Maitland/AMO ICO Monitor – 12 April 2019
The Big Read
Pindar Wong, Chairman at VeriFi, believes that blockchain should be used as a way for the government to overcome the current Brexit crisis, particularly the issue over the Northern Irish backstop agreement. In an op-ed for CoinDesk, Mr Wong argues that customs authorities could use a blockchain architecture to take the friction out of tariff enforcement by agreeing on the provenance of economic activity on a temporal, not geographic, basis, thus removing the need for physical checkpoints on the border or a regulatory border on the Irish Sea. Mr Wong suggests that this will create a ‘Customs network’ rather than a ‘Customs Union’, although it would initially behave like one.
Ethereum this week recorded its best high since mid-November 2018, rising by 34%, with traders set benefit from the vast ETC price imbalance. The rally was likely caused by the announcement that Ethereum upgraded its blockchain by implementing ECIP-1054, which would provide network protocol upgrades, creating a general upgrade on the cryptocurrency’s chain. However, CCN reports that experts have said that there is no guarantee the bullish sentiment will persist, noting how Bitcoin rallied shortly before its crash last year.
China could soon announce that they are to ban cryptocurrency mining, with the country believing that the asset is not only a waste of resources but also prone to too many scams. The move comes after the country banned ICOs back in 2017, with the Chinese central bank at the time raising concerns as to a number of potentially illegal activities including illegal sale tokens, illegal securities issuance and illegal fund-raising. And it is not just China that could completely wipe out cryptocurrencies according to ZDNet, with Japan, Australia and South Korea also hinting that they are soon to impose far stricter standards on exchanges within their respective countries.
A number of the world’s largest lenders, law firms and real estate companies are testing a new blockchain platform to streamline the process of buying and selling property, reports Bloomberg. Companies that are backing the new platform included Barclays, RBS and Clifford Chance, with the proposed plans set to result in annual savings of about $160bn. Blockchain will help remove the substantial number of middle men in the buying and selling of property.
Elon Musk, an outspoken fan of cryptocurrencies, revealed that his favourite currency is Dogecoin, which was originally started as a joke off the back of an internet meme. The Financial Times reports that following the remarks, Dogecoin used Twitter to call on to become Dogecoin’s CEO. Dogecoin was up 26% following the events, giving it a market value of $381m.
New Kid on the Block – The Technologies, Funds and ICOs you should know about
Coinbase has launched a Visa debit card that will now allow UK and EU customers to spend their cryptocurrencies directly from their Coinbase accounts, CoinDesk writes. The exchange announced via a blog post that customers will now be able to “instantly convert cryptocurrency to fiat currency” when they complete a transaction using their debit cards, with the card supporting all crypto assets that are available to buy and sell on the Coinbase platform. The news comes as Coinbase also launched an app for the card on both Android and iOS platforms.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has confirmed that TurnKey Jet’s ICO tokens are not securities, and will therefore not have to be subject to securities regulation from the SEC, a move that indicates that a new digital currency framework on the horizon. The decision provides a gateway for new ICOs to escape the SEC’s legal framework, as long as these ICOs adhere to a number of conditions and assumptions according to Toshi Times. This includes that the platform would be fully developed and operational at the time of sale, with the tokens also available to buyers immediately and will be marketed for utility rather than purely as speculative purchases.
Scams, Sanctions and Suspicious Activity
The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has approved Quadriga’s wishes to move into bankruptcy proceedings, a move that will help to cut costs and facilitate a recovery of assets for its creditors. The company, which infamously owes customers around $195m worth of crypto after its founder died in December, is still unlikely to emerge after restructuring, however the move will allow the investigation to recover assets to move more swiftly. Bloomberg reports that the next hearing to discuss lingering issues from the CCAA process is scheduled for April 18.
South Korean police have caught the group behind the scheme responsible for generating almost $19m in revenue after targeting civilians that had a poor understanding of technology. TNW reports that the group promised victims free cryptocurrencies as well as recruitment bonuses for signing up, with up to 12 people being arrested.
Bulls & Bears of the week
“This is an important step to promoting innovation and maximizing the potential of virtual currencies for the U.S. economy.” – Representative Warren Davidson on the passing of the Token Taxonomy Act in the US
“This is really bad for merchants and exchanges, and in the long run it could make Bitcoin unusable.” – Professor Matthew Green on the news that China might ban Bitcoin Mining