Blockchain instead of lawyers: Many people in the US already use online services that let them set up legal agreements without needing to pay for a lawyer. Now the two biggest players in the market, “Rocket Lawyer” and “LegalZoom”, are experimenting with blockchain smart contracts. In theory, they could help automate a vital part of the process and make some legal services easier and cheaper to use for everyone. “Rocket Lawyer”’s mission is to use technology to expand access to justice, said CEO Charley Moore. “Rocket Lawyer” isn’t revealing many details yet, but it has launched a private beta phase for a program called Rocket Wallet, which it describes as a platform for legal contract execution and payment on the Ethereum blockchain.
Blockchain isn’t living up to the hype: Major consulting company “McKinsey” has published an article on the current issues faced by blockchain technology as a whole. The firm argues that all through 2017 and 2018 the industry has seen an influx of investments from both venture capital companies and major corporations. However, little progress has been made given the publicity and money poured into it. The bottom line was that despite billions of dollars of investment, and nearly as many headlines, evidence for a practical scalable use for blockchain was on thin ground, “McKinsey” said. The consulting firm holds that as an infant technology, blockchain is still relatively complex, expensive, unstable, and unregulated. It opines that the industry is currently in stage 1 of its development when investment is supposed to bear fruit in the form of a product being brought to market. However, “McKinsey” notes that the industry is failing to emerge past that pioneering stage into further market expansion and adoption.
Berlin is taking it slow: Legislators in the German capital are taking it easy with regard to blockchain and cryptocurrencies. On paper, Germany’s commitment looks commendable. The keyword “blockchain” appears more often in the governing parties’ coalition agreement than even the “Deutsche Bahn”. So far, however, the German government has failed to pass a legislative package regulating the crypto industry. Things are different elsewhere – the EU has already discovered the need to act. Economists are working on the classification of virtual assets, the Blockchain Federal Association in Berlin has formulated prudent regulatory approaches.
Wyoming to legalize Bitcoin as money: Wyoming is introducing a bill that will put cryptocurrency like Bitcoin on the same legal footing as money. The bill will also provide a precise classification of digital assets, especially for custody administration. According to the bill, virtual assets fall under three categories: securities, assets, and currency. The bill sponsors believe that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin fall under the currency category giving them the same legal status as money. With Bitcoin classified as money, BTC transactions can become interest-free according to Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. This classification also extends property rights to cryptocurrency owners removing the need for intermediaries in peer-to-peer transactions.
Agriculture: Blockchain as a solution? f3.de
Podcast: What the crypto winter means for Berlin’s blockchain scene t3n.de
Central banks: State cryptocurrencies? volksblatt.li
Setl: Former Chief of the French Central Bank appointed to the Supervisory Board cointelegraph.com
Blockchain platform from IBM and Maersk: Spanish Port Authority joins cointelegraph.com
ZAHL DER WOCHE
Only 300 out of more than 2,000 cryptocurrencies still exist. Only one-seventh of cryptocurrencies survived the year 2018, according to “Capital” magazine.
Why Bitcoin doesn’t provide anonymity for criminals: Cryptocurrencies are often praised for the anonymity that they offer their users. The majority of Bitcoin users are law-abiding people motivated by privacy concerns or just curiosity. Bitcoin money is very safe from theft, as long as users never reveal their private keys, the long—and ideally, randomly generated—numbers used to generate a digital signature. But as soon as a Bitcoin is spent, the forensic trail begins. Investigators quietly collected every shred of data from online black market “Silk Road” — from the images and text describing drug products to the Bitcoin transactions that appear in the blockchain when the deals close. Ultimately, investigators needed to tie this string of evidence to one crucial, missing piece of data: the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of the computers used by buyers or sellers. The Bitcoin network is designed to blur the correspondence between transactions and IP addresses. However, this anonymity is over the moment coins are exchanged for a traditional currency. Then anyone can see which payments were sent or received.
Senior execs lack understanding of blockchain: According to a survey of investors, at least 63 percent of respondents have said that senior business executives have a bad knowledge and understanding of blockchain technology. In December and January, the market research company “PollRight” interviewed 71 institutional investors, including private equity, hedge funds and pension funds on behalf of GBBC — a trading association for the blockchain ecosystem. 30 percent believe that the knowledge here is only average, while the rest believe these executives have a poor understanding of blockchain. Moreover, 76 percent of respondents claimed they do not feel that senior business executives at large firms are committed to blockchain, but expect global expenditures on blockchain technology to increase by 108 percent in 2019.
“The program’s goal – to provide students with opportunities in blockchain research – closely aligns with that of Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative; we’re thrilled to support THUIFR in this endeavor and look forward to its launch.”
Eric van Miltenburg, Ripple’s SVP of global operations, is excited that Ripple has partnered with a top Chinese university for a blockchain research program.
Cannabis and the blockchain: The cannabis industry is growing, but is still severely limited due to the regulatory restrictions. Ever since Canada legalized cannabis in October 2018, a huge new market has opened up in the country. But this isn’t without problems – some countries now refuse entry to Canadians for alleged Cannabis consumption. Data protection should therefore be a priority. Market analyst Mati Greenspan believes this could boost the local use of privacy-enhancing coins. Blockchain technology could also be used in the supply chain.