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19/03/2018: Biggest Stories in the Cryptosphere

1. BoE Governor Reassures the G20 Over Crypto Assets, Bitcoin’s Rise Follows

Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, and Financial Stability Board (FSB) Chair, has written a letter to the finance ministers and Central Bank Governors attending the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires. The document, dated March 13th, states that crypto-assets do not represent a risk. It informs readers that the FSB has investigated the phenomenon, and does not deem crypto-assets a risk, despite the volatility. The news could be one of the reasons for Bitcoin’s growth, trading at $8500 at the time of writing. We also previously reported on Carney stating that Bitcoin does not represent a threat to financial stability, and his stance does not seem to have changed. He hinted that his successor, who will replace him next year, will focus on reassessing existing regulations, rather than creating new ones.

2. MasterCard Remains Open to Cryptocurrencies

Financial services giant MasterCard is open to the idea of state-owned cryptocurrencies. When interviewed by the Financial Times, the co-president of the Asia-Pacific branch, Ari Sarker, said that the company would be open to helping simplify the adoption of this type of cryptocurrency. The executive’s words come as many countries have expressed interest in a digital currency issued by their central bank. MasterCard would be favourable to a cryptocurrency backed by regulators, and not issued anonymously. Sarker went on to say that they are currently testing a program in Japan and Singapore which would allow cash withdrawals of Bitcoin using their cards; strict know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering regulations are involved.

3. UK Government To Investigate Possible Risks of Cryptocurrencies

Junior Finance Minister John Glen has stated that the British government will launch a deeper investigation into the risks cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could bring. The decision was spurred by the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies. More positive words were spent on blockchain, which is seen as a technology with great potential. The analysis will be conducted in collaboration with the Bank of England and the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority). However, the desire to build a FinTech Hub reputation for the country means that strict regulations are not expected to be enacted.

4. Northern Trust Boosts Its Blockchain System

Financial institution The Northern Trust Company is collaborating with accounting firm PwC on a tool allowing private equity fund auditors to take advantage of data which is being stored on the institution’s private blockchain. This will help to save a significant amount of time, as clients will not be required to wait for reports anymore. Despite the system being live for some time, the new feature has been introduced recently, with the aim of attracting more clients. Furthermore, the IBM Blockchain Platform is being used for the network upkeep, which is based on the open-source Linux Foundation Hyperledger Fabric. Lastly, cryptography and key management are used for the scalability and security of transactions.

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