11/04/2018: Biggest Stories in the Cryptosphere

1. 22 Countries On Track For European Blockchain Partnership

Yesterday, April 10th, the EU Commission hosted Digital Day 2018. Representatives of EU countries and industry experts all met for one day to discuss joint efforts in terms of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, eHealth and innovation. We previously reported on the EU Commission’s Digital Single Market project. It is now going forward with its plan to make the EU a ‘Global FinTech Hub’. The event organised last year in Rome was a success, with an increase in investments and collaboration; this prompted the organisation to repeat it this year. During the meeting, 22 countries signed a European Blockchain Partnership Declaration. The aim of the partnership is for the countries involved to share insights and experience.

2. Bank Of England Discusses Proof of Concept Conducted With Blockchain Startup Chain

The Bank of England has released a document covering the Proof of Concept (PoC) it has carried out through a partnership with blockchain startup Chain. It was aimed at assessing the possibility of sharing data on the distributed-ledger network, while safeguarding users’ privacy. The bank has carried out an abstract analysis, rather than a practical investigation. The aim was to gain an academic understanding of the system, not to create a tangible technology to then test. The hypothetical scenario depicted an asset transaction, where an authority and a regulator were also involved. The idea behind the project was to ensure the confidentiality of the data involved in the transaction, through the use of cryptographic techniques, as well as to assess the benefits and disadvantages of such a system. It was established that it is theoretically possible to set up a successful distributed-ledger system.

3. Taiwan’s Government Drafts Regulations Based On Anti-Money Laundering Rules

We previously discussed Taiwan’s Vice Premier Shih Jun-ji calling for the government not to underestimate the financial impact cryptocurrencies could have on the country. It has now been reported that the government might soon start applying anti-money laundering (AML) rules to cryptocurrencies. It was announced by the Ministry of Finance, following the suggestion of the Financial Action Task Force. The central bank, the Financial Supervisory Commission, financial regulators, and law enforcement agencies were all involved in the decision process. Furthermore, in order to better understand the self-regulatory system currently in place, the ministry met with crypto exchanges located in the country. A regulatory framework will now be drafted based on the knowledge acquired.

4. New Regulations For Crypto Exchanges Will Benefit The Whole Industry, Say AUSTRAC

We previously reported on the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC)’s crypto exchange regulations coming into effect on April 3rd. Since then, three crypto exchanges have been licensed. The organisation has now published a press release discussing the initiative on its website. Nicole Rose PSM, AUSTRAC CEO, has stated that the new set of regulations will allow the agency to better enforce compliance and intelligence directives on digital currency exchanges (DCEs), which would then result in a decrease in illicit activities. Rose went on to say that it will be easier for DCEs to share insights on cryptocurrencies and financial intelligence with each other as well as with AUSTRAC. The data gathered will then benefit the whole industry.

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