oprea, Editor-in-chief Blockchain Daily News
DNT: Decebal Nicolaie Todarita, Editor Blockchain Daily News