Tensions in the Middle East spur on Bitcoin’s rise: The cryptocurrency has moved sharply higher after Iran retaliated for the US killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Bitcoin’s price, now up 15% so far this year, has added 5% to its value in the last 12-hour trading period. It began a strong upward trend from $8,080 to above $8,400 before topping out at $8,438 in just over 40 minutes. As tensions are escalating, investors have turned to safe haven assets, which now include the world’s largest cryptocurrency. Bitcoin followed traditional safe haven assets gold and the Japanese yen, with Iran’s retaliation raising concerns the Iran conflict could continue to escalate. Gold prices have hit their highest since March 2013.
forbes.com, coindesk.com, bitcoinist.com
China wants to set standards for Bitcoin: China has long avoided Bitcoin, fearing a possible loss of control through the cryptocurrency. Last April, the government even put so-called bitcoin farms on a list of industries that are no longer welcome in China. But the country has begun changing its tune since recognizing that Bitcoin transactions can be tracked. Zhang Feng, chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said in November that he wanted to set up a national committee for blockchain standards. More than 500 blockchain projects have already been registered with cyberspace management. Only those who have a state license can do research. The transparent citizen – that is China’s goal.
Bitkom President: Blockchain is crucial for IoT: Germany wants to become a pioneer in the regulation of blockchain technology. For Achim Berg, the president of the IT association Bitkom, this is essential for safe industry use of networked devices. He is primarily concerned with ensuring digital identities: „Digital identities are the prerequisite for many innovative blockchain applications, especially in connection with Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things. Germany can and should set standards here.“ The German government’s blockchain strategy has been in place since September 2019.
Blockchain startup Finoa receives venture capital funding: The Berlin blockchain startup Finoa has made it its business to keep investors‘ cryptoassets safe. In doing so, it paves the way for more big investors in the market. Many billion dollar investors are currently skeptical of the crypto market, often because they simply don’t know where to put their coins. Finoa offers them a solution for this – and apparently so credibly that the startup has now received several million euros in venture capital funds for further growth.
China: Chinese payment giant Ant Financial to launch enterprise blockchain platform cointelegraph.com
Investment: Bitcoin dominates Frankfurt certificate exchange btc-echo.de
Soccer: Juventus Turin fans choose new goal hymn via blockchain app cointelegraph.com
Austria: Blockchain has made it into the new government program trendingtopics.at
Podcast: Are we soon paying with the digital euro? capital.de
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The Bitcoin miner reward will decrease from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC this May. In 2012 it was still at 50 BTC.
What 2020 will bring for Bitcoin: One of Bitcoin’s biggest shortcomings is its large fluctuations. Experts are hoping for a share price increase this year, since the cryptocurrency is set to undergo a mining reward halving in May 2020. The process is aimed at curbing inflation by reducing the bitcoin reward per block mined on the blockchain by 50 percent every four years. Currently, miners get 12.5 BTC for every block mined. That will drop to 6.25 BTC after the halving, meaning 50 percent fewer bitcoins will be generated every 10 minutes. In the past, the cryptocurrency has picked up a strong bid six months ahead of the reward halving.
Tracing coffee’s origin to the farmer: Geneva-based coffee trading company Sucafina has launched the „Farmer Connect“ platform. The platform is aimed at allowing coffee drinkers to trace their coffee to understand its quality and origin, and even support the farmer who grew the beans, using a new consumer mobile application called „Thank My Farmer“. Developed with companies across the global supply chain, „Farmer Connect“ is a traceability platform powered by IBM Blockchain designed to help increase traceability, efficiency and fairness in the coffee supply chain. The app pulls information directly from the blockchain in a standardized way that can be used across the industry. It connects the user to farmers, traders, roasters and brands.
„Institutional investors had similar problems – only on a different scale.“
Henrik Gebbing, co-founder of blockchain startup Finoa, understands investors who are afraid of losing money. Because he and his partner Christopher May also initially lost money at the cryptocurrency exchanges thanks to hackers.
Telegram gives up on crypto wallet: Telegram will not integrate the cryptocurrency wallet into the messenger application until it receives approval from the US regulatory authorities, the company announced on its website. Telegram had originally planned to launch its TON (Telegram Open Network) platform, on which the „GRAM“ tokens were to be sold, on October 31st 2019. However, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed an injunction accusing the project of selling unregistered securities and requesting an immediate stop. The SEC also requested Telegram banking information to investigate how the project spent $1.7 billion that was raised during the token presale.