Bitcoin turns 10
Ten years ago, someone using the name Satoshi Nakamoto sent an academic paper to a cryptography mailing list proposing a form of digital cash called “bitcoin.” The pseudonymous Nakamoto, whose true identity remains unknown, described an idea for “mining” a limited amount of this virtual currency through a peer-to-peer scheme that wouldn’t depend on a bank, government, or any other central authority. Today Bitcoin is a global phenomenon. In the past ten years it has evolved from an anti-establishment hobby among coders to a household name on Wall Street. Bitcoin relies on a ledger called the “blockchain.” Every transaction is cryptographically signed and recorded in the blockchain, which is distributed to every participant in the Bitcoin network, preventing anyone from double-spending their coins. German experts foresee fundamental changes due to the technology, especially in Germany’s financial sector. But since it’s not backed by a single government, no single entity is in charge of overseeing bitcoin. Each country and even different states within those countries have fragmented rules on how they treat the new asset class. Global regulators are still reconciling how to handle “know your customer” and anti-money-laundering requirements. The German newspaper “Handelsblatt” has suggested five approaches: Company bonds and debt securities as virtual stock rights, “right to cancellation” to a reasonable extent, clear rules for token sales, protection of investors in trading on crypto exchanges, and taxation of tokens based on their economic and legal capacity.
cnbc.com, wired.com, handelsblatt.com
German Ministry of Health calls for blockchain ideas competition
In a recent video message, Health Minister Jens Spahn said his ministry wanted to get a sense of possible blockchain applications in the medical sector. In his eyes, the blockchain is one of the “most exciting, auspicious new technologies”. That’s why the Ministry of Health has started an ideas competition to look for blockchain solutions that are applicable to the German health care system. Everything is possible, from the concept to the finished business model, but document management systems such as the electronic health record are explicitly excluded. Possible areas are, for example, an organ and tissue donor registry, consent for research projects or solutions for rights and identity management. Ideas can be submitted using the ministry’s website. Winners can get a total of 30,000 euros in prize money: 15,000 euros for the winner, 10,000 euros for the runner-up, and 5,000 euros for third place.
First Bitcoin ATM in Germany
Until recently, Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) classified bitcoin as a financial instrument, but a subsequent court ruling disclaimed this categorization and decided that the cryptocurrency does not meet this definition under the terms of the German Banking Act. In response to the verdict, the operator of a casino in Munich has now set up the first Bitcoin machine in Germany. The device was manufactured by Vienna’s Orderbob and allows the purchase of Bitcoin using Euros. In contrast to the Bitcoin ATMs in Austria, however, customers in Munich will not be anonymous: A crypto-wallet and registration via an ID card scan are required for an exchange.
JPMorgan to tokenise gold using Blockchain
JPMorgan clients are using the bank’s Ethereum-based blockchain platform “Quorum” to tokenize real-world assets such as gold. The New York-based investment bank will leverage blockchain technology for tokenizing gold bars to allow miners to earn premiums on globally-traded markets. If tests are successful, the bank aims to apply similar concepts to different asset types, in a move that signifies the adoption of blockchain in the future of trading and asset management. JPMorgan’s “Quorum” was developed using Ethereum in 2016. It limits access to transaction data to those that are directly relevant. Umar Farooq, head of blockchain initiatives at the investment bank, explained: “They wrap a gold bar into a tamper-proof case electronically tagged, and they can track the gold bar from the mine to end point – with the use case being, if you know it’s a socially responsible mine, someone will be willing to pay a higher spread on that gold versus if you don’t know where it comes from. Diamonds is another example”.
Securities transaction: Why Deutsche Börse’s blockchain test results aren’t conclusive ledgerinsights.com
Dubai: Smart Dubai and IBM to Offer the First Government-Endorsed Blockchain Platform in the Middle East newsroom.ibm.com
Gartner Hype Cycle: Blockchain is nearing “Valley of Disappointment” btc-echo.de
As part of the special analysis “Blockchain – Reality? Hype? Or both? “Lünendonk and NTT DATA asked over 130 business and IT managers about the status quo of blockchain technology. Nearly half of them, or 48 percent, are convinced that the blockchain offers “enormous opportunities for fundamental changes in their own company”.
“Traceability is the key to further development of our market. It helps to ensure consumer confidence and fill information gaps, enabling people to enjoy the product without any doubts about ethical issues or undisclosed synthetics.”
Alrosa CEO Sergey Ivanov explains why his company, the world’s second largest diamond producer, has now decided to enter the test phase for the blockchain tracker “Tracr”.
Venezuela’s Petro goes on sale
The Venezuelan Petro has officially launched, after being made available for fiat and crypto purchases for the first time this week. According to an announced posted on Twitter by the Venezuelan Economy Department, the Petro can be bought directly from the national treasury, or from one of the six authorised crypto exchanges given permission to sell the token. The Petro has had a choppy ride since it was first announced back in 2017, attracting heavy controversy from within Venezuela, as well as condemnation from the international community. Backed by national oil reserves, the currency is deemed by some in Venezuela to be unconstitutional, as well as being a currency specifically designed for use in evading international sanctions against the country.