Říj 14

Bayern Munich Partners with Stryking for Blockchain-Based Collectibles

Bayern Munich, Germany’s most successful football club, has partnered with the blockchain-oriented venture of fan engagement firm, Stryking Entertainment.


Blockchain-Based Collectibles on Bayern Players

According to the agreement, Stryking, which is itself a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands – a mobile games developer, will issue and distribute digital collectibles based on Bayern players. Thus, the German football club will become part of a global platform for blockchain collectibles.

Stryking has created a fantasy sports challenge aimed at its “Football-Stars” game. The latter provides gameplay for the blockchain-based collectibles. It allows fans to use the virtual cards to compete against each other in special challenges.

For example, users will be able to create virtual teams with their player cards and compete against the teams of other users. Consequently, the results will influence the value of the non-fungible collectibles, which the users can then sell at a better price.

Stryking will start with cards related to Bayern stars like goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, forward Robert Lewandowski, and former Barcelona player Philippe Coutinho.

Dirk Weyel, founder and CEO of Stryking Entertainment, commented:

FC Bayern is one of the biggest football clubs in the world and their fans all around the globe should watch out for the first pre-sale with rare cards of their favourite stars coming soon.

In the upcoming weeks and months we will add more football licenses and other sports to the platform. Our vision is to build a truly global hub where sports fans meet to collect and trade, as well as play with their digital collectibles

Bayern is not the only football club connected with blockchain. There are more European teams that are embracing digital tokens. Giant clubs like Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), AS Roma, and Benfica are all using cryptocurrency in one way or another already.

Most of the clubs that adopt blockchain-based tokens are using them to better engage with the fans. Socios.com, a startup offering customized Fan Tokens aimed specifically at football clubs, partnered last year with Juventus and PSG, which host two of the most popular players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr., respectively.

Individual players are also becoming aware of the new technology. For instance, former Bayern player James Rodriguez launched his own cryptocurrency called JR10 Token.

What is your favorite football club? Would you buy customized tokens offered by it? Share your thoughts in the comments section!


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Říj 09

Ethereum 2.0 Critics Call The Entire Network “a Scam”

While the deadline for the gradual launch of Ethereum 2.0 is just around the corner, critics express concerns over potential risks and even call Ethereum a scam.


Skeptics Feel Misled Over Network’s Scalability

Ethereum started as an ambitious idea of a global platform to host decentralized applications (Dapps) and smart contracts. While there are many projects and Dapps on Ethereum, the network might not be capable of supporting potential mainstream Dapps with millions of users.

For example, when the blockchain game CryptoKitties reached its culmination, the transaction fees on Ethereum rose to 0.02 ETH, or $20. Besides the increasing fees, there are concerns that the network wouldn’t provide the same performance during mass adoption of Dapps.

In other words, there is a scalability issue with Ethereum that has to be addressed, and this is exactly what the network’s development team wants to do by switching to Ethereum 2.0 through iteration.

But wait a minute – hasn’t Ethereum been advertised as a scalable blockchain network right from the beginning? This is the critics’ main concern, especially for those from the “Bitcoin” side. Bitcoin core developer Peter Todd went as far as to say that Ethereum has always been a scam.

Todd continued.

The most common type of scam in the crypto space has been claiming that things scale when they don’t, and that things are trustless when they aren’t. ETH 1.0 has done both types of scam. They’re the hardest challenges; fertile ground for lying

His comments attracted supportive remarks from Gabor Gurbacs, digital asset strategist at investment manager VanEck:

For Ethereum Supporters, Iteration is Inherent

On the other side of the line, Ethereum developers and supporters don’t see anything wrong with upgrading to another blockchain. They regard iteration as a natural process that should solve the challenges of the first version of the network. Even those who understood right from the beginning that Ethereum wasn’t scalable don’t consider these marketing statements as false.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin claims he has been talking about advancing to a more capable network since 2014.

He added:

You can literally find speeches I made every year since 2014 ranting about how all existing blockchains are inadequate and we need to make them better. And somehow this gets spun as ‘we were making a platform we knew was doomed from the start’

When responding to Dapp developers who expressed concerns of developing on a platform that is about to be depreciated, Buterin tweeted:

All in all, the debate is really fierce, and no-one seems to be backing off.

Do you think Ethereum is a scam? Share your thoughts in the comments section!


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @VitalikButerin @Peterktodd @Gaborgurbacs

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Zář 25

Bitcoin (BTC) Sheds 10%, Yearly Volatility Still Low

Bitcoin slumped by nearly $1,500 in a day, wiping out as much as 16% from its price. Double-digit movements are not unusual for BTC, but they were a rare event this year.


BTC Generally Less Volatile in 2019

BTC was notoriously less volatile in 2019, with a gradual price climb. The hourly crash late on September 24 was only the second double-digit daily loss for 2019, a rare event during what has turned out to be a robust BTC bull market.

Statistics by Messari Crypto show that 2017 and 2018 were much more volatile. And in past years, 2011 keeps the record with 17 double-digit crashes. However, the current price movements are dramatic, since they are large in dollar terms. 2013 saw more crashes after the closing of the Mt. Gox exchange. In total, BTC had 70 days of sudden price drops in the double-digit range.

The BTC market is also much more active, so a price move like that causes more significant losses overall. The recent BTC market crash is ascribed to a series of liquidations on BitMex, triggering a total of $600 million of liquidated longs. OKEx also suffered liquidations in one of the most significant crashes of derivatives markets.

Volatility Raises Risk of Bear Market

In 2019, BTC price volatility has a much higher impact, as it is also tied to a vast altcoin market. Additionally, mainstream investment products have also attracted significant funds. But volatility like that is seen as undesirable if BTC is to become a mainstream investment tool.

BTC trading volumes were also volatile, bouncing from their usual levels of $15 billion in 24 hours to $28 billion. The entire market has drifted sideways with decreased volatility for months before the unusual selling event.

Price volatility is not necessarily harmful to the markets. BTC has seen an increase of derivatives, going beyond futures, as options on futures are also coming from the CME Group. However, options trading is offered also by crypto-to-crypto exchanges, to those with enough knowledge and appetite for risk.

But the increased volatility also means more possible scenarios for BTC, including a push downward to bearish territory.

The latest price drop led to a shift in sentiment, moving the Bitcoin Fear and Greed Index into “Extreme Fear”.

Are you concerned by Bitcoin’s recent price crash? Add your thoughts below!


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Zář 14

German Gov’t Approves ‘Bundes-Chain’ to Combat Libra Cryptocurrency

The German government will approve its proposed blockchain strategy this September which reportedly blocks projects like Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency.


Germany Readies Anti-Libra Response

According to Spiegel, Germany’s federal cabinet will approve its blockchain strategy announced back in June 2019.

While the move signals the country’s intent to be a part of the emerging global economy, the government-run ‘Bundes-chain’ might sound the latest death knell for Libra in Europe.

Thomas Heilmann of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) says Germany’s legislative coalition already has a standing agreement to prevent the operation of any “market-relevant private stablecoin.”

Commenting on the matter, Heilmann declared:

Up to now, the economy has done a great job in countering crises and inflation with measures taken by central banks. Once a digital currency provider dominates the market, it will be quite difficult for competitors.

Rather than Libra capturing the market in Germany, authorities appear to be in favor of creating a state-backed digital currency which will run on the Bundes-chain.

Part of Germany’s proposed blockchain strategy involves creating a framework for crypto startups in the country. As previously reported by Bitcoinist, Bitbond in May 2019, launched the first-ever regulated security token offering (STO) in Germany.

According to Heilmann, authorities in Germany are hoping that the blockchain strategy will help local crypto startups enjoy competitive advantages over their foreign counterparts.

There is, however, little information as to how a government-run Bundes-chain will incentivize private participants.

Europe Wants Nothing to do with Facebook’s Cryptocurrency

For crypto analyst, Alex Krüger, other countries may soon begin to copy Germany’s approach to the emerging cryptocurrency and blockchain technology industry.

Germany is one of a growing list of nations making efforts to block Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency.

On Friday (September 13, 2019), French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire declared that the country will work towards blocking Libra in Europe.

Echoing sentiments similar to those espoused by Heilmann, Le Maire surmised that Libra constitutes a threat to the economic sovereignty of Europe.

In China, the central bank is accelerating efforts to launch the country’s digital yuan project. This move is also part of China’s plan to block Libra.

Meanwhile, the Libra Association is moving forward with its plans to launch the crypto project. The Association recently applied for a payment license with Swiss regulators.

How will a government-run Bundes-chain provide economically viable incentives for private participants? Let us know in the comments below.


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Zář 04

Anger At Call For Congress To Place ‘Effective Ban’ On Bitcoin Mining

Bitcoin proponents have reacted angrily to what they warn is a fresh attempt to make US Congress ban public cryptocurrencies.


Murray: US Should Treat Miners Like Banks

As financial news outlet Business Telegraph reported, on September 3, an expert witness went before lawmakers to argue miners on blockchains such as Bitcoin’s should face full banking-style regulation. 

David Murray, vice president for product development and services at Financial Integrity Network, referred to miners as “virtual asset transaction validators.”

“At minimum, virtual asset transaction validators should be required to govern participation in their validation systems, with well-designed programs for vetting the issuers, exchangers, and custodians that they serve,” he testified.

Murray was speaking within the context of a debate which aimed to address international human trafficking. 

He singled out Bitcoin in particular as part of a financial phenomena group which allegedly exacerbate the problem. These, he said, should fall under the jurisdiction of the Bank Secrecy Act. 

A Bitcoin Ban ‘Couched As Regulating’

The idea of making miners identify network participants is impossible, critics said, as Bitcoin’s blockchain by design makes reliance on a centralized validator redundant.

Peter Van Valkenburgh, Director of Research at Coin Center, argued Murray was simply trying to ban the ‘unbannable.’ 

“It’s couched as regulating but what it would be is an effective ban on American persons or businesses using open blockchain networks because it would require them to use it on a permissioned basis,” he told CoinDesk following Murray’s testimony.

In a report for Coin Center in March, Van Valkenburgh took on the idea of applying the Bank Secrecy Act.

“Regulating cryptocurrency software developers and individual users of that software under the Bank Secrecy Act would be unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment because it would be a warrantless search and seizure of information private to cryptocurrency users,” he summarized.

Echoes of the FATF

As Bitcoinist reported, efforts to force identity requirements on decentralized networks have already met with disbelief this year. In June, intergovernmental body the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommended member states do so for parties involved in cryptocurrency transactions worth over $1000. 

The idea, which over 200 countries should technically implement, sparked an immediate backlash. Authorities, sources said, still could not understand that a cryptocurrency transaction was not like a banking one. 

“The people trying to understand Bitcoin are not consulting with anyone who actually understands it and who can put it into a proper context,” Akin Fernandez, CEO of Bitcoin onboarding service Azteco, stated at the time.

What do you think about David Murray’s testimony? Let us know in the comments below!


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Srp 21

Facebook Faces Fresh EU Scrutiny As WhatsApp Edges Closer To Mobile Payments

The European Union is actively probing Facebook’s Libra digital currency project for competition law violations, mainstream media report.


Facebook’s Libra Has ‘Potential Anti-Competitive Behavior’

According to Bloomberg, which cited official correspondence August 20, the European Commission is quizzing Libra participants via a dedicated questionnaire.

The document originally appeared earlier this month, and forms Libra’s latest scrutiny by international regulators.

The focus of the enquiries is “investigating potential anti-competitive behavior,” Bloomberg quoted officials are stating. In particular, it is Facebook’s spin-off in charge of administering Libra, the Libra Association, which now lies in the spotlight.

According to Bloomberg, the EU is “concerned about how Libra may create ‘possible competition restrictions’ on the information that will be exchanged and the use of consumer data.”

As Bitcoinist reported, Libra became a headache for authorities worldwide almost as soon as its whitepaper went live. With some of the world’s biggest finance names involved, concerns about data privacy and the power to control a user’s economic power continue to surface.

The US held dedicated hearings into Libra and cryptocurrency more generally in July, while China has even prepared its own state-backed digital currency in response. 

The EU probe further involves the wider crypto sphere, the Commission adding it was “monitoring market developments in the area of crypto assets and payment services, including Libra and its development.”

WhatsApp Eyes Indonesia For New Mobile Payments

Facebook has promised to contend with the worries of regulators regarding Libra, while sources have acknowledged it may never launch at all.

Given the company’s user data handling record, one Bloomberg correspondent said commenting the EU move, it could be next to impossible for it to gain a significant foothold in the payments space. 

That said, Facebook-owned WhatsApp is already preparing to debut payments for users in Indonesia. Reportedly in talks with various digital payments operators, Reuters stated Tuesday, the instant messenger wants to offer its users mobile payments. 

Local regulations mean that WhatsApp will not offer P2P payments itself, the publication added, while a full payment offering for the Indian market also awaits permission to launch.

The plans do not make explicit references to Libra, which Facebook previously said would involve its subsidiaries including WhatsApp and Instagram in future. 

As Bitcoinist reported, for its part, India is currently on course to ban cryptocurrency altogether, unless a token falls within parameters under discussion among authorities. 

What do you think about Facebook and WhatsApp’s plans? Let us know in the comments below!


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Srp 13

Analyst Looks to Blockchain Data to Explain Why Bitcoin is Still ‘Bullish’

Market analyst Jesus Rodriguez believes that investors should consider blockchain datasets when devising their Bitcoin investment plans.


Blockchain data helps with crypto investing

On August 12, Invector Labs chief scientist, Jesus Rodriguez, took to Hackernoon and made his case as to why he believes Bitcoin remains bullish despite correcting from $13,800. At the time of writing, Bitcoin continues to struggle to overcome $12,000 and technical analysis suggest the digital asset could drop to $10,800 – $10,600 over the short-term. 

According to Rodriguez, the majority of speculation surrounding Bitcoin price has been focused on macroeconomic factors such as the US / China trade-war, global monetary easing and central bank policies that are leading to the devaluation of fiat currencies. 

Last week, President Trump introduced additional tariffs on Chinese goods and the Dow Industrial Average reacted by dropping nearly 800 points. At the same time, volatility has increased across major world indices and China placed the cherry on top of this disastrous sundae by devaluing their currency. 

Meanwhile, Gold and Bitcoin increased in value as investors viewed the assets as a store-of-value and hedge against volatility. 

What does blockchain say about the Bitcoin rally?

While these are incredibly relevant factors that are clearly impacting Bitcoin price, Rodriguez suggests that investors take a deeper look beyond the macroeconomic perspective and analyze blockchain data. 

Looking closer at blockchain data could uncover some interesting details and patterns that shed light on the recent Bitcoin rally. 

According to IntoTheBlock’s blockchain-based data sets, nearly 90% of Bitcoin investors are “in the money”. There are also nearly one million addresses with positions acquired near Bitcoin’s current price and Rodriguez argues that these investors will help “influence the trading activity in the next few days.”

IntoTheBlock’s Break-Even analysis primarily focuses on realized gains and the indicator shows that Bitcoin’s next strong support/resistance is near $10,400. Rodriguez also pointed out that as BTC price rose, so did the number of active addresses and this is a sign of growing strength within the Bitcoin network. 

Rodriguez also attempted to poke a hole in the default explanation that China’s yuan devaluation led to Asian investors taking shelter in Bitcoin. 

Macro is micro when it comes to analyzing Bitcoin price action

Even more interesting is the fact that the majority of ‘new’ Bitcoin investors accumulated the digital asset before the current price rally began.

Essentially Rodriguez is saying that the current macroeconomic factors are reflective of long-term, structural challenges that have long existed in various economics and are just now showing themselves. 

This does not mean that macroeconomic challenges are directly responsible for the majority of BTC price action. In fact, macro-economic factors are short-term price indicators for Bitcoin price action and should not be fully relied upon to predict price movement. 

Roderiguez advises that investors also incorporate analysis of blockchain data like on-chain activity, network hash-rate, volume of large institutional and retail transaction, new address origination and the fluctuations in Bitcoin address openings, closing and transfers at various price points. 

By doing this, investors attain a more comprehensive view of the whole market and are likely to make wiser investment decisions. 

Do you think the current Bitcoin rally is primarily driven by macroeconomic factors? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 


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Srp 06

Bitcoin Market Cap Is Actually Over 75%, Says Asset Management Founder

Bitcoin in fact accounts for a much larger proportion of the overall cryptocurrency industry, a former Google and Facebook executive has claimed.


Bitcoin Market Cap Has Long Been over 60%

Presenting new figures on social media August 6, Avichal Garg, who now runs cryptocurrency asset management firm Electric Capital, said standard methods for measuring Bitcoin’s dominance were flawed. 

Resources which compute market cap, specifically CoinMarketCap, draw on thousands of cryptocurrencies, including those with no liquidity at all. This, he argues, makes them irrelevant to calculations and allows them to dilute Bitcoin’s true presence.

“True BTC market share is probably 75%+ and has likely been 60%+ for a long time,” he wrote. 

Coinmarketcap incorrectly calculates dominance using alts that have 0 liquidity. Most (though (definitely) not all!) projects are worth 0, which would put BTC dominance at 75%+

Bitcoin’s market cap currently circles $317 billion after a several-day bull run took the largest cryptocurrency over $12,000 once more. 

Dominance for Bitcoin, according to CoinMarketCap, is 68.5%, the highest the percentage has been since April 2017. 

While altcoins remain factored in, the landscape this year overwhelmingly favors Bitcoin investors, with multiple analysts warning that altcoin markets will no longer challenge Bitcoin in a meaningful way. 

BTC Realized Market Cap Hits New All-Time High

Garg’s calculations surface several weeks after another alternative metric for gauging market cap hit an all-time high of its own. 

As Bitcoinist reported, so-called ‘realized market cap’ reached a record $93 billion last month, and has since continued to fresh highs – currently at $97.8 billion

Realized market cap refers to the price at which a bitcoin last traded, along with how many coins moved in that trade. 

By multiplying those two values it generates a number which more accurately judges Bitcoin’s health, analysis from industry media resource Longhash said. 

Market cap is just one aspect of the Bitcoin network that been consistently breaking records in the 2019 bull market. As Bitcoinist noted, hashrate, difficulty, volume and more are all at highs which were unthinkable at the beginning of the year. 

Even temporary bearish sentiment sparked by US regulatory scrutiny failed to last, with BTC/USD bouncing back by over $2000 in a matter of days since the start of the weekend.

Trade war worries, coupled with wider economic uncertainty, fuelled the action which also resulted in improved performance for safe haven assets such as gold.

What do you think about Bitcoin’s market cap? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock, Longhash

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Čvc 12

Ever Imagined How The Bitcoin Blockchain Looks in 3D?

The Symphony of Blockchains team at IOHK has released an update to the project — Symphony 2.0 which shows a 3D representation of the Bitcoin blockchain.


View the Bitcoin Blockchain in 3D

The team announced the news in a blog post on the Cardano web forum of Monday (July 8, 2019). According to the post, Symphony 2.0 is an attempt to represent the Bitcoin blockchain in a manner that is engaging, stimulating, and entertaining while transforming abstract concepts into tangible sensory information.

For the team, apart from creating a visual spectacle, they felt it necessary to utilize sounds like a signature for transaction blocks. Thus, each block in the network has a unique sound.

Bitcoin 3D

According to the post, the team achieved this unique sound signature through a process called “additive synthesis.” Each transaction has a distinctive sound thus making every block composed of these transactions having its own special “auditory fingerprint.”

Symphony 2.0 feels much like models of the neurons in the brain or indeed the many galaxies in the universe. The design philosophy sees the mempool as a sort of primordial soup visualized in a gravitational swell.

The visual interface also sees validated transactions as concentric rings. Each added transaction causes the rings to extend outward like an expanding model of the physical universe.

Certain aspects of the Bitcoin blockchain visualization incorporate practical elements like trees representing Merkle trees. Zooming into each block sees validated transactions displayed as 3D hexagons.

The followings description from the Symphony 2.0 live environment provide a high-level summary of the project:

Transactions are shown as crystals; height is value, brightness is spent output ratio. Each crystal creates sound based on value, spent outputs, and fee. Sounds are cycled through in the order the transactions were made.

Other Crypto Blockchains in the Works

Symphony 2.0 is available on web browsers for both mobile and laptop devices. For low-end devices, the developers also advise running the visual simulation on medium quality.

The development also plans to create visual blockchain simulations for other networks like Ethereum and Cardano.

Commenting on the importance of the project as a tool for greater blockchain education, Cardano forum user and developer of Symphony 2.0, “IOHK_Kevin” declared:

Describing blockchains and how they work is hard. We’ve already collected feedback from users who say they are using Symphony to teach others about blockchains. They’re now able to describe complex terms that they once could not by using graphs, charts or traditional block explorers.

Bitcoin Genesis Block

There are several real-life examples showing the gaps in knowledge about bitcoin and blockchain as a whole. As previously reported by Bitcoinist, the majority of college students interviewed during a YouTube survey two months ago chose $1 over 1 BTC.

Would you like to see a visual representation of the Bitcoin network? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Cardano Web Forum.

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Čvc 06

New Bitcoin Tax Rules To Boost Crypto Market Growth

According to the Wall Street Journal, The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is expected to update its guidance on Bitcoin tax treatment within weeks. In the meantime, members of the U.S. Congress fear that the U.S. is falling behind other nations in the crypto industry. This fear is prompting them to consider bills to clarify legal issues surrounding cryptocurrencies and thus propel the development of the crypto industry.


Is a Bitcoin Tax Exception Within The Realm of Possibility?

Under pressure from lawmakers, the IRS is expected to update its 2014 guidance on cryptocurrencies within the next few weeks, according to the WSJ.

Presently, the IRS refers to Bitcoin and other crypto assets as “virtual currencies.” And it considers them to be an asset or property.

According to the IRS Notice 2014-21, Bitcoin is a convertible virtual currency. However, contrary to real currencies, virtual currencies have no legal tender status.

This is about to change, depending on how the IRS updates its Bitcoin-related guidance. In a letter addressed to Rep. Tom Emmer (R., Minn.) the IRS indicated that the guidance update, “would address methods for calculating taxes ‘and other’ issues,” the WSJ reports.

Some Lawmakers Are Acting To Level Bitcoin Playing Field

The U.S. is lagging behind in the global crypto industry race, as regulatory burdens and the lack of legal clarity are stifling innovation. As a result, some U.S. lawmakers are getting worried and pushing for legislation that would stimulate the growth of the crypto industry.

These lawmakers are aware that other countries are ahead of the U.S in the industry. For example, Japan and Switzerland already have in place regulatory frameworks to attract new projects and investments. Thus, Facebook preferred to incorporate the Libra group in Switzerland instead of the U.S.

Bitcoin supporters expect that U.S. legislation will avoid classifying cryptocurrencies as securities in order to facilitate the advancement of Bitcoin-friendly rules.

In effect, in April 2019, the 116th Congress (2019-2020) introduced The Token Taxonomy Act of 2019 that would require the SEC to amend the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to exclude crypto assets from the definition of a security. The change of the definition is a prerequisite,

“To adjust taxation of virtual currencies held in individual retirement accounts, to create a tax exemption for exchanges of one virtual currency for another, to create a de minimis exemption from taxation for gains realized from the sale or exchange.”

The IRS defines a de minimis as follows: “In general, a de minimis benefit is one for which, considering its value and the frequency with which it is provided, is so small as to make accounting for it unreasonable or impractical.”

Additionally, Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, and Science, and Transportation introduced the Blockchain Promotion Act of 2019, on February 26, 2019.

One of the purposes of the Blockchain Promotion Act is to exempt nonfinancial businesses using blockchain from being classified as money transmitters.

The Blockchain Promotion Act would also direct the Secretary of Commerce to set up a working group to study blockchain technology and subsequently determine a consensus-based definition of blockchain technology. At the introduction of the Bill, Senator Young said,

“Blockchain has the potential to be a catalyst for sustained economic growth across all industries in America. If America leads in its development, we can ensure that its benefits will be shared far and wide. Blockchain has the potential to not only provide financial and economic benefits at home, but humanitarian and social support in developing countries will benefit from American leadership.”

How do you think the IRS guidance update, the Token Taxonomy Act of 2019, and the Blockchain Promotion Act will impact Bitcoin’s value? Let us know in the comments below!


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