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17/01/2018: Biggest Stories in the Cryptosphere

1. IBM Partners with Maersk to Launch Blockchain-based Company

On January 16, IBM and Maersk announced they are partnering to launch a Blockchain-based shipping and supply chain company. The aim of this collaboration is to facilitate the global supply chain system through the use of Blockchain technology. The move would cut the paperwork and increase the level of security. Vincent Clerc, the current Chief Commercial Officer of Maersk, will be the board chairman. Following the announcement, IBM’s shares increased by 1%, while Danish company Maersk’s by 0.54% (on the Copenhagen stock exchange). The goal is to be in business by Q3 2018.

2. Dallas Mavericks’ Tickets To Be Added To The List of Items You Can Buy With Bitcoin

On January 16, Mark Cuban announced on Twitter fans would be able to purchase tickets for his team’s games using Bitcoin. Cuban is the owner of the NBA team The Dallas Mavericks, and a billionaire tech investor. But this is not the first basketball team to do this, as The Sacramento Kings started accepting Bitcoin for merchandise and tickets in 2014. Cuban has often shown interest in cryptocurrencies. He previously invested in an ICO and a cryptocurrency hedge fund, as well as launching the Mercury Protocol, an Ethereum-based cryptocurrency. The currencies accepted for now are Bitcoin, Ethereum, and tokens from companies he usually does business with.

3. Possibility of US Task Force to Deal With Crypto Funding for Terror

The use of cryptocurrency to finance criminal activities is one of the most discussed topics in the cryptosphere. US authorities are now considering the possibility of forming a task force aimed at dealing with crypto terrorism funding. The bill was proposed by North Carolina native Ted Budd, a Republican House Representative, on January 10. The new Independent Financial Technology Task Force would investigate the methods adopted to fund terrorism through cryptocurrency and then recommend regulations based on the findings. Finally, grants would also be allocated for the creation of technology able to help fighting the trend.

4. BitConnect Closes Down its Cryptocurrency Exchange

BitConnect announced on Tuesday that it would shut down its cryptocurrency exchange along with a separate lending platform. The latter would be the first one to be closed down, while the former would stay open for a further five days. However, operations such as news and wallet services will still be live on their website. We previously reported that the Texas securities commissioner issued a Cease and Desist Order against the company. A second Cease and Desist Order was issued by the state of North Carolina. This, along with various DDoS attacks and bad press, led to the decision. Even the digital currency community was wary of BitConnect. Many, such as the Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, branded the firm a Ponzi scheme.

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