Washington [state] regulators recently introduced exchange rules for any firm wanting to allow customers to trade in cryptocurrency. They said they created Senate Bill 5031 to make the ecosystem fair for cryptocurrency exchanges and their customers. However, a number of exchanges have left the area, because they believe the rules were too burdensome. Now Washington lawmakers are defending the bill on the grounds that it helps the exchanges and their clientele.
Poloniex, Bitstamp, Kraken, and Bitfinex are a few of the exchanges that left the area after Washington announced its regulatory requirements in July. Each company provided their reasoning why they stopped servicing Washington area customers.
Bitstamp wrote a letter to its customers back in 2016, saying, “After long and careful deliberation, we are sorry to inform you that due to recent regulatory constraints imposed by the State of Washington, Bitstamp will cease to serve customers from The Evergreen State, effective 20th December 2016.”
Bureaucrats Claim Bill is Good
Charlie Clark, deputy director of the state’s Department of Financial Institutions and director of the authority’s division of consumer services, did not comment on the specific companies that left. He did suggest the restraints were not imposing or negative, though. He mentioned State financial regulators spent months preparing and detailing the bills.
More at: Washington Politicians Defend Regulations as Cryptocurrency Exchanges Flee – Bitcoin News
China, the world leader in Bitcoin mining, may have some competition as the Kremlin enters the race, even creating its own its own cryptocurrency wallet.
Russia has a complicated history with Bitcoin. The debate to ban the cryptocurrency has swayed back and forth for the past several years, even threatening extremely harsh prison sentences, but things have recently taken a more supportive turn.
The push began in early 2016 when the Bank of Russia began evaluating the applications of blockchain technology in the financial sector. The Bank of Russia noted in a press release: “[T]he Central Bank established the Working Group on the analysis of advanced technologies and innovations in the financial market. Among the priority issues – the study of distributed ledger technologies (eg: blockchain), as well as new developments in mobile [technology], payment [industry] and other areas.”
More at: Putin to challenge China in the Bitcoin race – Crypto Insider
OPINION | A new race — a crypto-race — is on.
A few months ago, Russia created what could turn out to be its second “Sputnik,” although most of the world took little notice.
A Russian scientific institution successfully tested a blockchain technology platform that can theoretically withstand a hack from a quantum computer. Quantum computing machines use subatomic particles to process data a million times quicker than regular computers, but they do not exist today outside experimental laboratories. Most experts agree that it will be a few decades before quantum computers are commercially deployed. But when they are, the encryption we all rely on to to protect Internet servers, passwords, and email and messaging traffic may become obsolete.
So, creating a digital platform that is quantum hack-proof is a huge cryptographic leap forward. It is a sign of Russia’s intent to position itself strategically as a global leader in blockchain technology. But it also is of great national security significance to the United States, on two fronts. One, it shows Russia’s potential espionage advantage by advancing in cryptographic methods to secure data in ways that the U.S.government is neglecting. And, two, it signals that Russia may be able to withstand America’s economic sanctions tools in the future.
More at: Blockchain technology may give Russia its next Sputnik moment – TheHill
Blockchain has the potential to be as pervasive and as impactful as the internet. With a technology projected to be as meaningful as this, the government needs to implement the applications of the technology. Here are seven use cases for government.
Titles and Property
The current home entitlement process requires a home buyer to pay thousands of dollars to determine if there are any liens on the property. Due to the lack of trust in paper records, title insurance agencies, which has been called a scam, continue to have a reason for existing. Leveraging the distributed ledger, there would be no need to engage in this fact finding activity as all liens could easily be determined so long as the historical title records were converted to structured data. Sweden is currently experimenting with leveraging the blockchain for land registries.
The US Government has global supply chains reaching every corner of the globe to deliver the $445 billion in goods and services it purchases annually. It delivers equipment and supplies to US troops, medicine to foreign nations for aid, relief supplies to disaster areas. This supply chain is susceptible to fraud, security risk, malicious software/hardware, and the effects of climate change. All transactions on the blockchain are timestamped and traceable. This enables the government to track the origin of goods and increase the quality in production and distribution as each individual component in the equipment can be traced as well.
More at: 7 Ways Blockchain Could Transform Government – Tech.co
The state of Illinois is expanding its work with blockchain, launching a pilot program aimed at applying the tech to the medical licensing process.
As reported last year by CoinDesk, the state unveiled a wide-ranging blockchain and cryptocurrency initiative last November. Illinois has since embarked on a multi-agency effort to explore public applications of the technology, while also releasing new rules for startups working with cryptocurrencies.
Now, the Illinois Blockchain Initiative has partnered with Hashed Health, a U.S.-based blockchain startup focused on medical applications, to see whether the tech can help streamline how medical licenses are issued and tracked.
The program’s backers expect to build a license registry and medical credential-sharing system running on a blockchain, with smart contracts automatically updating information. The ultimate goal is to create an authentic and transparent chain of records for patients and healthcare provider networks.
More at: Illinois to Trial Blockchain Tech in Bid to Track Medical Licenses – CoinDesk
The US General Services Agency (GSA) has listed the possible applications for Blockchain technology that are being considered by the federal government in its new information portal.
The agency is also aggressively showing its interest in the technology publicly. In its statement, the GSA stated that other US federal agencies are also strongly attracted to the technology.
The GSA’s statement partly reads:
“We hosted the first U.S. Federal Blockchain Forum on July 18, 2017, uniting more than 100 federal managers from dozens of unique agencies to discuss use cases, limitations, and solutions. Agency teams submitted their own potential use cases for Blockchain technology to our current repository of almost 200 submissions.”
More at: US General Services Agency Launches Information Portal Listing Possible Blockchain Technology Applications – The Cointelegraph
The Blockchain Conference DC took place in a packed room at the Marvin Center of George Washington University’s campus in Washington, DC on July 28th.
“How many people here work for the US Government?” the host asked.
Over a dozen people raised their hands.
“How about – are there any regulators in the room?”
Nervous laughter followed. Nobody openly admitted that they were a regulator, but the tension was palpable.
This conference took place less than a week after a series of high-profile government actions in the blockchain space. See here, here and here for some detailed pieces on the increasingly aggressive “safeguards” US legislators are taking on the blockchain platforms.
More at: Fear and hope at the DC Blockchain Conference – Crypto Insider – Bitcoin and Blockchain News