Token Taxonomy Act USA, Tackling AI And Top Ten 2018 Fintech Stories

Off the Blocks, Vol 47

This newsletter is our weekly roundup of some of the significant blockchain news this week. Join thousands of subscribers to get your weekly news to map your blockchain strategies, be aware of regulatory announcements and get an overview of the rapidly changing blockchain landscape. 
 

Number of the Week

33x
growth in the number of "Blockchain Developers" job postings, a top emerging category for 2019

The Main Story | US Lawmakers File Bill to Exempt Cryptocurrencies from Securities Laws

Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives are seeking to exempt cryptocurrencies and certain other digital assets from federal securities laws. The legal definition might seem like an insignificant change, but it has become a heated issue for those in the industry who say the law is outdated for a digital asset class.

The “Token Taxonomy Act” was introduced Thursday by Reps. Warren Davidson and Darren Soto, a move that comes months after a roundtable in Washington, D.C. that sought input about regulatory measures for the industry. According to the text, the bill – among other items – seeks to exclude “digital tokens” from being defined as securities, amending both the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The definition of digital assets has several components, all of which center around a degree of decentralization in which no one person or entity has control over an asset’s development or operation. “This bill provides the certainty American markets need to compete with Singapore, Switzerland, and others who are aggressively growing their blockchain economies,” Davidson said in a statement. “To be certain, there will be other regulatory initiatives at some point, but this legislation is an essential first step to keeping this market alive in the United States.”  Similarly, the bill seeks to make exchanges of one cryptocurrency for another tax-exempt and to create an additional exemption for individual retirement accounts (IRAs) alongside those that exist for gold bullion and other precious metal coins. 

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Malta | Creating an Exclusive Blockchain Bank

OK Group’s investment arm, OK Blockchain Capital Limited, announced that it is the anchor investor in RnF Finance Limited, a Maltese based company applying with the Malta Financial Services Authority for authorization to act as a credit institution. The Bank shall engage into four main business streams: Offer banking services to corporates; Lending; Private Banking and Wealth Management. 

This mantra should provide crypto exchanges and companies issuing security tokens an opportunity to be serviced like other companies, assuming that their due diligence procedures are sufficient. 

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Security Tokens | Medici Ventures Completes a $3.6M Equity Transfer

While an abundance of hype surrounds the capabilities of blockchain technology, its ability to transfer equity using tokens as digital securities has been demonstrated. Medici Ventures, the leading blockchain accelerator, and subsidiary of Overstock.com, Inc., has successfully conducted a digital securities token transfer representing its equity ownership in Chainstone Labs. While the equity token is not offered to the public, the transaction, which was broadcasted in real-time, shows the simplicity of transferring equity using tokens as digital securities. This is also revolutionary as the Chainstone digital security token is one of the first equity tokens issued using a public blockchain.

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Telecom | Ericsson, Intel, Vodafone Form a Blockchain Industry Group

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) is getting into the blockchain game, having just set up a new “industry-specific group” aimed at exploring the viability and potential of blockchain technologies for various industries. Founding members include Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Telefónica, and Vodafone. These industry players will specifically examine the use ofpermissioned distributed ledgers in business applications. ETSI hopes that the group will be able to develop industry standards for the use of decentralized technology, including interfaces/APIs/protocols and information models.

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Ripple | 2018 Retrospective - A Remarkable Year 

As 2018 draws to a close, many are focusing on the challenges that lie ahead. The digital asset markets are down, and we’ve seen the industry contract as a result. But, the outlook may not be so bleak. This year has brought with it progress on a number of fronts—a convergence of factors—that will set the stage for broad adoption of the technology in 2019. There is now a mainstream acceptance and adoption from Fortune 500 companies and institutional investors alike. Announcements of blockchain-focused initiatives were issued from Blue Chip companies like IBM and Visa, and reports of Goldman Sachs Group, JPMorgan Chase and others exploring or already working on crypto-custody services surfaced.

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DELTA Summit | The CES of Blockchain

For blockchain technology and sweet new startups, Malta, aka “Blockchain Island,” has the DELTA Summit. So in a sense, the DELTA Summit has become the CES of blockchain technology.Earlier this month, Malta held its blockchain conference, DELTA Summit, attracting more than 3,500 industry experts and government officials. The Summit operates as a platform for investors and experts to share their experience and opinions, specifically on the controversially debated issue of regulation, with fellow entrepreneurs and investors of all ages.

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Humans on the Blockchain: Why Crypto Is the Best Defense Against AI Overlords

As governance becomes more and more prevalent in discussions around consensus protocols, it is clear that Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision of “one-CPU-one-vote” shaped the entire crypto industry into thinking governance centered around machines, not people.But if artificial intelligence (AI) is indeed a threat to humanity as Elon Musk and Sam Altman frequently warn, why are we risking giving AI the political power of distributed networks?
In order to establish a frontier between ourselves and internet AI, we need a decentralized protocol for singular human identities.

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TRON | One Million User Addresses in Six Months Since Launch

Blockchain protocol TRON (TRX) has passed one million user accounts, data revealed Dec. 23, as executives continue their criticism of rival Ethereum (ETH). Statistics from the TRON blockchain uploaded to social media by Misha Lederman, co-founder of the cryptocurrency’s spin-off project IAmDecentralized.org, confirmed that the network now features over one million addresses. TRON, which launched itsmainnet earlier this year, seeks to become the go-to ecosystem for developers seeking to create decentralized applications (DApps).

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The Final Word | Top 10 Fintech Blockchain Stories of 2018

1. SoftBank trials blockchain-based mobile payments
Teams with Synchronoss Technologies and TBCASoft.

2. World Bank turns to CBA for world’s first blockchain bond
Part of the World Bank’s goal to end extreme poverty.

3. BBVA delivers first syndicated loan on 
Using Hyperledger and partnered with Red Electrica Corporation.blockchain

4. HSBC and ING in industry-first blockchain trade finance transaction
Jointly done with Reliance Industries and Tricon Energy.

5. Santander sets up digital investment unit for blockchain
The team will ensure that the bank is using the latest tech efficiently.

6. IBM honing blockchain development and skills at Columbia University
Will include an innovation accelerator and look at data transparency.

7. New Spanish consortium Niuron aims to promote blockchain
Formed by eight banks.

8. South African Ethereum test proves efficiency of blockchain-based payments
Project Khokha in action.

9. The name’s bond, MTS placed bonds… on blockchain
Russian telco and digital service provider makes it happen.

10. Poland is world’s first for banking records on blockchain
Billon teams with the Polish Credit Office.

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About Proteum
Proteum is a global blockchain advisory firm that works with public, private and start-up companies to help them transition into the world of blockchains and decentralized applications. We help companies strategically build their capabilities so that they can own and control their future. Let's put blockchains to work for your business.