China: Chinese mobile payment platforms WeChat Pay and Alipay are scrambling to keep up with regulators after recent announcements regarding ICOs. Both payment giants have said that they will work with the government agencies closely to monitor cryptocurrency transactions. Tencent said that it has come up with three main measures to regulate any “problematic” platforms related to ICOs and cryptocurrencies. And that it will prohibit users from using WeChat payments to make any virtual currency-related transactions. Moreover, it will conduct both real-time monitoring of daily transactions and risk assessment of any suspicious transactions. Meanwhile, Chinese search giant Baidu is reportedly moving to block cryptocurrency-related content on its online forums and is seeking to restrict or outright ban forum topics that discuss crypto-related activities on Baidu Tieba, the firm’s Reddit-like online platform. Currently, the company has toughened its scrutiny over digital currency and will not allow sub-forums under this theme, based on relevant rules and regulations.
India’s central bank has reportedly formed a new unit devoted to researching regulatory frameworks for blockchain, cryptocurrencies and other technologies. According to a Monday report from the Economic Times that cited sources familiar with the matter, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) launched the new unit about a month ago, with the mandate to “research and possibly draft rules” for emerging technologies. “As a regulator, the RBI also has to explore new emerging areas to check what can be adopted and what cannot. … This new unit is on an experimental basis and will evolve as time passes,” one of the sources was quoted as saying.
Russia: S7, one of the largest airline operators in Russia, has tested a blockchain-based application that tracks data and paperwork connected to the process for refueling planes. The airline said in a release on Monday that it trialed the application with its fuel supplier, Gazpromneft-Aero, and Alfa-Bank, Russia’s largest private bank, on a domestic flight based out of the Tolmachevo International Airport. According to S7, the application shares data about fuel demand on a shared ledger, a copy of which is managed by each of the three parties. Further, payments for the fuel can be conducted on the network, with digital invoices created via smart contract during each tranasction.
Red Hat: Cloud computing giant Red Hat may be looking into tapping a blockchain-based system to track software usage. New marketing models for selling software on a cloud platform require new methods of tracking usage, and a blockchain may be able to efficiently store this information, according to a patent application released last Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The filing outlines how a blockchain would track transactions across a given platform, where each transaction represents an instance of a customer using the company’s products.
Samsung SDS, a subsidiary of South Korea’s tech conglomerate, has developed a blockchain-based certification platform for South Korean banks, it announced Monday. Developed in collaboration with the Korea Federation of Banks, a new platform called BankSign is said to make interactions between different banks’ mobile systems seamless. Users can carry out transactions on different apps, but the system will require verification from only one app, using passwords, fingerprints or patterns for authentication.
Singapore: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Singapore Exchange (SGX) are looking to blockchain to create a secure platform for selling tokenized securities. Technology firm Anquan, consulting giant Deloitte and stock exchange operator Nasdaq will work with the MAS and SGX to develop a Delivery versus Payment (DvP) platform for tokenized assets, including tokenized digital currencies and securities assets, according to a press release. The DvP platform will be able to simultaneously transact the securities asset being traded with the funds being used to pay for it. In other words, both parties will simultaneously swap money for assets using a smart contract network, the release explained. This swap will be able to occur across different blockchain platforms. The work will be a part of Singapore’s Project Ubin, the nation’s ongoing blockchain initiative.
TaTaTu: Blockchain-based social entertainment platform TaTaTu will screen the documentary Friedkin Uncut in North America and the U.K. on its platform, the startup announced Monday. TaTaTu co-produced the movie, with CEO and founder Andrea Iervolino acting as a producer for the movie. TaTaTu acquired rights for North America and the U.K. ahead of its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival this week, Variety reported.Notably, the movie has secured funding from Lady Monika Bacardi, from the family which owns Bacardi Limited, BlockTower Capital and potentially Prince Felix of Luxembourg, as previously reported by CoinDesk.
South East Asia: The Philippines, Thailand, and South Korea are moving towards creating the next crypto valley, after recognizing the success of Malta and Zug, Switzerland in creating crypto and blockchain friendly environments.
Brazil: Alessandro Santos, a Brazilian architect, engineer, and self-described bitcoin aficionado, has recently inaugurated a cryptocurrency-themed hostel in Paraty, a city located about 260 kilometers away from São Paulo, Brazil. The hostel, appropriately named Hostel Bitcoin, launched on Aug. 16, and was immediately booked for its inauguration day.
Venezuela: The Banco Central de Venezuela, Venezuela’s central bank, has recently launched an Android app to help the country’s residents convert the country’s old fiat currency, the bolivar, to the new Petro-pegged Bolivar Soberano – the Sovereign Bolivar.
Bahamas: The Commonwealth of the Bahamas became the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean region to implement a blockchain-based nation-wide credentialing system known as Bahamas Blockcerts, according to The Nassau Guardian. Through these nationally-accredited digital certificates, the government of the Caribbean country aims to enhance how national educational qualifications including certificates, academic degrees and diplomas are created, issued, viewed and verified.
North Korea is planning to host its first-ever international conference focusing on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in October. According to Radio Free Asia, the event will be held in the hermit kingdom’s capital of Pyongyang and will stretch for two days beginning Oct. 1. Per various reports, the conference is expected to attract blockchain and cryptocurrency experts from all over the world.
Iran has revealed the details of its national cryptocurrency in response to the United States-led economic sanctions. According to Informatics Services Corporations (ISC), a central bank-affiliated body, Iran’s future cryptocurrency is backed by Rial and is developed on the Linux Foundation-led open-source Hyperledger Fabric technology.
Bank of America VP, Michael Wuehler, whose name is listed on eight of recently filed blockchain patents as an inventor, said they are fundamentally “meaningless” and serve no purpose other than to drum up press coverage and make the 113-year-old bank appear to be an innovator in the fintech space.
Bitcoin Cash $545.19 USD (3.45 percent): GMO Internet, a leading Japanese bitcoin mining firm, has informed investors that it has stopped mining bitcoin cash, documents purportedly distributed by the company show. Those documents, made public by “The Bitcoin Knowledge Podcast” host Trace Mayer, indicate that the Tokyo-based GMO mined 0 BCH in July, down from a high of 287 in February. However, it’s possible GMO will resume mining BCH if its profitability increases in the future. The firm’s bitcoin cash mining operation has been highly-sporadic, and it also mined 0 BCH in April before mining 37 and 62 BCH over the next two months. GMO’s bitcoin mining operation, however, has been characterized by a steady increase in BTC revenue. In July, GMO mined 568 BTC — worth $3.8 million at the present exchange rate — up from 528 the month prior and just 21 in Dec. 2017.
EOS $5.36 USD (3.89 percent): There’s an account on the EOS blockchain with $35 million worth of tokens in it that no one can touch – and its balance is growing constantly. At the end of EOS’ first 12 months as a live blockchain, this account (called eosio.saving) will be worth close to $192 million, assuming the recent EOS market price of $4.79. In theory, that money is being set aside to fund all sorts of initiatives that might be beneficial to the EOS community: building out new tech features, conducting security audits, sponsoring meetups, hiring lawyers and lobbyists. But there’s one problem: there’s currently no system in place to actually allocate the funds.
Ethereum $285.49 USD (2.94 percent) A meeting that brought together a broad representation of ethereum stakeholders to discuss code changes on which decisions need to be made ahead of a software upgrade scheduled for October, failed to produce immediate results Friday. Meanwhile, the World Bank exceeded its bond issuance by $8m to raise $81m on a private Ethereum network. In other news, MetaMask, among other dApp browsers, has committed to cease injecting Web3 into user browsers on Nov. 2, on account of a recently-uncovered privacy issue, meaning it will require a new postMessage API, according to Paul Bouchon, writing in Medium.
IOTA $0.703922 USD (14.78 percent): The IOTA price yesterday jumped 21 percent against the US Dollar owing to a strong push from Japan. Fujitsu, a Tokyo-based multinational IT equipment company, released a paper explaining the use of IOTA-focused blockchain as an immutable data storage medium for their audit trail process. The IT giant expects to integrate IOTA into its manufacturing and supply chain verticals to enable better transparency, data trust, and data security.
Huobi $2.29 USD (3.96 percent): Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi is quietly seeking to become the largest shareholder of a firm that is publicly listed in Hong Kong – a move that, if completed, could open the door for Huobi to go public via a reverse takeover. Meanwhile, Randi Zuckerberg, the elder sister to the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, was unveiled as a member of Huobi Chain Expert Advisory Committee. The serial entrepreneur and author is currently the CEO of Zuckerberg Media, a New York-based content creation firm she founded five years ago.
BAT $0.229809 USD (7.68 percent): Brave Software has announced that its eponymous web browser has been downloaded from the Google Play Store 10 million times, doubling its user base in just four months. This was revealed in a post on its official Twitter handle last Friday. The ad-blocking browser, which rewards readers and content publishers with its Basic Attention Token (BAT) aims to revolutionize the internet’s present content monetization model, which is dependent on advertising revenue, tracking of user behaviour, and sale of user data.
– WN.com, Izaan Khan