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26/03/2018: Biggest Stories in the Cryptosphere

1. France To Attract Crypto Startups Through Friendly Regulations

French news website Numerama has reported that France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire wants to attract crypto startups and turn the country into an ICO hub through the creation of a crypto-friendly set of regulations. Le Maire also gave Jean-Pierre Landau, a former Central Bank Official, the task of drafting a regulatory framework aimed at cryptocurrencies. Landau was also previously chosen as chair of a French cryptocurrency task force. Furthermore, in the future, the country’s market regulator Autorité des Marches Financiers (AMF) could be in charge of allowing companies to launch ICOs in French territory. The move is a result of France’s desire to remain at the forefront of financial innovation.

2. China Filed The Highest Number of Blockchain Patents in 2017

Despite the country’s aggressive stance on cryptocurrencies and ICOs, China was the country which filed the highest number of blockchain patents in 2017. According to data acquired by Thomson Reuters, 406 patents were filed last year, and more than 50% of those were from China. These patent filings increased more than threefold in the past year. The country went from 59 patent applications filed in 2016 to 225 in 2017. It was followed by the US, respectively with 21 and 91, and Australia, which went from 19 to 13. The data came from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). The figures come following news that China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (IT) has prioritised the creation of a blockchain standardisation system for the 2018 Agenda. Furthermore, the government-led China Banknote Blockchain Technology Research Institute has launched a blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform, for identity and supply-chain tracking. The project has been named Blockchain Registry Open Platform (BROP). It will be used to store data as well as track any changes.

3. Deutsche Börse Drafts a Securities Lending Platform

The Germany-based Deutsche Börse Group has announced on its website that it has co-signed a Letter of Intent with HQLAX, aimed at creating a securities lending platform built on the R3 Corda blockchain platform. The solution will simplify the “collateral management of high quality liquid assets”. Bank regulations aimed at liquidity have prompted Deutsche Börse to launch this product, as the securities system is currently fragmented and characterised by high costs. Lastly, the trading layer will be implemented with the company’s own Eurex Repo platform. This is just the latest financial firm looking at blockchain as a way to improve its current business model.

4. Government Agencies Have Received Blockchain Advice From The US Treasury

A post offering advice to government agencies was published by the US Department of the Treasury. It was drafted by the Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS). The post covered what needed to be kept in mind when considering the integration of blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, in the bodies’ systems. Five key notes have been highlighted in the piece. It is firstly important to assess if the agency and the technology itself are well-suited for each other, as well as its risks and advantages. Furthermore, it suggested investigating the ‘map business process’ in order to locate any potential issue in the system, before making any decision. The importance of creating the right team for the task and keeping in mind the agency governance were also discussed, given the type of technology and its novelty.

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