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US Congress Divided On Crypto: From ‘Regulation Is A Wet Blanket’ To ‘Crypto Is A Crock’

Washington Committee hearing on crypto reveals discord among Congress’ approach, unity in the crypto community’s need for more clear regulations. The Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment convened Wednesday, March 14, to discuss the future of cryptocurrencies, digital currencies, ICOs, and Blockchain development in the US. Throughout the course of the proceedings, it became clear that the panel of four crypto and Blockchain industry experts was more or less in agreement that further regulatory clarification from the US government is necessary.…
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PayPal’s Peter Thiel: ‘Longing’ Bitcoin Is ‘Hedge Against World Falling Apart’

Peter Thiel has championed Bitcoin’s role in replacing gold, but also suggested its chance of being worthless is up to 80%. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel described Bitcoin as “a hedge against the whole world falling apart” in new bullish comments March 15. Speaking at the Economic Club of New York quoted by CNBC, the Facebook and rumored $20 mln Bitcoin investor said that while he did not foresee Bitcoin fulfilling the role of a currency as yet, its ability to replace gold as a store of value was different. “I'm not talking about a new payments system,” he said “It's like bars of gold in a vault that never move, and it's a sort of hedge of sorts against the whole world going falling apart.” Bitcoin continues to trade around $8000 this week as continued downward pressure from regulators, Google and Mt.…
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South Korean Prosecutors Raided Three Seoul-Based Crypto Exchanges Last Month

Three crypto exchanges have been raided last month, computers and records taken after an investigation showed suspicious transfers of funds. Prosecutors in South Korea carried out a raid of three crypto exchanges in the country last month, confiscating computer hard drives, mobile phones, and financial records after a January investigation showed that some of the customers’ crypto holdings had been moved to the bank accounts belonging to exchange managers, the Wall Street Journal reported today, March 16. The investigation’s head prosecutor Jeong Dae-jeong said that the three-day raid took place in Seoul, South Korea’s capital, but declined to specify the amount of funds transferred or which exchanges were targeted.…
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Fundstrat’s Tom Lee Reports Bitcoin Mining Now Less Profitable Due To Falling BTC Prices

Tom Lee has pointed out in a recent Fundstrat report that BTC miners are just breaking even due to BTC’s relatively low price. A recent report by Fundstrat’s Tom Lee notes that Bitcoin (BTC) mining earnings are currently almost breaking even, as the activity has temporarily become less profitable the midst of the current decline in the markets, CNBC reported yesterday, March 15. Lee notes in the report that the current figure for the cost of mining one bitcoin is $8,038, while BTC is trading at around $8,221 by press time, down a quarter of a percent over a 24 hour period, according to data from CoinMarketCap. The model Fundstrat used for calculating the cost of mining one BTC includes the cost of equipment, overhead such as sustaining cooling apparatuses, and the cost of electricity, assumed to be 6 cents per kilowatt.…
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AirAsia Is Building Own Payment Platform, Looking Into Launching ICO, Says CEO

AirAsia is considering an ICO to “marry” is loyalty scheme and local currency, its CEO has revealed. Southeast Asia’s pioneering low-cost airline AirAsia wants to launch an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) to “take cost out” of its business model, according to a report by TechCrunch on Friday, March 16. Speaking to TechCrunch on the fringes of the Money20/20 Asia conference, which finished March 15, CEO Tony Fernandes confirmed the operator was “building a payment platform” to “marry” its “Big Loyalty” reward scheme with the potential for ICO tokens. “We have two things that are very interesting which will have relevance to ICOs, one is our loyalty card where we have ‘BIG Points,’ and I think those BIG Points can be easily transferred to the blockchain,” he told the publication. “We have a product that can be a currency in Big Loyalty...…

PwC Unveils Blockchain Auditing Service With Crypto Business Already Signed Up

A cryptocurrency wallet provider has already signed up to use PwC’s new Blockchain vetting service it formally announces Friday. Professional services giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has revealed its plans to stay relevant in the Blockchain age by tracking how companies are implementing it. The ‘Big Four’ multinational accounting firm will unveil its latest offering March 16, the Wall Street Journal reports in an interview with a partner in charge of internal technology audit solutions, A.…
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Puerto Rico Creates Blockchain Advisory Council Reportedly To ‘Filter’ Legitimate Projects

The Puerto Rican Department of Economic Development and Commerce is creating a public and private sector based Blockchain advisory council. Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC) will be forming an advisory council to promote Blockchain use for businesses in the country, local news outlet El Nuevo Dîa reported Thursday, March 15. Department secretary Manuel Laboy, announced the creation of the council during the Blockchain Unbound conference that took place in San Juan, Puerto Rico this week from March 14-16. Cointelegraph recently published an Expert Take on Puerto Rico as a “crypto tax paradise” due to the potential to sell crypto holdings without paying any taxes. The Blockchain advisory council will be made up of members of both the private and public sector, including Chief Information Officer of the Government of Puerto Rico Luis Arocho, Commissioner of Financial Institutions George Joyner, and Secretary of Treasury Raúl Maldonado for the public sector. The private sector side will include “several investors, entrepreneurs, and Blockchain technology experts who have moved to Puerto Rico in recent months, as well as industry leaders from the United States,” according to the DDEC.   The council will allegedly act “unofficially as a kind of filter” to determine with projects will help solve legitimate needs on the island with Blockchain, as opposed to companies that just mention Blockchain because of the term’s rising popularity, an unnamed source told El Nuevo Día: “[Blockchain] is becoming a ‘catchphrase in the same way that many companies were previously mentioning ‘cloud’ solutions [...]…
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Bitcoin Investors ‘Have No Clue’ Thinks Visa’s Chief Financial Officer

Bitcoin investors “have no clue” and join “every crook and dirty politician” in using it, a top Visa executive says. Visa’s chief financial officer told mainstream media he thinks Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are used by “every crook and dirty politician” March 16. In an interview, Vasant Prabhu directly linked the assets to crime, saying that other people talking about buying and selling Bitcoin “have no clue” and are “a real shock” to him. “With a currency issued by the Federal Reserve, I know who stands behind it,” he said.…
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Money 20/20: Singapore Central Bank Confirms International Blockchain Payment Plans

Singapore will use its ‘Project Ubin’ Blockchain scheme for international payments, its central bank has confirmed. Singapore’s central bank reaffirmed its commitment to using Blockchain for international payments in an official speech March 15. Speaking during the Money20/20 Asia conference which finished on the same date, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Ravi Menon told an audience that the city-state’s Blockchain plans, dubbed ‘Project Ubin,’ will “solve the challenge” of increasing efficiency in the arena. “One of the potentially strongest use cases of crypto tokens is to facilitate cross-border payments in traditional currencies,” he said. “This is the challenge that Singapore’s Project Ubin has set itself to solve: to use blockchain technology to enable entities across jurisdictions to make payments to one another: without intermediaries; with greater speed and efficiency; and at lower risk and cost.” Both Singapore’s government and MAS have long been collaboratively bullish on Blockchain’s potential while creating a similarly enabling environment for cryptocurrency businesses. In February, MAS chief fintech officer told the mainstream press he considered the developmental aspects of Project Ubin - as an example of “fabulous Blockchain technology” - to have two years left before “real impact” can be seen. Menon confirmed in the speech that MAS had partnered with Bank of Canada “to test and develop a cross-border solution using crypto tokens issued by the two central banks.” Remittances using Blockchain are also an area of considerable interest to Singapore’s neighbors. Japan and South Korea have both signalled similar schemes, banks competing with crypto industry projects such as that announced by major South Korean exchange Bithumb and US payment gateway BitPay this week.…
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French Regulatory Agency Blacklists 15 Cryptocurrency And Crypto-Asset Websites

French stock market regulator AMF blacklists 15 cryptocurrency and crypto-asset trading companies for non-compliance with crypto advertising laws. The French stock market regulator, The Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF), announced in a press release that they have added 15 cryptocurrency and crypto-asset investment websites to a blacklist on March 15. According to the press release, the companies listed ran afoul of the “Sapin II Law”, stating that: “The investment proposals highlighting the possibility of financial returns or similar economic effects involve intermediation in miscellaneous assets and are now subject to ex ante control by the AMF.…