Last Week In Crypto
"May god have mercy on the souls of those who invest in them [initial coin offerings]."
- Preston Byrne, COO at Monax (open platform for blockchain-based applications).
Santander To Issue Digital Cash
Spanish banking giant Banco Santander is working on a project that will issue digital cash on the public ethereum blockchain. According to plans confirmed by the bank, it is working on a system that will allow customers to convert cash into digital tokens called ‘Cash ETH’ that will be backed by that fiat money in Santander. Potential use cases for Cash ETH involve micro-payments on the internet such as paying for a single news article on a newspaper’s website. To help with the project, the bank has roped in ether.camp, a developer's initiative focusing on the ethereum blockchain.
Litecoin Attracts Developers with SegWit
After successfully implementing Segregated Witness (SegWit), Litecoin is starting to become a hotspot for more initiatives by developers. Projects that built on top of SegWit were initially focused towards bitcoin. However, since SegWit is unlikely to be adopted by bitcoin anytime soon, the projects are turning their attention towards litecoin. A lightening network project released a version of software compatible with litecoin. MAST, a project seeking to implement smart contracts on bitcoin, now plans to go ahead with a litecoin implementation. However, all projects announcing a pivot towards litecoin have been experimental, early-stage initiatives only. More interestingly, Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Fund, a cryptocurrency hedge fund wrote in a note to investors that SegWit adoption on bitcoin could even double the current price without any obstacles.
The most exciting regulation news this week came from Australia as the country decided to recognize bitcoin as money. The country removed all taxes levied on buying and selling bitcoin and appeared to support a new vision that promotes growth in the fin-tech innovation space. Over the ocean in the United States, Delaware is considering a bill to legally recognize corporate records maintained on a blockchain. Vermont is following the lead of Hawaii and Maine in pushing for a comprehensive study on blockchain. A new bill in the Vermont state government seeks to direct state agencies to research the space and suggest concrete proposals for regulatory change. Vermont also passed a law updating the state’s money transmission laws to account for cryptocurrencies.
Venture Capital Money Keeps Flowing
Bitcoin miner Canaan has raised $43 million by diluting a 10% stake in the company. Canaan, most famous for developing the Avalon bitcoin mining chip series, intends to use the money to fund research on computing chips that can be used in artificial intelligence projects and developing new mining chips optimized for other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin lending platform, BitBond has raised $5 million from Obotritia Capital through a mix of selling equity and raising debt. The company plans to use the money to fund loans on its own platform and expand the network by reaching out to more small businesses.
- Medici, the blockchain-focused arm of online retailer, Overstock.com has reported a pre-tax loss of $8 million for Q1 2017. A majority of the loss comes from a $4.5 million impairment charge taken on its investment in blockchain startup Peernova.
- Pieter Wuille, one of bitcoin’s more prolific developers is working on a new project titled Bech32 that aims to steer bitcoin address formats towards a more user-friendly directions. Bech32 focuses on the human readability element so that users don’t make typos while typing or writing addresses. For example, 1DAY59hnbcTp36NbfvJ4pdKDfDTCS6zfpd - is an old format address while bc1qw508d6qejxtdg4y5r3zarvary0c5xw7kv8f3t4 - is a new format address.
Bitcoin - ↑ 13%
- Week Open: $1,555
- Week End: $1,759
Ethereum - ↓ 3%
- Week Open: $94
- Week End: $91
The island of Mauritius has issued an open call for all innovators struggling from regulatory hurdles. The country has developed a Regulatory Sandbox Licence (RSL) that allows companies to start operations without any licensing or regulation. RSL is intended to cover all sectors of business that currently have no legal framework for their operations.
Intel is demoing a new digital asset exchange / marketplace. Users can add their own assets on this platform that can then be listed for sale or exchanged with other assets.
Worth Reading - A piece published by Forbes that compares the adoption of blockchain technology to the evolution of computer games.