Spanish Crypto, Blockchain Testbed to Open this Year + More News
Crypto Briefs is your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
- The Spanish government has approved a fintech sandbox plan that will allow blockchain and cryptocurrency-related companies to make use of a controlled testbed before releasing their products on the market. Per Criptonoticias, the sandbox is likely to open sometime this year, and will be co-regulated by the Treasury, the central Bank of Spain and two financial regulators. The government first began sandbox deliberations back in 2017, and had originally hoped to open the testbed in October last year.
- Perth-based blockchain startup Power Ledger (POWR) executive chairman and co-founder Dr. Jemma Green appeared on Thursday before the Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology and asked that more consideration be given to allowing initial coin offerings (ICOs) to operate in Australia, arguing that addressing the 'anomalies' in taxation rules - such as that proceeds of ICOs under legacy taxation systems have been classified as income - would allow Australia to be competitive in the blockchain sector, reports ZDNet.
- The Central Bank of Brazil said on Wednesday that it will launch a near-instant payment system in November, which will likely reduce costs to users. Reuters reports that the platform, named PIX, will allow money transfers 24/7, by mobile phone, internet banking, or ATMs.
- Tencent has lodged a total of 777 blockchain patents, more than any other company in China, reports 3Kr Japan, quoting Guozhi Patent Warning Consulting data. The Chinese contents giant registered the record haul of patents in the period 2015-2019. Alibaba and its affiliates placed second on the list.
- A SoftBank-backed consortium says it is testing a blockchain-based payment network for transactions made between Taiwan and the USA, reports Japanese media outlet Coin Post. The consortium says that Taiwanese carrier Asia Pacific Telecom successfully carried out transactions on mobile payments apps in conjunction with a United States-based carrier. The consortium has been making use of technology developed by America’s TBCASoft.
- Unstoppable Domains, a San Francisco-based company building blockchain domain names, has announced the launch of the Unstoppable Blockchain Browser, meant to provide easy access to the decentralized web. The announcement explains that typing in a .crypto domain and viewing a decentralized website works just like typing in a .com. Furthermore, users can participate in making a website more decentralized by storing and sharing websites to a peer-to-peer (P2P) network that no one person or company controls.
- A Venezuelan food distributor will pilot a Petro pay platform, which will allow customers to pay for food deliveries in the country’s state-issued cryptocurrency. Diario Bitcoin reports that the government-affiliated Local Committees for Supply and Production (known locally as CLAP), a house-to-house delivery platform created in 2016 by President Nicolás Maduro in response to food shortages in the country, will begin accepting Petro payments, with suppliers also being paid in the oil-backed token.
- South Korean streaming and contents platform Watcha has provided more details of its liquidation plans, after recently announcing it is to close its Content Protocol Token operations. Per ZDNet Korea, Watcha says that token holders’ funds will be automatically converted to Ethereum and the Singapore-based subsidiary that issued the tokens will be liquidated. The company launched a veiled attack at the government’s failure to regulate the industry for the project’s closure.
- Paxos Trust Company, a New York-regulated financial institution that digitizes and mobilizes assets, has launched the Paxos Settlement Service, which can now settle select U.S. listed equity trades between broker-dealers Credit Suisse and Instinet, LLC. The announcement claims that the service represents the first live application of blockchain technology for listed U.S. equities. A third participant, Société Générale, will soon also begin settling U.S. listed equities trades with Paxos Settlement Service. Paxos will submit its application for clearing agency registration with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2020 so that it can offer the service to all street-side broker-dealers to settle U.S. listed equities, it writes.
- Fiat-focused digital asset exchange OKCoin has added MakerDAO’s Dai, the decentralized, crypto-backed stablecoin, to their list of supported tokens. OKCoin will begin offering DAI/USD beginning February 24, said the exchange.
- Kahina van Dyke, formerly Senior Vice President of Business and Corporate Development at Ripple, has joined Standard Chartered’s Corporate, Commercial and Institutional Banking division as Global Head, Digital Channels and Client Data Analytics.
- Steve Chen, the "Boss" behind the USD 147 million Gemcoin fraud of 2013-2015, agreed to plead guilty to one count of tax evasion and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Per the Department of Justice, Chen admitted in his plea agreement that he falsely promoted U.S. Fine Investment Arts, Inc., of which he was the owner and chief executive officer, as a successful multi-level marketing company, that the company did not generate any significant revenue from its business operations, and that he attempted to evade payment of federal income taxes. Once he pleads guilty, Chen will face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has settled charges against blockchain technology startup Enigma MPC for conducting an unregistered offering of securities in the form of an initial coin offering (ICO), says the press release. Enigma has agreed to return funds to harmed investors via a claims process, register its tokens as securities, file periodic reports with the SEC, and pay a USD 500,000 penalty.
- The Dutch Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service (FIOD) arrested two men on Monday in connection with two criminal investigations on suspicion of money laundering using cryptocurrencies. According to the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5), a 45-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of laundering approximately EUR 2.1 million (USD 2.2 million), making unexplained large purchases with a crypto credit card and several large withdrawals, while a 31-year-old man is suspected for laundering a considerable amount of money, including approximately EUR 100,000 (USD 107,905), using the crypto service provider Bestmixer.io.