NEWS

German government gathers information about blockchain: While some countries have already introduced new financial market rules for virtual company shares based on blockchain, no regulatory framework has yet been created for the blockchain in Germany. The government plans to change this and wants Germany to become a market leader in the field of blockchain – or at least gather more information. Over the course of the week, a website will gather advice from companies, associations and other institutions and identify possible fields of application. The Finance Ministry has promised to publish a blockchain strategy by this summer, and is working with the Ministry of Economics to clarify whether blockchain technology is compatible with data protection requirements of the European Union.
faz.net

German regulator intervenes to halt cryptocurrency offering: German financial markets regulator Bafin intervened for the first time in the cryptocurrency market by stopping a planned initial coin offering (ICO) late last year. Bafin stopped an ICO worth 120 million euros planned by Munich-based automated algorithmic trading company RISE towards the end of 2018, the source said. The intervention can be seen as a paradigm shift for the regulator, since up until this point the federal institution had not interfered in crypto affairs. Consumer advocates criticized the regulator’s approach. The head of RISE Stefan Tittel said the provisional stop of the ICO was due to the general market situation in the field of cryptocurrencies. The company hasn’t ruled out a renewed ICO.
reuters.com, handelsblatt.com

Spain’s central bank rejects Bitcoin: Spain’s Central Bank, Banco de España, has published a report stating that Bitcoin is inefficient as a payment system. According to the bank, the decentralized nature of Bitcoin and the lack of third-parties to confirm transactions severely limits the cryptocurrency’s ability to facilitate mass value exchange. The report’s author, Carlos Conesa, BDE’s deputy general director of financial innovation and market infrastructures, argued that proper payment systems should facilitate the transfer of funds between two parties in a quick, secure, and cost-effective manner. According to Conesa, the Bitcoin network cannot settle transactions efficiently. He states that Bitcoin’s potential 600,000 daily transactions are insignificant compared to global retail payment systems.
bitcoinist.com, cryptoglobe.com

Craig Wright claims to be Satoshi and criticizes Ethereum: Craig Wright said that Ethereum is a poorly designed copy of Bitcoin that has no working proof of stake model, while again claiming to be Bitcoin’s pseudonymous inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto. In a response to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s request for input on crypto asset mechanics and markets, the Australian entrepreneur briefly set out his case that he was Nakamoto on Friday, saying under that pseudonym he had completed a project that he started in 1997 that was filed with the Australian government in part under an AusIndustry project registered with the Dept. of Innovation as BlackNet. Wright went on to make a strident critique of the technology and governance of blockchain and smart contract platform Ethereum.
coindesk.com, blocktribune.com

Crypto Market Rises By A Cool Ten Billion cryptobriefing.com
Luxembourg Passes Bill to Give Blockchain Securities Legal Status coindesk.com
Blockchain technology to help verify and trace natural diamonds indianexpress.com
Indonesia’s Commodity Futures Regulator Releases Regulation for Crypto Futures Market cointelegraph.com

NUMBER OF THE WEEK

Bitcoin has surpassed $4,000 for the first time in two weeks, continuing to break away from a months-long rout.
cnbc.com

BACKGROUND

Chinese university opens Blockchain Research Center: The Fudan University is one of the most selective schools in all of China. Considering all of the popularity around blockchain technology recently, the university has chosen to collaborate with Zhongan Online Property Insurance Co., Ltd. and Shanghai Zhongren Information Technology Co., Ltd. to establish the Shanghai Blockchain Engineering Technology Research Center. The center will revolve around basic research on blockchain technology while showing the way that it can be used in various applications. By establishing this learning center, local students in the area have the ability to learn about the ways to grow the blockchain industry in Shanghai, while promoting the further development of the technology within the economy.
bitcoinexchangeguide.com

Germans not confident in their government’s digital competence: Most Germans have little faith in the digital competence of the country’s government. This was a finding of the study “The Tech Divide – The Different Perceptions of Digitization in Europe, Asia and the US” by the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communication. Only 37 percent believe that the German government is actually advancing digitalization. Inger Paus, managing director of the institute, commented that the people in Germany are aware of both the opportunities and the challenges of digitalization. There is also very little trust in the government when it comes to data protection. Only 27 percent of the respondents believe that the federal government is able to protect data.
heise.de

QUOTE

“Criminals will still want to use cash because they’ll catch everyone who uses Bitcoin.”
Veteran investor Tim Draper expects that people will have almost no use for cash in just five years.
forbes.com

BLOCKBUG

Switzerland’s online election code leaked: Switzerland made headlines this month for the transparency of its internet voting system when it launched a public penetration test and bug bounty program to test the resiliency of the system to attack. But after source code for the software and technical documentation describing its architecture were leaked online last week, critics are already expressing concern about the system’s design and about the transparency around the public test.
motherboard.vice.com