Maitland/AMO ICO Monitor – 8 August 2019
The Big Read
Data protection officials across the US and Europe continue to raise concerns over the privacy risks that Libra Coin could bring, warning it could become the “custodian of millions of people’s personal information”. The Financial Times reports that Facebook has so far failed to provide any sort of information regarding the information-handling practices that will be in place with the cryptocurrency, with officials urging the company to offer more details.
Walmart this week announced that it applied for a cryptocurrency patent, however much of the industry remains confused as to the intentions of the retailer, Forbes reports. The company announced that some of the benefits of a Walmart cryptocurrency include an ecosystem payment mechanism, a cheaper alternative to a bank, and a way of eliminating credit cards.
Thailand’s anti-money laundering regulator is to amend the country’s laws to include cryptocurrency, after the Police Major stated that cryptocurrency could be a “tool of new money laundering”. CoinDesk reports that the regulator is concerned that criminals will turn to the digital asset industry. The legal changes will correspond with international standards on crypto exchange service providers.
The Iranian government has instituted a new law, against the acceptance of cryptocurrency stating that the government and the banking system will not view digital coins as legal tender, and that Iran’s central bank will not guarantee their value. Though Iran previously authorised cryptocurrency mining as an industrial activity it has not issued licenses for importing digital currency mining equipment into the country.
New Kid on the Block – The Technologies, Funds and ICOs you should know about
The Federal Reserve Board is planning to release a real-life payments and settlements service to boost payment infrastructure in the country. CoinTelegraph reports that the service will help support faster payments in the US, under the name FedNow. The Fed hopes that the real-time settlement service will help to modernise the country’s payment system on a 24/7 basis and will be available to both business and the general public.
Mastercard is looking to hire several blockchain professionals to develop cryptocurrency and wallet products. CoinDesk reports that one of the roles advertised by the compnay will be expected to “lead the ideation, definition, design, and development of innovative crypto currency solutions, including wallet solutions.” Mastercard is noted as one of the partners in the Libra Association, raising questions as to whether the compnay plans to become a crypto wallet solutions provider to partner projects such as Libra.
Coinbase has announced the possible addition of eight new tokens to its current collection. After meeting in-house criteria, the coins are anticipated to become publicly listed. However, irrespective of the listings each coin may be limited to specific regions and subject to varying jurisdictional conditions.
Scams, Sanctions and Suspicious Activity
A confidential report acquired by mainstream media outlets including Reuters states that the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee said that hackers formed an essential part of government funding. In particular, the entity known as the Lazarus Group has become notorious for its malign activities, which have affected countries across the world.
Concerns have risen over the release of several letters claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (US), with the aim of conning cryptocurrency taxpayers out of their funds. It is believed that the ‘bogus’ letters attempt to capitalize on the public’s lack of familiarity with legitimate IRS correspondence and soliciting payments by using threats of enforcement action against them.
The financial law firm Murphy & McGonigle has launched the Blockchain Litigation Database (BGL), the first of its kind. The BGL has been created in an effort to provide a centralised source which documents all crypto cases, with lawyers hoping the database will enable an efficient search of relevant data when building court cases. Just over 250 cases have already been documented in the BGL.
Bulls & Bears of the week
“The only thing that could make this better for the retailer and crypto adoption is if Walmart acquired Facebook" – CCN on the news that Walmart has created its own cryptocurrency
“80% seems about right. Mostly, because that’s the nature of evangelism. Most of us on social media seems to be crypto-evangelists” - Sritanshu Sinha, independent crypto author and analyst, regarding a report that found that 80% of all online crypto talk is positive