Weekly News (Coinbase Hawaii, Bitcoin New High, BlockChain Signatures etc.)
As we come to the end of another week in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency world, as a whole, it is apparent that block chain tech is now the new standard for just about every major world industry and governments alike. The rate at which the tech is taking off is unprecedented. Block chain technologies are beginning to power many applications, while at the same time, allowing researchers to delve into areas previously unexplored. Things will get more efficient, lighter, faster and cheaper; allowing for much more stability on a global scale. Let us look at some of the highlights of Bitcoin and the block chain from the past week’s news stories.
Coinbase Says Aloha to Hawaii (And We Don’t Mean “Hello”)
The Hawaiian State Government passed a bill in late 2016 that would have seen Coinbase having to adhere to new regulations to remain a legally operating entity in the state. The new regulations would have required the exchange to hold cash reserves that were at least equal to the value of all digital currencies held by their customers.
Due to the extreme financial burden this would place on Coinbase, the company announced that it would be forced to stop servicing any and all residents within the state. While the suspension of service is indefinite, Coinbase representatives have said that they may look into coming back once the Hawaiian research projects, approved by the government begin.
Sha1 Algorithm Broken in Deadly Collision. Google & CWI Amsterdam at Fault
Google Inc. and CWI Amsterdam were successful in their attempts to cause a collision of 2 documents that were using the SHA1 Encryption Algorithm. For those reading this that are normal level of intelligence, that means that two different files have hashed to the same value.
While it has always been known that the chances of collisions existed, the actual probability of them happening was so minute that it was not even worth running the tests at all. That all changed when Google and CWI found a way to make the collisions occur with 100,000 times more efficiency and precision.
What does this mean? SHA1 is officially broken. According to Shatterred.io. There has been a 2.5 BTC bounty out for anyone who could accomplish this feat since 2013. The bounty remained unclaimed until earlier this week.
Bitcoin Breaks More All-Time High Records
With an increase in the market ‘pricing’ of Bitcoin, sentiment has been running strong ahead of the SEC’s upcoming announcement on the decision they have made regarding the Winklevoss ETF filing.
If the SEC approves the ETF, it could cause even higher Bitcoin prices, as this would usher in a brand new era of Bitcoin and how it is marketed to the world. However, if the SEC does not approve Winklevoss for the ETF, (Which is the more likely of the two options), then Bitcoin could actually still see a rise in value due to the “Buy the Hype, Sell the news” affect.
Of course, you have to keep the happenings in China in the picture, as that situation has played an immense role in the Price of Bitcoin over the past several weeks.
Finally, the talk of Bitcoin’s ever present and nagging problem with scaling is front and center. With proponents for multiple solutions to the problem engaging in the usual heated arguments about which solution is the best solution, everyone sits in earnest, waiting on pins and needles to see what exactly the SEC and China are going to do.
BlockChain Signatures and Smart Contracts Are Now Enshrined in AZ Law
Arizona legislators have unanimously passed a bill that would provide the legal framework for smart contracts and Blockchain signatures. Following a slew of other states, Arizona is the latest to adopt laws that would allow lawmakers to enact regulations regarding the blockchain technologies.
The bill, now completely through the lower house of the state government, has been passed by two separate committees in the Arizona House of Representatives. The voting was 59-0 in favor of the bill, with one representative not voting. The wording of the bill is specific on its intent. Part of the bill states,
“Smart contracts may exist in commerce. A contract relating to a transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity or enforceability solely because that contract contains a smart contract term.”
Several states have Blockchain legislation in progress at various levels of the approval process for a slew of different applications. Hawaii and North Dakota have both been a bit less successful in the new Blockchain tech laws with Hawaii passing regulation that has forced Coinbase to discontinue service within the state and in North Dakota, the bill is at a dead stand still as law makers scramble to fix potentially damaging wording that would allow for money laundering in some specific situations.
Sprint Wants to Use Blockchain to Bridge the Gap Between Telecomm Carriers
Sprint, the 4th largest telecomm provider in the US (after Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile) announced that they have entered into a contract with a Japanese telecom conglomerate and TBCASoft, Inc. a blockchain start-up out of California to work on applications that would utilize the blockchain and the technology that it is built on as a way to connect the telecomm giants together for a more seamless user experience.
Sprint is by no means a pioneer in its thinking. Already, there are several partnerships just like the one Sprint has entered. Verizon has already begun research, along with AT&T and British Telecommunications PLC. All three have already begun applying for various blockchain tech patents in regards to their applications.
At any given time, there are at least 8-10 large telecommunication companies working on or researching projects and capabilities of the blockchain and the tech.
Scotland’s Edinburgh Is Latest University to Partner for Blockchain Research Hub
Blockchain start-up, IOHK has partnered with Edinburgh University to collaborate on various research projects surrounding blockchain tech. Just announced, the hub will be focusing on computer sciences, specifically software engineering utilizing the blockchain tech.
The project will be headed up by Aggelos Kiayias, a cryptography professor at the University of Edinburgh who joined the ranks of IOHK as the chief scientist last October. This will be the second lab set up by IOHK with the first being in Tokyo in a partnership with the Tokyo Institute of technology earlier this past month.
IOHK has said that they expect to open more of these educational styled and geared blockchain research hubs in the coming months.
Hawaii Launches Blockchain Exploration Bill
Hawaii, which just passed new laws that tightened regulations on Bitcoin exchanges, resulting in Coinbase announcing its intention to pull out of the island State, has just passed another bill that will create a Bitcoin exploration body. While it seems that Hawaii is getting stricter about cryptocurrency, they are also interested in how the tech can benefit the state.
The Bill, which has just passed unanimously through the lower House of Representatives is expected to go to a vote in the state senate as early as next week. The state has outlined various use cases that the group would be tasked with studying. The main items of interest are those that would benefit the healthcare industry within the state, Financial services, tourism and manufacturing.
The specific wording of the bill lays out some of the groundwork for the groups scope;
“The legislature recognizes the vast potential for this technology to drastically change and improve public sector operations and private industry capabilities. The legislature finds that highly innovative technologies such as blockchain require an educated and measured approach so that regulations do not stymie innovation and growth in this State.”
Hawaii is poised to begin the research as early as May 1st if the bill does not hit any opposition along the way.
Canada’s Central Bank Wants to Test More Blockchain Applications
The Canadian Central Bank has stated that it will be leaving the doors open on the possibility of future research projects revolving around blockchain technology. The bank’s Senior Deputy governor, Carolyn Wilkins moderated a panel earlier this week which sought to open discussions about possible future endeavors the bank could undertake.
In a massive joint partnership, the central bank, along with the Bank of Montreal, CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, TD Bank and Blockchain start-up R3 began working on the CAD-Coin project last year. The Bank says that they would like to pursue other opportunities that could benefit both the bank and the nation’s financial sector as a whole.
West Virginia to Make Bitcoin Laundering a Felony
West Virginia is probably most noted for its moonshine when talking about felonies. While the state does have a good chance of being the state with the most illegal liquor convictions, it has a new felony on the block: Bitcoin Laundering. West Virginia’s legislature is acting on a bill that would make it a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
While it does not name Bitcoin a form of money, it does call it a currency, which is the closest it has made it to money status in any governmental body’s minutes as of yet. While there have been an enormous amount of Bitcoin and crypto bills being passed through the state houses and senates in almost all 50 states, West Virginia is the first one that targets laundering of funds explicitly.
Poland Newest Nation to Reign in Wild Bitcoin Exchanges
Poland’s Financial Ombudsman is pulling all the stops and laying down the law for Bitcoin exchanges within the nation. While almost appearing to mimic the Chinese bank’s handling of its exchanges, The Polish Financial leaders did not actually make it to any sit-down meetings with the owners of any Polish based exchanges. Instead they have opened up the talks that will eventually lead to bills being drafted and then sent through the arduous approval or denial process.
Along with a slew of ideas and proposals, the conference also coincided with the launch of a working paper, called for the Ministry of Finance to release tax interpretations that covered cryptocurrency and to also work on regulations for Bitcoin or blockchain start-ups.
While there were many stories that probably could have been added to this summary, the most impactful in terms of how the blockchain and bitcoin, along with the technology they are built on is emerging as never before considered or seen speeds. The rate at which new tech is coming out is happening at a rate so fats, it has to be measured in hours in some cases and only in days in most of the rest.
It seems like it was only a few months ago that we were able to hear about a government or US state that was proposing or voting on come kind of Blockchain or Bitcoin related law or for the creation of an exploratory group. Well, it seems that way because it WAS that way. From a story once and maybe twice a week to several stories per day in the last few months can be attributed to not only the technology itself, but also to the hard working men and women who are working to pioneer the technology of the future.
Another week is done, another dollar has been made by many, lost by a few and missed by the rest. What will the next week bring in the world of the Blockchain and Bitcoin? Stay tuned and find out.
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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