Blockchain Hype Overstates Reality, Says Steve Wozniak

29.06.2018 bitcoinbabeau 0

Blockchain Hype Overstates Reality, Says Steve Wozniak

Technologist and Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak played contrarian at the NEX technology conference in late June, comparing the hype around blockchain to the fervor he witnessed just before the implosion of the dot-com bubble. Still, Wozniak stood by his unflinching loyalty for Bitcoin, even in the midst of the market’s 2018 downturn.

To be sure, Wozniak believes blockchain technology will serve as a cornerstone for business and industry in the future, calling it “decentralized and totally trustworthy.”

Nonetheless, early adopters “can burn themselves out by not being prepared to be stable in the long run,” Wozniak said. Comparing the growth of the blockchain industry to the dot-com mania of yesteryear, he said, “It was a bubble, and I feel that way about blockchain.”

It’s Wozniak’s guess that the same pattern will repeat today. “If you look now you say all that internet stuff happened, we got it, it just took a while,” he told the tech conference audience.

Ultimately, Wozniak forecasts that blockchain technology will disrupt the social media sector. Facebook, which holds somewhat of a social media monopoly, is ripe for competition, and a blockchain-based platform could emerge as a key rival to challenge the status quo.

Wozniak also sees long-term potential in Ethereum and its currency, ether. In particular, Wozniak cited programmers’ ability to build out their own Ethereum-based projects, as well as development efforts from companies like Microsoft Corp. and J.P. Morgan to unearth the DApp platform’s full potential.

While Wozniak is putting blockchain on ice for now, saying it isn’t yet ready to live up to the hype with mainstream adoption, he held his ground on Bitcoin, something he once referred to as “digital gold.” Although the cryptocurrency lost more than half its value so far this year, he still referred to it as “just amazing.”

Wozniak purchased bitcoin at around the $700 mark and sold most of his holdings at the peak near $20,000.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Malta Passes Favorable Cryptocurrency Laws in Next Step as a Blockchain Island

29.06.2018 bitcoinbabeau 0

Malta Passes Favorable Cryptocurrency Laws in Next Step as a Blockchain Island

The Maltese Parliament has voted into law three cryptocurrency and blockchain bills, making Malta one of the most desirable locations for setting up blockchain enterprises.

According to legislative records, the bills, which were introduced to the parliament by Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri, were passed unanimously on Tuesday, June 26, 2018.

The bills-turned-law detail the regulation of ICOs and cryptocurrencies and the process for setting up crypto-based businesses in Malta. The news, which Schembri shared via a tweet, makes Malta the first country to enact such laws.

“Today, Maltese Parliament unanimously approved three bills on DLT/blockchain, a 1st in the World. Honored to have driven these bills,” he said.

The three bills passed into law are “The Virtual Financial Assets Act,” “The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act,” and “The Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act,” respectively.

The Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA)

The VFA will regulate initial coin offerings. The law requires new companies raising capital through ICOs to publish white papers that outline a detailed description for the entire project. Issuers are also expected to make their financial history public.

The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act

This law formalizes regulatory procedures for the cryptocurrency and the blockchain industry. It also establishes the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA), which will serve as the regulatory body for the industry. The functions of the MDIA will be carried out by a Board of Governors, headed by a CEO. Local news outlet the Times of Malta confirmed the appointment of Stephen McCarthy as the first chief executive of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority.

Technology Arrangements and Services Bill

This law details the registration and certification of technology service providers and technology arrangements, and it focuses on the registration of exchanges in Malta. Industry insiders believe this bill was created to make Malta the destination of choice for cryptocurrency exchanges.

Malta, which, even before these laws, was known as a friendly hub for blockchain businesses, has already attracted some crypto heavyweights such as OKEx and Binance.

The new bills are expected to guide the government on how to embrace the technology and achieve its aim of becoming a hotspot for crypto and blockchain businesses.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

U.K. Banks Warned to Be Careful With Cryptocurrencies

29.06.2018 bitcoinbabeau 0

UK banks

The Bank of England has warned U.K. lenders to study cryptocurrencies before doing business in the space. In a letter sent out to the financial institutions in the country yesterday, the Bank of England Deputy Governor Sam Woods warned financial companies to take appropriate steps to protect themselves against “exposure to crypto-assets” which he believes are susceptible to “fraud and manipulation, as well as money-laundering and terrorist financing risks.”

While acknowledging the benefits of the underlying distributed ledger, the deputy governor believes the high price volatility and relative illiquidity of cryptocurrencies are good enough reasons why financial institutions need to be careful when dealing with crypto assets.

The letter went on to explain the steps banks should take to lower any possible risk from trading in crypto assets. He lists hiring a PRA-approved “Senior (Insurance) Management Function (S(I)MF)” auditor to review and sign off on the “risk assessment framework,” conservative incentives that discourage “excessive risk-taking” and aligning the bank’s risk management approach with the uncertainties associated with cryptos.

Woods, who also doubles as the CEO of Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), reminded financial institutions of their fiduciary responsibility under the PRA regulations.

While borrowing a leaf from the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) scathing report on bitcoin, the deputy governor advised the banks not to get ahead of themselves by considering cryptos as a form of money.

“Crypto-assets should not be considered as currency for prudential purposes,” he said.

Classification of cryptocurrencies has been a problem in the U.K., as with most parts of the world. Earlier this year, the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney informed students of the failure of Bitcoin as a form of money as no one “uses it as a medium of exchange.” Carney, who softened his tone some weeks after, advocated for regulating cryptocurrencies not banning “crypto-assets outright.” Authorities should “be careful not to stifle innovations which could in the future improve financial stability,” he said.

Last year, the Bank of England partnered with Ripple to test an interledger system, and it has announced a revamp of its entire settlement system to accommodate distributed ledger technology.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

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