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Weekly News (Blockchain, Sberbank, OKCoin, Japan’s Largest Bitcoin Exchange, etc.)

Valentine’s day has come and gone, and with it, another week has past. It was a relatively quiet week, in terms of the amount of news that emerged surrounding Bitcoin and the blockchain itself. Other than one or two major newest items, the rest of this week’s stories are updates on previous stories or just some general info that is almost become expected from week to week. The price of Bitcoin has surpassed the $1,050.00, mark and seems to be on a trend that would see $1k become the floor if things hold the way they have been as of late. A quiet week is not necessarily a bad week. Here is the recap of the weekly Bitcoin news.

3 Ideas MIT Has for The Blockchain

It is no surprise that MIT is working on blockchain innovations. It is not new news, nor is it especially exciting news, but it is MIT and it is news, so it bears a quick mention. The first of the 3 newer projects MIT has undertaken is investigating ways to utilize the blockchain for the total revamping of the internet itself and how we access content. This project is looking into the online publishing aspect of the world wide web and how to broaden the sources of information most internet users see.

The second project involves blockchain privacy. It seems like everyone that is working on blockchain tech has at least one privacy project t revved up at all times. They are trying to create an environment that is kin to Monero, where the information regarding the transaction can still be audited, but the sender and receiver identifying traits would be hidden.

The third project involves research into creating a central-bank backed cryptocurrency. Together with a former Bank of England researcher, MIT hopes to prove the feasibility of Central banks utilizing the blockchain for the currency of the nation. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Sberbank Two Years from Blockchain Operations

The CEO of Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank announced that the Russian Financial giant is a mere two years away from the bank’s utilization of the blockchain at a commercial level. The bank is focusing on distributed ledger. The CEO, Herman Gref, has been an outspoken supporter of blockchain technology and has rallied for the last couple of years to ensure that regulators did not prohibit the tech outright.

OKCoin Liquidation Aggressively Sought by Investor

Roger Ver, an investor of OKCoin is pushing hard in court for the liquidation of Chinese Bitcoin exchange, OK Coin following a 2016 lawsuit Ver filed against the exchange revolving around breach-of-contract related to the bitcoin.com domain name. The lawsuit turned into a circus of legalities amid accusations of fraud and impropriety on the part of Ok Coin.

According to Ver and his attorney, OKCoin never responded the lawsuit, which sought for $750,000 (USD) plus unspecified damages. In the end, the court awarded Ver a total of $570,000 (USD). As was with the lawsuit itself, OKCoin has chosen to ignore the court’s order, as well as other entreaties. This is why the request was made, by Ker to the court, to have the exchange’s Hong Kong entity liquidated.

OKCoin has stated that they filed with the courts, asking that the judgment be set aside, which Ver’s attorney responded to in kind. Included with the response was a settlement offer, which OKCoin did not respond to. The 21-day period for them to respond ended this past week. OKCoin is still insisting that the matter is still pending and open.

Financial Powerhouse Fidelity Seeks Blockchain Voting Patent

The 4th largest mutual fund and financial services group is seeking a patent on technology that could be used to authenticate votes and aid in processing fair elections. On February 16th, the US patent and trademark Office released the application, named “Crypto Voting and Social Aggregating, Fractionally Efficient Transfer Guidance, Conditional Triggered Transaction, Datastructures, Apparatuses, Methods and Systems”

According to the application’s exact wording,

“The SOCOACT system could also be used for voting in places where there may not be well developed voting tabulation systems and where voting tallies are suspect. For example, it can be used to build a voting system in a developing country. By using a blockchain technology, an immutable ledger is created that records the votes of each citizen. The record would allow for unique identification of each voting individual and allow for tabulation of votes.”

Besides voting and election related applications, the application is said to allow for geolocation features that could possibly aid in the location of missing persons, as well as natural resource usage. Pollution tracking and even energy trading.

BTCC is Latest Chinese Exchange to Freeze Withdrawals

It is almost as if this is becoming a daily occurrence. Another Chinese exchange has frozen the withdrawing of Bitcoins due to pressure to conform to the new and very strict regulations being imposed by the Central Bank of China. BTCC originally announced that the upgrade and changes to its terms would only take 72 hours to complete. It has since released the date of March 15th for reopening the withdrawal of funds.

This is in an effort to combat money laundering activities and to bring the exchange into regulation, per the rules laid out by the Central Bank of China two weeks ago.

USDOH Hosting Hackathon to Improve Health Related Applications

The United States Department of Health has announced that it will host a hackathon with the goal of finding better innovations that are related to the healthcare industry.

The hackathon will feature contests, with prizes from $500 Usd to $5,000 USD to the coders who can demonstrate use of distributed ledger applications that benefit the healthcare industry. The Hackathon is joint hosted by the Office of Digital Commerce, as well as The Office of national Coordinator. The event is scheduled to be held from March 14th to the 15th.

North Dakota Legislative Blockchain Research Hits A Wall.

A bill that is being pushed through the State oF North Dakota’s legislature that would see the formation of an official research group whose goal would be to investigate the feasibility of blockchain technology within the state’s government has met opposition.

The main opposing members of the state’s congress are seeking to have some key points laid out in a more precise manner to avoid Bitcoin companies within the state for finding loop holes in the money transmitter sections. Once these possible loopholes were defined, the bill received a unanimous “Do not Pass” recommendation. The bill will undergo some rewriting before being introduced for a revote.

Bitcoin Trial Jury Selection Delayed

A federal trial that is being held, in association with the now defunct Bitcoin exchange, Coin.mx has been delayed. The defendant, Yuri Lebedev, a co-operator of Coin.mx is the only one of 3 defendants remaining to tried. The other two, co-operator Anthony Murgio and Pastor Trevon Gross both accepted plea deals early last month.

The delay is due to the prosecutions announcement of a new witness, who is going to be testifying, which has delayed the selection of the jury by an estimated one day according to the judge.

Japan’s Largest Bitcoin Exchange Gets Boost From Financial giant

Bitflyer, the nation’s largest Bitcoin exchange by volume has announced another round of fundraising with the goal of assisting on private blockchain solutions for Mizuho, Sumitomo Mitsui and Dai-Chi Life Insurance are all named as major contributors and beneficiaries of the research.

The total amount raised was the equivalent of $1.76 million. The main research will be on the utilization of the blockchain in enterprise use cases. The move, expected by many, has opened the door to other financial companies to pursue and begin utilization of the same concepts.


A quiet week, with only a couple major stories is a welcomed week. While nothing extremely wonderful has happened worth mentio0oning, neither has there been any serious disasters or mishaps. Any day without a serious disaster or mishap is a good day indeed.



Gene is an avid Bitcoin enthusiast and computer programmer who is currently studying to be a software engineer. He is 40 years old and lives in Daytona Beach, Florida with his girlfriend and their son.

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