OKEx To Form A ‘Self Regulatory Organization’ To Standardized Exchange Compliance Polices

Malta based crypto exchange OKEx is looking to make crypto exchanges self-regulated for a while.

The organization will be similar to FINRA in the United States, FINMA in Switzerland, The World Federation of Stock Exchanges, and the World Economic Forum, OKEx is engaging exchanges and market participants in the global crypto trading community to become members of this initiative.

Andy Cheung, the Head of Operations for OKEx says:

“Cryptocurrencies are global and decentralized, and the industry remains nascent, thus regulations by jurisdiction are not enough. […] The only way for exchanges to grow and deliver impact is by joining together to develop practices and policies that will set a global standard and adapt to regional regulatory frameworks.”

Headquartered in Malta, OKEx is a top-tier digital asset exchange offering more than 400 token and futures trading pairs to millions of customers in 150+ countries. OKEx offers the most diverse trading products in the market, ranging from spot trading, fiat-to-token trading, margin trading, and crypto derivatives. The company also helps traders, miners, and institutional investors optimize their investment strategies.

Talking about the compliance in the industry, he says:

“You’re gonna have the competitive matrix — it’s gonna be there all the time — you’ll compete on price, you’ll compete on speed, you’ll compete on listings, but you have to have a sandbox where everybody can play. And fortunately we have a sandbox already set up. What’s unfortunate is that we are trying to go regulator-to-regulator, instead of saying let’s just set some high level rules that fit into all these regulations at some level.”

Member exchanges will work together to define and adopt standards that will promote digital asset adoption globally, educate governments and regulators, and develop metrics and criteria for trading, listings, and reporting.

OKEx was recently involved in a tangle with Blockchain Transparency Institute (BTI) on issues related to wash trading and reporting fake trading volumes.

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Torrent Platform The Pirate Bay Accumulates Over $1 Million Bitcoin from Donations: TrustNodes

Pirate Bay, one of the main torrenting portals has received more $1 million worth of Bitcoin from donations dating back to May 2013 when they started accepting cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin Donations

Reports from TrustNodes claim that the website has accumulated more than $1.3 million in BTC. This has been acquired from donations since 2013. It includes 13.37 BTC donations from a single BTC holder. This is an equivalent of over $110,000 in today’s market price.

At the time when 1 Bitcoin was around $50, donations of 0.1 and 0.5 were quite many. Up to around 2016, it seems like the site had received almost 77 bitcoins. It is believed that they have received donations of about 134 BTC in total and maybe a few bitcents.

TrustNodes believes that the website has a two-step mixing process. Funds received are sent to a different address other than the receiving address, they are then sent back to the receiving address by pirate bay. Now they are all together sent to a new different address.

In this process, full bitcoins or bitcents are scattered, and it becomes a problem determining where these funds are going. For a mere website that is populated, the $1.3 million funds seem substantial. That is an income of $200,000 per year or $20,000 per month for ten people getting a base income.

It is, however, unclear whether there is only one person involved and it is also not clear if they have stored these bitcoins up to date. TrustNodes suspects that they still have the bitcoins with them, at least the majority of it, if not all. It is because they remained partisan in the crypto-politics in December 2017 when bitcoin and bitcoin cash were at their peak prices.

Pirate bay has had problems with authorities since its launching in 2003 having to shut down several times. They always look to try and stay a step ahead of authorities to avoid the iterations.

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Bitmain to Debut World Digital Mining Map (WDMM) Platform for Connecting Farms and Miners

Gigantic Chinese-based crypto mining hardware Bitmain has announced that it will roll on a platform that will link crypto miners and farm owners next year. According to the announcement, this will be the first such platform in the globe that aims to link farms and  miners.

The platform will be known as World Digital Mining Map (WDMM) is set to be rolled on at the World Digital Mining Summit (WDMS) that will be held in Frankfurt from Oct.8 to Oct. 10, the company said in a blog post.

As per the blog post, the WDMM the platform will be a worldwide network that will link owners of mining hardware as well as mining farms that will offer their available power resources and accommodate them free of charge. Consequently, members of the network will be allowed to access various individualized services from Bitmain that will comprise of support with the design of the mining farm, linkage to international clients to host, assistance with operations as well as construction.

Cointelegraph states those that wish to be enlisted on the platform, the mining farm owners are required to offer data about their current mining facilities as well as show they have the capacity to accommodate miners. The blog post notes that mining farm owners will have a chance to apply for listing on the platform at the WDMS event.

The director of mining farm at Bitmain, Matthew Wang, said that the WDMM platform is set to enhance crypto mining and make it more sustainable in the long term. Wang explained that the new platform will offer a fresh way for linking mining farms to the hardware owners. Wang explained that Bitmain is set to continue to support miners using their hardware and enhance the overall growth in the industry.

In addition to the launch, Bitmain said it will name the top 10 mining farms in the world at the WDMS event. As per the blog post by the company, the winners will be awarded official certificates as well as VIP tickets for the WDMS event. At the time of publication, voting for the best mining farms is still ongoing.

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Pro-Crypto US Congressman Warren Davidson Proposes US Dollar Tokenization Concept

Renowned crypto advocate US Congressman Warren Davidson who is well known among the crypto worshippers due to his Token Taxonomy Act is now proposing the tokenization of the US dollar.

In a series of tweets, Davidson asked about the impact tokenization of the dollar would have in the world.

Appearing in a recent CNBC’s show “Squawk Box” Morgan Creek Digital’s Anthony Pompliano said that it was time that the US government becomes serious in tokenizing the dollar.

Pompliano also stated that the US federal government should move with hurry to issue its own virtual currency to counter the expected Chinese digital Yuan. he argued that a digital Chinese yuan may be highly adopted if they the country goes ahead and launches the currency. China is expected to roll out its central bank digital currency (CBDC) probably next month.

During the interview, some of the followers wondered why there was a need to have another tokenized dollar yet there other payment solutions like PayPal.

However, Davidson gave out various reasons why digitalization and tokenization are different saying that tokens are meant to be stored on a distributed ledger. In addition, tokens cannot be controlled by the creators or central authority who always have a vested interest. Davidson also explained that tokens can be transferred without intermediaries like banks.

Despite the strong advocacy for tokenization of the dollar, in the recent past, the Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell indicated that the US central bank has no plans in the near future to launch its own cryptocurrency.

In a recent past, Simon Potter a former Fed official explained that he sees no reason that would warrant the replacement of the US digital dollar with a cryptocurrency. He said that there is no need to create anything that is complicated when there large liquid capital markets in the country.

U.Today reports that in June, former FDIC chairperson Sheila Bair had suggested that the time was ripe for the Fed to develop its own digital currency in order to eradicate various frictions that are present in the payment system.

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ING Chief Economist: Central Bank Cryptocurrency Developments Will Happen in Next 2-3 Years

Mark Cliffe, chief economist of ING bank believe that central banks around the globe would move towards creating their own digital currency. Cliffe was responding to a question on when would a central bank among G20 nations can launch a full-fledged digital currency.

2019 has been the year of crypto adoption despite the ups and downs of the trade market. Private technology giants like Facebook and Telegram have announced the launch of their digital tokens, while many others are pondering over the same. SoFi, a financing firm added crypto to its trading platform, Bakkt launched “physically” settled bitcoin futures contracts.

Many governments around the globe who were either skeptical over regulating cryptocurrencies or were watching from the sidelines have decided to regulate it. China has fast-tracked its stable coin launch after Libra’s announcement, France and Portugal have made crypto transactions tax-free while Russia has proposed to tax crypto under property tax code.

Banks must strategize their digital currency plans in the same timeline as private sectors

ING last week released a report in which it discussed the growing trend of private firms releasing their own stablecoin, especially focusing on the recent announcement of Libra. The report pointed out that central banks around the globe must start thinking more seriously towards adopting the modern fintech trend before the private sector captures the future financial market.

The report also hinted that Libra is putting pressure on these central banks to start mulling about the ongoing trend of crypto. However, the report also downplayed the argument of future being cashless.

Cliffe’s response came during an event organized joint event held by ING and the central bank thinktank, OMFIF. The meeting was to discuss,

“Rapid advances in distributed ledger technology have spurred debate about the possibilities, advantages, and drawbacks of central bank digital currencies. The principal limits and trade-offs seem to stem from CBDC’s economic, monetary and financial contexts, and depend on underlying policy and political preferences concerning privacy, data administration, market power, cybersecurity, and the division of labor between the public and private sector.”

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Telegram Reveals Its Gram Wallet Is Now Accessible App’s Alpha Version On iOS

Giant instant messaging service provider Telegram has stated that its wallet for its native token, Gram (GRM), is now accessible in alpha version on iOS.

The messaging app reported that the Gram wallet is now available on alpha version but will only be accessed on iOS. However, the wallet at the moment only operates only in Telegram Open Network (TON) testnet. At the moment, those willing to use the wallet will only be able to delete the wallet, receive as well as send Grams, and sharing their wallet address.

According to Fyodor Skuratov who works at TON Labs, which is a subsidiary of Telegram’s token providing investors, stated that the wallet is still under development and as such the Telegram’s in-built wallet will consist of just the basic features. In addition, Skuratov explained that users who are willing to access moe advanced functions like buying and exchanging Grams will have to contact third-party developers.

Early this month, Telegram launched TON testnet explorer as well as node software. In April, the firm rollen on its private beta to test the TON blockchain but was only accessible to a handful of world developers. At the time two unnamed testers stated that the blockchain proved to have very high transaction speed.

In the recent past, Cayman’s Island based crypto exchange platform known as Blackmoon said plans are at an advanced stage to list the yet to be released Gram token via a partnership with Swiss-based crypto custodian Gram Vault.

Before Blackmoon came out with the news of listing the token, a crypto exchange known as Liquid which is based in Japan had stated that it would act as a sales representative of Gram tokens for the Asian Market. However, sources close to Telegram dismissed the announcement afterwards.

Cointelegraph reports that Telegram intends to roll on the Gram token next month after the public testing for its underlying blockchain TON is finalized.

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Pompliano Believes Satoshi Should Get The Nobel Peace Prize For The Creation of Bitcoin

Anthony Pompliano, the founder of Morgan Creek Digital, a large digital assets company, has recently affirmed that the creator of Bitcoin, the person who created the alias of Satoshi Nakamoto, should receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution to the world.

According to the executive, Satoshi has created the first global reserve that could be fully used without anyone ever needing to engage in

“violence”.

Pompliano’s idea of violence comes from the view that national fiat currencies only hold value because they are centralized and backed by the coercion of the State. Because of this, a truly international currency that had no central control would be non-violent in his view.

During the current U. S.-China Trade War, his argument can be seen in how countries use their currencies as “weapons” to achieve economic policies and to fight for power. The whole world is shaken because of the tumultuous policies enacted by the two countries.

While China is using its fiat to hurt the U. S. economically, the U. S. is using the dollar to control the finances of the world for decades. Fiat currencies are from being only a store of value, they are a tool for power and for enacting policies. Only Bitcoin, in Pompliano’s vision, would be exempt from that and a more non-violent form of money.

Obviously, it would be hard to give Satoshi the price since he disappeared in 2010 and there is not a single trace of him anymore. People such as Craig Wright and others have been claiming that they are the real Satoshi Nakamoto for years, but no one was able to actually prove it yet until now.

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Report: Telegram to Launch TON Blockchain Public Testing

Telegram Open Network’s (TON) blockchain public testing will launch on Sept. 1, according to one of the investors.

On Aug. 28, Russian news outlet Vedomosti quoted an anonymous TON investor claiming to have learned this information from the development team, and the head of one of the companies that participated in the testing so far.

According to the outlet’s sources, TON’s node software and all relevant documentation would be released to the public on Sept. 1. This first version of the blockchain is already expected to feature sharding and various functional consensus mechanisms, the source added.

A blockchain that was popular from the start

TON project is a decentralized application and messaging platform developed by open source messenger Telegram’s team. The blockchain is planned to be integrated into the messaging app used by over 200 million people.

The firm is planning to launch its native TON token — Gram — by the end of Q3 2019. In July, Cointelegraph reported that South Korean Gram Asia began to sell Grams at $4 per token — triple the initial coin offering price.

As Cointelegraph also reported in May, encrypted instant messaging service Telegram released a test client for TON, according to an email sent to investors.

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Major Computer Chip Maker Faces Infringement Lawsuits From Competitor

TSMC, the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry and chip supplier for Bitmain, is facing multiple lawsuits from its competitor GlobalFoundries (GF).

Alleged patent infringement

GF, the second biggest semiconductor foundry by sales after TSMC, filed several lawsuits in the United States and Germany, accusing Taiwanese TSMC of infringing on 16 GF patents, according to an official GF statement on Aug. 26.

In the lawsuits, the California-based company seeks orders to ban TSMC from importing semiconductors produced with its technology to the United States and Germany, with GF claiming that importation of infringing Taiwanese semiconductors is unlawful.

Additionally, GF is seeking damages from TSMC based on TSMC’s unlawful use of GF’s proprietary technology in its “tens of billions of dollars of sales,” as announced by GF.

Multiple lawsuits were filed on Aug. 26 in the U.S. International Trade Commission, the U.S. Federal District Courts in Delaware and Texas, and the Regional Courts of Dusseldorf and Mannheim in Germany.

TSMC will defend its tech

TSMC published an official statement regarding the issue on Aug. 27, claiming that the company is in the process of reviewing the complaints. However, TSMC stressed that they are confident that GF’s allegations are baseless. TSMC added that the firm is “disappointed to see a foundry peer resort to meritless lawsuits instead of competing in the marketplace with technology.”

Apple, Google and Nvidia also on the list of defendants

According to a report by Chinese finance news outlet Sina, GF’s allegations included infringement of technology that covers 7 nanometer (nm), 10nm, 16nm and 28nm semiconductor processes. Citing a report by China-based tech blog DeepTech Deep Technology, Sina reports that apart from TSMC, Apple and Nvidia, as well as six chip design manufacturers and ten consumer product suppliers such as Google, ASUS and Lenovo have joined the list of defendants.

In July, Bitmain reportedly confirmed its urgent order for wafers from TSMC, claiming that it will receive 30,000 7nm wafers from the company.

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EEA Publishes Blockchain Uses for T-Mobile and Other Major Telecoms

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), an organization that aims to establish standards in the blockchain sector, has published a collection of use cases for blockchain in telecommunications.

Blockchain solutions for telecoms

The EEA shared the announcement with Cointelegraph on Aug. 28. According to the announcement, the new document on blockchain solutions in the telecom industry was created by the EEA Telecom Special Interest Group (SIG).

This document is free and open to the public, and reportedly contains information on how blockchain technology can streamline business transactions and internal operations in telecommunications. Additionally, the document purports to show how so-dubbed standards-based decentralized applications can decrease fraud risk, in addition to more direct monetary benefits.

Use cases and contributors

Additionally, the document contains a number of detailed use cases for blockchain solutions in telecoms, including the following: Blockchain-Based Telecom Call Roaming User Authentication; Blockchain-Based Telecom Call Roaming Reconciliation; and Data Privacy and Monetization, among others. EEA Telecom SIG member Dr. Andreas Freund of ConsenSys remarked:

“These telecom use cases allow the EEA to identify the building blocks, automated contracts, and standards needed to drive the next generation of Ethereum-based telecom applications […] Our goal is to educate EEA members along with global telecom professionals to the uses and benefits of EEA standards and Enterprise Ethereum blockchain technologies while fostering industry cooperation and interaction.”

A number of major telecom groups helped to create this document, and EEA Executive Director Ron Resnick commented on some of these notable contributors. He said:

“On behalf of the EEA and the EEA Telecom SIG, we would like to thank T-Mobile, SK Telecom, KDDI, and ConsenSys for their extensive contributions. We hope that other global telecom leaders will join the EEA Telecom SIG’s efforts to expand upon this important work.”

Prior work by the EEA

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the EEA published a document on blockchain use cases in the real estate sector in May. Over 50 real estate companies contributed to the project, which contains four main use cases for blockchain in real estate. These use cases are property tokenization, token-enabled marketplaces, a standardized property data system and a use case to speed up the recording and transferring properties.

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Portugal Tax Authority: Bitcoin Trading and Payments Are Tax-Free

Portugal’s Tax Authority has clarified that both cryptocurrency trading and payments in crypto will not be taxed in the country, Cointelegraph en Español reported.

According to a report published on Aug. 26 by Portuguese business newspaper Jornal de Negócios, the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority have confirmed that crypto transactions or payments are exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT).

The agency reportedly provided the clarification to a local crypto mining company, publishing an official ruling document. In the document, the authority states that the exchange of crypto for fiat money is free of VAT, adding that crypto users do not have to pay any income tax.

Portugal cites a 2015 ruling for crypto tax exempt

In the official statement, the Portuguese tax authority cited a 2015 ruling by the European Court of Justice regarding the case involving major Swedish Bitcoin (BTC) portal Bitcoin.se and its moderator David Hedqvist.

As reported at the time, the court ordered that Bitcoin is a means of payment and that the exchange should therefore be exempted VAT obligations. However, the Swedish Tax Agency subsequently argued against the ruling, claiming that the court did not fully understand the matter.

Earlier stance on crypto

The confirmation follows a previous tax ruling by the Portuguese tax authority that cryptocurrencies are not taxed in the country. A document published by the agency in 2016 states that income from the sale of crypto in Portugal is not subject to income tax.

Earlier in 2013, the central bank of Portugal, the Banco de Portugal issued a statement citing a 2012 crypto-related paper by the European Central Bank.

The Portuguese bank raised concerns over the ECB’s Bitcoin recognition as a “phenomenon of innovation in virtual currency models,” claiming that Bitcoin cannot be considered a safe currency as it its issued by unregulated entities.

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The Significance of the World’s First Yuan-Denominated Letter of Credit Blockchain Transaction

  • Voltron trade finance platform, developed by eight banks could be commercialized next year

HSBC has completed the first blockchain-based letter of credit transaction using Chinese yuan, the bank said on Tuesday.

Just like many of its competitors, HSBC, the largest bank in Europe and one of the ten biggest banks in the world have been looking to use blockchain technology to streamline the bureaucratic and paper-based business of finance trade.

With this first such transaction, this move marks the step towards the use of Voltron trade finance platform, developed by eight banks including HSBC, Standard Chartered, and BNP Paribas.

Transactions using the platform has primarily been individual pilot cases so far but Ajay Sharma, HSBC’s regional head of global trade and receivables finance for Asia-Pacific said it would be commercialized next year, meaning more widely adopted and financially viable.

“Clearly we are hoping that through this technology, the unit cost of doing a transaction comes down, along with other benefits, such as speed,”

Sharma said.

Quick Exchange of Information to Make Letters of Credit more Attractive

The exchange of electronic documents was completed in 24 hours in comparison to eight days it took to do so conventionally.

This deal involved a shipment of raw materials between Hong Kong’s MTC Electronic Company and its Shenzhen-based parent company.

However, this hasn’t been the first but ninth letter of credit blockchain transaction the bank has completed since May 2018, when HSBC first commercialized this process.

“As it is more accepted over time, across the world, it will reduce the complexity and the bad name that letters of credit have gotten as a very difficult instrument to use,”

Sharma said.

It is particularly an important milestone for China, which seeks to internationalize yuan as a trade currency.

Moreover, last year about 1.2 million letters of credit valued at $759 billion were issued in and out of China.

Interestingly, the movement came against the backdrop of the trade war that is forcing a shift in the global supply.

As investment, business sentiment, and financing for export remains the challenges for small business and emerging economies, the banks now hope to ease this with greater adoption of blockchain.

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Fintech Firm Partners With R3 to Develop Shariah-Compliant Market Platform

Dubai-based fintech company Wethaq has entered into a strategic partnership with enterprise software firm R3, in order to create a platform for issuing and trading sukuk securities based on R3’s Corda offering.

A platform for Islamic securities

According to a press release on Aug. 28, Wethaq’s platform is built on R3’s open source enterprise blockchain platform Corda, and the company has been taking steps to ensure that it is likewise compliant with Sharia Law.

Wethaq’s platform is reportedly designed to improve the market infrastructure for issuing and trading sukuk securities. Sukuk is heavily regulated and demands a considerable amount of time for issuance. Wethaq hopes to automate and streamline this process, as well as the entire sukuk lifecycle, per the announcement.

Sukuk is a type of financial certificate similar to a bond that complies with Islamic Sharia Law. Sukuks differ from traditional bonds in that they denote partial ownership in an asset, whereas bonds are a debt obligation. Since sukuks share the risk of the backing asset, the holder is not guaranteed to receive back their initial investment.

R3 CEO David Rutter spoke about the partnership, saying that R3 believes Corda could modernize the economy in Saudia Arabia and the Middle East at large. Wethaq CEO Mohammed Alsehli also commented on the partnership, discussing the two firms’ overarching goals, saying:

“Our joint focus is on building world-class financial infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, in alignment with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and the UAE, pursuant to their ambitious fintech agenda, before we expand to the entire Middle East and Southeast Asia.”

Stellar: another Sharia-compliant platform

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Ripple-based platform Stellar said in July 2018 that it was the first distributed ledger protocol to obtain Sharia compliance certification, for the money transfer and asset tokenization field. Stellar was approved by the  Shariyah Review Bureau — an international Sharia agency licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain.

Cryptocurrency NOORCOIN was certified with a Sharia Certificate from the World Sharia Advisory Committee before Stellar back in March. At the time, NOORCOIN declared itself as “the first sharia-compliant utility token.”

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Estonia Grants Crypto Trading and Custody License to WEG Bank

German bank WEG Bank obtained a cryptocurrency trading and custody in Estonia. WEG Bank confirmed in a tweet published on Aug. 25 that it obtained a crypto trading and custody license in Estonia.

Estonia greenlights German bank to trade and hold crypto

Furthermore, the firm also announced that it is now trying to take hold of a securities trading and custody license in Germany. The bank stated:

“We announce that as of today we have secured full access to a crypto trading and custody license in Estonia and are equally applying for a securities trading and custody license in Germany.”

WEG Bank also noted that the institution believes that “working out of a premium regulatory environment is one of” its key assets.

A bank with multiple crypto partnerships

As Cointelegraph reported in April, browser-based blockchain payments system Nimiq has acquired a 9.9% stake in Germany’s WEG Bank AG. The stake acquisition followed a partnership meant to allow for a crypto-to-fiat bridge that would allow for the seamless exchange of value between crypto and traditional banking systems.

In May of last year, also crypto payments startup TokenPay announced a partnership alongside acquiring 9.9% of share certificates.

Consumer interest in regulated cryptocurrency and blockchain services is soaring. Recently, Swiss private bank Maerki Baumann has had a deluge of 400 new clients wanting to tap its future blockchain offerings since it revealed its interest in the sector.

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MouseBelt Launches Blockchain Scheme at Three Uni of California Sites

Blockchain accelerator MouseBelt has launched a blockchain education initiative at three campuses in the University of California system.

Blockchain education at U.S. universities

In a news release shared with Cointelegraph on Aug. 22, MouseBelt announced an initiative with UC Davis, UC Los Angeles and UC Santa Barbara to support blockchain-focused education, research and entrepreneurship. An initial donation from the company will be divided between the three campuses.

MouseBelt plans to invest $500,000 for student projects and raise another $500,000 to fund researchers directly — supporting up to five early stage companies with up to $100,000 in investment through a UC Blockchain Entrepreneurship program. Ashlie Meredith, university outreach director at MouseBelt, said:

“We aim to help these universities become a driving force for innovation in the blockchain space, as well as provide students and researchers with the opportunity for both theoretical and industry experience.”

More resources for researchers

The initiative also aims to connect researchers with industry insiders to work on alternate cryptographics, quantum computing-resistant cryptography, distributed systems research for blockchains, blockchain peer-to-peer networks and proofs-of-concept for general business use cases. MouseBelt also announced plans to fund a second UCLA blockchain engineering course.

MouseBelt further claimed that it will try to identify outstanding startup founders on campus and provide a unique educational experience exclusively for early stage companies — mentoring up to five startups on technical, academic, and business best practices.

As Cointelegraph reported at the end of July, cryptocurrency firm Ripple partnered with Kyoto University and the University of Tokyo as part of its University Blockchain Research Initiative, which is similarly aimed at expanding educational opportunities in the field.

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7,000+ Sign Petition Against Drafted Cash Restrictions in Australia

More than 7,000 people have signed a new petition against drafted cash restrictions in Australia, different drafts of which include and exclude digital currencies from proposed limits.

Earlier this week, Robert Barwick, director at the Citizens Electoral Council of Australia, initiated a petition against the proposed “Currency (Restrictions on the Use of Cash) Bill 2019” recently introduced as an explanatory draft by Australia’s parliament. The drafted bill specifically proposes banning cash transactions over 10,000 AUD ($6,900), including transactions involving digital currencies.

Preventing cash usage in illicit activities?

The impetus for the bill purportedly lies in the government’s desire to prevent cash usage in illicit activities like money laundering and tax evasion. What might initially seem like an attempt to develop a cashless society is “a totalitarian law that […] will trap Australians in banks so they cannot escape bail-in and negative interest rates,” according to Barwick.

Barwick thus urges parliament to “scrap this bill and the cash ban policy,” and “crack down on the real black economy by going after multinational banks and corporations, the Big Four accounting firms, and the tax havens.” Barwick added:

“Banning cash transactions over $10,000 will not end the tax evasion and money laundering of the ‘black economy’, but will strip individuals of their right to privacy in financial affairs, and trap them in private banks, unable to escape policies such as ‘bail-in’ and negative interest rates.”

Controversy feelings about crypto

Worth noting is that an explanatory memorandum to the draft issued in mid-July proposed an exception:

“There is little current evidence that digital currency is presently being used in Australia to facilitate black economy activities. Given this, the Government has decided at the present time to effectively carve digital currency out from the cash payment limit.”

The new version of the draft is thus contradicting these earlier supportive statements on digital currency. The draft reads: “cash means either or both of the following: (a) digital currency; (b) physical currency.”

The Australian Tax Office recently issued warning letters to 18,000 Self Managed Super Funds for concentrating too much investment in one asset class. Under Australian law it is illegal to invest more than 90% of retirement funds in a single class, such as property or cryptocurrency.

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PundiX’s XPOS Point-of-Sale Crypto Devices To Be Installed In Nearly 50 Retail Stores In Venezuela

The largest department store of Venezuela, which is called Traki, has recently announced that it would start to accept Bitcoin payments via blockchain-enabled cash registers. The store has 49 retail outlets in the country and it has announced that it will use PundiX’stechnology.

PundiX provides a point of sale device called XPOS, which is used to accept crypto-based payments. At the moment, the product is being offered in 30 countries and the company claims that it will have sold over 100,000 devices until 2021 if the sales continue as expected.

These new payment devices will accept not only Bitcoin but also Ethereum, the famous Binance Coin and two tokens created by the company itself: NPSX and NPXSXEM.

The main goal of the company is to help in the mission of making cryptocurrencies become something common and widespread. PundiX also offers other products such as the XPASS, which is a crypto-based debit card, and Xwallet.

Zac Cheah, the CEO of PundiX, affirmed that the company has always been focused on creating powerful use cases for the blockchain technology and that Traki will help them to bring the technology to Venezuela.

In fact, Venezuela already has several crypto users. Around 10% of the 300,000 PundiX wallet users are based in the country, so it makes a lot of sense to see Traki investing in this technology, as there is probably a huge demand for it because of the country’s high inflation and lack of liquidity. The most recent reports affirm that the yearly inflation has surpassed 1,000,000% in the country.

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Czech Republic To Enforce Crypto Regulations Deemed Harsher Than The Ones Issued by the EU

While some countries are friendly to Bitcoin, others seem to hate it. Unfortunately, the Czech Republic is far from one of the friendliest countries with crypto. According to recent reports, the country is about to enforce regulations on the crypto industry which are deemed to be even harsher than the ones required by the European Union.

A local media outlet has recently affirmed that, in order to comply with the European Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws, the Czech Republic is set to take extreme measures.

For instance, the country will fine in around $20,000 USD for any illegal crypto company, as well as to enforce the regulations from the EU’s Fifth AML Directive. According to this new directive, the countries of the union would need to have a close oversight on wallets and exchanges and ask them to provide more transparency.

The media outlet that reported on this story, Hospodářské Noviny, affirmed that the measure was a bit harsh and that it could get in the way of the competitiveness of the sector, despite the fact that only exchanges who are not regulated will be fined. All exchanges within the boundaries of the law will not need to worry.

The Czech Republic is one among many examples of countries that decided to upgrade the European requirements and to look more closely at crypto companies. Cyprus, for instance, also decided to enforce several obligations which are not stated by international law.

These cases might be happening because the local governments believe that, if they need to make obligatory changes in regulation, they might as well just make them specific to their countries.

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Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Launches the EEA Mainnet Initiative

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) is setting up a technical group working on collaboration between the mainnet and enterprises.

The working group, called the EEA Mainnet Initiative, intends to accelerate and lead cooperation between the EEA’s enterprise and startup members, as well as those who work on the mainnet’s technology and interoperability solutions, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Aug. 6.

EEA Mainnet Initiative to work on interoperability and scalability solutions

The Mainnet Initiative will seek to improve its knowledge about how public network components match the commercial market requirements needed to boost adoption of Ethereum, the press release notes. The EEA will hold interactive discussions on Mainnet Initiative as a part of the Ethereum Foundation’s major developer conference, Devcon5, in October 2019.

Marley Gray, EEA board member and principal architect at tech giant Microsoft, said that the rapid acceleration of technology around Ethereum mainnet requires heightened interoperability and scalability, which is the mission of the Mainnet Initiative.

EEA appoints Ethereum Foundation’s Aya Miyaguchi as a new Board member

Alongside the Mainnet Initiative announcement, the EEA also said that they have appointed a new Board member, the Ethereum Foundation’s Aya Miyaguchi.

The EEA is a blockchain consortium with over 450 enterprise business members, including, among others, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, Santander, Accenture, ING, Intel and Cisco. The consortium’s objective is to promote the use of Ethereum blockchain as open-standard to empower all enterprises.

Earlier this year, the EEA issued a report describing a number of blockchain use cases in the real estate industry, claiming that blockchain is capable of reducing the time of recording and transferring properties while increasing transparency and making land registries trustless.

To date, the Ethereum blockchain is the most popular public blockchain network for building decentralized applications and smart contracts.

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Gavin Wood Launches Its Experimental Network Kusama, A Testnet For Polkadot

The developers of Web3, the company behind the Polkadot protocol, have recently finished the testnet for the blockchain protocol. According to Gavin Wood, one of the main developers who are working on the program, the project, which is called Kusama, is already available.

Kusama will be an unaudited and experimental version of Polkadot and it was officially launched during the Berlin Blockchain Week.

Wood affirmed that the network needs at least 50 validators to be working properly, so it would be around a month before developers can fully experience the potential of the new testnet. After that, though, the KSM tokens can be transferred.

He also took some time to explain what was already working on the network. People cannot trade yet, but they can already stake their tokens for rewards, start to be validators, set up session keys and claim tokens.

The main difference that will happen once over 50 nodes are set up is that Kusama will stop being a centralized network that and fully become a decentralized proof of stake project, which is the main goal. As soon as this happens, the governance rules that will govern the network will be properly activated and start to be live.

According to the developers, Kusama will only exist while it is needed. The whole idea was to set up something to “step into the unknown” and simply let people play. As the stepping stone for Polkadot, the network will possibly be abandoned after the actual launch of the network.

At the moment, Polkadot is expected to be launched next year, but there is no specific data set yet.

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