Blockchain Solution Proposals Sought By Department of Veterans Affairs – BlockTribune

By David Pimentel     January 19, 2018

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is seeking for proposals on how blockchain technology can help improve its operations.

VA is a federal cabinet-level agency that provides near-comprehensive healthcare services to eligible military veterans at VA medical centers and outpatient clinics located throughout the country. It offers several non-healthcare benefits including disability compensation, vocational rehabilitation, education assistance, home loans, and life insurance. It also provides burial and memorial benefits to eligible veterans and family members at 135 national cemeteries.

During the AFCEA Bethesda’s 10th Annual Health IT Day, VA chief technology officer Charles Worthington said the agency’s approach to blockchain is to take a step back and look at the problem the department wants to solve.

“We really would be looking to industry to surface use cases for us,” said Worthington. “I think we’re going to be coming to industry with problems we have, and if you think blockchain is an appropriate solution, bring it to us.”

More at: Blockchain Solution Proposals Sought By Department of Veterans Affairs – BlockTribune

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Regulate bitcoin but don’t ban, says former FDIC chair – CNBC

By Kellie Ell     January 19, 2018

  • Bitcoin is “something regulators need to deal with but not ban,” says former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair.
  • “We don’t ban assets,” she says.
  • Bair worries some people are investing in digital currencies without understanding what they are.

Amid threats of a potential ban on cryptocurrency, former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair said digital currencies such as bitcoin should be more tightly monitored but not stopped.

“It’s something regulators need to deal with but not ban,” Bair told CNBC’s “Fast Money” on Thursday. Bair, who said she does not own any bitcoin, now serves as a board member for Paxos, a financial firm developing blockchain technology for digital currency.

“I think some additional regulation would be good, and I argue for that,” she said. “Especially on anti-money-laundering laws, where I think there are a lot of concerns over use of bitcoin or other digital currencies.”

More at: Regulate bitcoin but don’t ban, says former FDIC chair – CNBC

NASA Bets on Blockchain and AI for Satellite Intelligence Study – BTCMANAGER

By Julia Travers     January 18, 2018

NASA has awarded University of Akron (UA) Assistant Professor Jin Wei Kocsis a three-year $333,000 Early Career Faculty grant as part of its Space Technology Research Grants (STRG) program. Dr. Kocsis will utilize the grant to develop AI and blockchain-based technology that will help satellites safely travel farther away while making decisions independently.

Space Travel and Fuzzy Logic

Satellites currently rely on wireless communication with Earth to send and receive vital mission data. As they venture further into space, these transmissions take more and more time to travel. If a satellite encounters space debris that must be avoided or needs to collect information from a nearby meteorite quickly, it is often incapable of doing so in time. Kocis says that,

“I hope to develop technology that can recognize environmental threats and avoid them, as well as complete a number of tasks automatically. I am honored that NASA recognized my work, and I am excited to continue challenging technology’s ability to think and do on its own.”

More at: NASA Bets on Blockchain and AI for Satellite Intelligence Study – BTCMANAGER

Poland is Developing National Cryptocurrency – Finance Magnates

By Arnab Shome    January 17, 2018

The Polish government hopes this will revolutionize payments and the banking systems.

When it comes to the blockchain technology development in Europe, Poland is very progressive. The Polish Blockchain Technology Accelerator (PATB), which operates under the patronage of the Ministry of Digitalization, has revealed that one of its team is working on the development of a digitized national cryptocurrency, called Digital PLN (dPLN), as reported by the Polish daily Puls Biznesu.

Prof. Krzysztof Piech is the initiator of the dPLN project and is leading a team at the Lazarski University in Warsaw, which is working on this. The team had already developed a working basic version of dPLN, and is currently working on the advanced version of the code. The team is also planning to begin the software testing phase in about two weeks.

More at: Poland is Developing National Cryptocurrency – Finance Magnates

China Assembles Coalition to Hunt Down, Prosecute Those Using Blockchain Name to Scam Its Citizens – Cryptovest

By Tedra DeSue    January 17, 2018

Arrests and prosecutions are in the cards for those in China who try to peddle fake tokens by using the name Blockchain.

In its quest to prevent cybercrimes, China is going after people promoting token sales they say are affiliated with the Blockchain, according to reports.

We’ve seen this practice increase over the last few months as companies try to boost their attractiveness and appear legitimate through the use of the digital ledger technology’s name.

China’s not sitting back and allowing for it.

Instead, several of its regulatory authorities have formed a coalition of sorts to halt this kind of abuse so not to cause the overall reputation of Blockchain to be damaged.

Already, it has reportedly identified more than 2,000 tokens with active user bases and 3,000 knockoff platforms that are promoting fake Blockchain products.

When caught, these fraudsters face arrest and prosecution. Something in particular has caught the eye of some observers and it’s the phrase being used to describe the effort. They are calling it a “special campaign,” which has given rise to the thought that prominent figures could be snared.

More at: China Assembles Coalition to Hunt Down, Prosecute Those Using Blockchain Name to Scam Its Citizens – Cryptovest

Putin: Crypto Oversight Legislation Will Be Needed – CoinDesk

By Nikhilesh De    January 17, 2018

Russian president Vladimir Putin believes that legislation laying out rules for the country’s cryptocurrency sector will be needed in the future.
According to a report from Russian-language news agency TASS, Putin said on Jan. 11 that legislation “will be definitely required in [the] future]” on this front.
“This is the prerogative of the central bank at present and the central bank has sufficient authority so far. However, in broad terms, legislative regulation will be definitely required in future,” he said.

More at: Putin: Crypto Oversight Legislation Will Be Needed – CoinDesk

China’s blockchain fever gets hotter even as regulator queries price surge – Yahoo! Finance

Reuters    January 12, 2018

China’s blockchain-related companies extended their bullish run on Friday, as punters brushed aside concerns raised by regulators about the rationality of stock price surges this week.

Blockchain mania continued to propel the shares of a dozen companies which recently disclosed their involvement in cryptocurrency technology, even though some admitted their investments in the technology were still at an early stage.

A growing number of Chinese firms – ranging from packaging firms to gaming companies – have publicly linked their businesses with blockchain to capitalize on rapidly growing investor interest globally for the technology, the backbone of bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Chinese regulators are taking unprecedented steps to contain financial risks – Beijing has banned initial coin offerings, shut down local cryptocurrency trading exchanges and limited bitcoin mining – but speculators are not deterred.

Shares of Cashway Technology Co Ltd <603106.SS> soared for the second day on Friday, even after it clarified that it had merely hired two young graduates majoring in encryption algorithm.

More at: China’s blockchain fever gets hotter even as regulator queries price surge – Yahoo! Finance