Antitrust authorities around the world are targeting blockchain: Falk Schöning of the corporate law firm Hogan Lovells, one of the few antitrust law experts who deal with the subject of blockchain, compares the rise of blockchain with the rise of Google. At that time nobody would have thought that the US company could once be in the focus of antitrust authorities and could become the target of billions of dollars in penalties. “That’s why it’s understandable that the antitrust authorities are targeting the blockchain right from the start,” emphasized Schöning. Antitrust authorities around the world are now beginning to become aware of blockchain as a web-based, anonymous, and decentralized system for transactions. Alongside blockchain’s growing relevance, authorities’ concerns are growing about the possibility of intransparent backroom dealings. Especially the financial sector increasingly uses the decentralized computing power. The blockchain can be used to replace trading platforms between traders. From there it is only a short step to antitrust law concerns, said Schöning.
Crypto wallet for WhatsApp: The crypto wallet for WhatsApp, Wuabit, is ready for launch. The developers define it as a software agent with artificial intelligence that allows users to make transactions simply by typing commands into the popular messaging app. The system works in a very simple way and was developed specifically to be used by novices in the field. In order to use it, it will be necessary to add a new contact to the address book, and use it as a chatbot by ordering it what to do through simple text messages, such as, for example, “Send 0.05 BTC to Vera”. The goal is to make it possible for everyone to make payments in cryptocurrencies with ease, considering that in Western countries the presence of WhatsApp on smartphones is extremely widespread.
Bayer’s agricultural division partners with blockchain startup: The agricultural division of pharmaceutical and life science giant Bayer AG, Bayer CropScience, is collaborating with the startup BlockApps. Germany-based Bayer CropScience has been working on a number of blockchain initiatives with BlockApps since early 2018. The BlockApps platform aims to provide an interoperable platform for programmable business networks. BlockApps is a founding member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), the world’s largest open-source blockchain initiative. By July 2017, the EEA incorporated more than 150 blockchain start-ups, research groups, and Fortune 500 companies, including JPMorgan and Cisco. BlockApps claims to be the first blockchain company that partnered with all major cloud platforms including Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform.
South Africa leads the world in crypto adoption: A Hootsuite study has revealed that South Africa ranks first in the world for the highest percentage of internet users who own cryptocurrencies. According to the report, 10.7 percent of internet users in South Africa own cryptos. This was the highest ratio globally, with Thailand and Indonesia following suit at 9.7 and 9.3 percent respectively. South Africa ranked above some of the renowned crypto powerhouses including Switzerland at 7 percent, South Korea at 6.3 percent, the U.S at 5.3 percent and Japan at 4.3 percent. The survey results may come as a shock to many who thought cryptos were the preserve of more “developed” nations.
Whiskey: Blockchain to check authenticity thedrinksbusiness.com
Hasso Plattner Institute: Online course about the blockchain checkpoint-elearning.de
Axel Springer and Stuttgart Stock Exchange: Shared crypto portal planned meedia.de
Ethereum News: Ethereum price analysis: Is Eth losing steam? coinpedia.org
Lightning Payments: Simplified payments in the browser btc-echo.de
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The US-based company Cisco cites a January report from the IDC, which predicts the market for blockchain spending expanding to $9.7 billion per year by 2021. This is four times what was spent in 2018, which saw $2.1 billion go towards blockchain projects.
European Parliament approves new copyright rules: EU lawmakers have endorsed an overhaul of the bloc’s two-decade old copyright rules, which will force Google and Facebook Inc to pay publishers for use of news snippets and make them filter out protected content. Google’s YouTube, Facebook’s Instagram and other sharing platforms will also have to install filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted materials. It will now be down to EU member states to approve parliament’s decision in the coming weeks. EU Parliament Rapporteur Axel Voss said the legislation was designed to protect people’s livelihoods. But Google said the reforms would lead to legal uncertainty and hurt Europe’s creative and digital economies. The runup to the vote saw much lobbying and protests by both supporters and opponents of the law. Spontaneous protests broke out in Germany after parliament approved the EU copyright reform.
reuters.com, europarl.europa.eu, bbc.com
Digitalization is destroying climate efforts: A study by “The Shift Project” has found that the increasing use of digital services and the production of the necessary equipment are causing increased emissions of greenhouse gases. Added together, digital technology is now responsible for 3.7 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. By the year 2025, this share could rise to eight percent. By comparison, air traffic reached around 2 percent in 2018. The Shift researchers included smartphones and laptops in their calculations, together with the underlying infrastructures, intelligent televisions, networked smart home devices and the networked industrial sector for the total load caused by digital technology.
“We are still observing cryptocurrencies, but we are actively moving forward with the blockchain. Tokens are very useful for mobile payments. For example, we have a token for a credit card. If you deposit a card for mobile payment, do not deposit the card itself, but the token. This allows customers to avoid constantly having to provide all their credit card information.
Pawel Rychlinski, general manager of Germany and division president for Germany and Switzerland at MasterCard, has explained how the company deals with blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
Flight mistakenly lands in Scotland: Passengers on a British Airways flight from London’s City Airport to Dusseldorf in Germany were met with a surprise Monday morning when their plane touched down Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. The travel error happened because of an incorrectly filed flight plan, leading both the pilot and cabin crew to believe the flight was bound for Edinburgh. The captain subsequently apologized to the passengers, telling them the plane would refuel before heading to Germany.